This weekend, Chris Rock will rattle your nerves rather than tickle your funny bone with Spiral: From the Book of Saw, the latest addition to the long-spinning Saw franchise.
Co-starring Max Minghella and Samuel L. Jackson, this horror title comes courtesy of Chris Rock himself, who came up with the idea of doing another Saw movie as a way to venture out as an actor. Clearly, the Fargo actor and SNL veteran is eager to branch away from familiar comedies and explore his developing talents as a dramatic actor. It's too early to know how Spiral fares compared to the previous Saw movies — many of which don't match the original's lightning-in-a-bottle (or darkly lit torture room) success. But it'll be interesting to see how Rock pushes himself moving forward — not only as an actor but as a writer/director, too, particularly following the critical success of Top Five.
Whether it's a supporting turn in David O. Russell's latest production or a high-profile directing gig with Kevin Hart, Chris Rock is expanding his horizons, and that's certainly commendable. Here's what the famous comedian-writer-director has coming up next!
Spiral: From The Book Of Saw - May 14th, 2021 (Completed)
This month, Chris Rock wants to play a game. More specifically, he'll produce and star in Spiral: From the Book of Saw, the ninth movie in the twisted Saw series. Said to be in the vein of David Fincher's Se7en, this intriguing sequel could be a return to form for the horror franchise. It goes back to the character-focused, stakes-driven roots of James Wan's original Sundance hit, opposed to various literal life-or-death mortality tests involving lots of gratuitous gore. Of course, we should expect those things, too. After all, this is a Saw movie. Not everyone will walk away with all of their limbs attached.
Based on his own pitch, Chris Rock plays Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks, a brash detective who takes charge of a grizzly investigation involving a series of vicious murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city's gruesome (and gore-some) past. As Banks goes deeper down the rabbit hole, the sleuth unwittingly finds himself at the dead center of the killer's latest morbid game. Following a string of delays, Spiral will arrive on May 14th.
Canterbury Glass - TBD (Post-Production)
In recent years, Chris Rock has taken clear strides to push himself as an actor. Notably with his recent serious (or, at least, darkly comedic) performances in Fargo Season 4 and Spiral: From the Book of Saw, the famous funnyman clearly wants to try his hand at the dramatic arts. Soon, he'll get another chance to shine (one hopes) with writer-director David O. Russell's newest film, which will reportedly be titled Canterbury Glass.
A period drama centered around an unlikely partnership between a lawyer and a doctor in the 1930s, this buzzy title features an all-star ensemble, including (but not limited to) Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Robert De Niro, Timothy Olyphant, Michael Shannon, Anya Taylor-Joy, Andrea Riseborough, Mike Myers, and Chris Rock. That's one hell of a line-up, but you can typically expect top-tier casts from the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Silver Linings Playbook, Three Kings, and American Hustle. Therefore, we should prematurely ask the question, "Will Canterbury Glass be Chris Rock's time in the Oscar spotlight?" We'll see!
At the very least, it'll be exciting to see where Chris Rock goes with the next phase of his acting career, which is bolder and more challenging than his previous acting work. The comedian has worked with a handful of prominent directors in the past, including Neil LaBute, Sofia Coppola, Julie Delpy, Robert Zemeckis, and Jonathan Lynn, but David O. Russell will be one of the more accoladed directors on his resume. If Canterbury Glass is as successful as early pundits believe it will be, based on the high volume of talent involved, Rock might be getting some more calls from other famous filmmakers. It could also open more doors for Rock as a director, too, which we'll discuss a bit now.
Co-Parenting - TBD (Announced)
Following a seven-year absence, Chris Rock jumped behind the camera once again to write, direct, and star in 2014's Top Five, a semi-autobiographical Hollywood satire that remains his finest work as a filmmaker. (Though, admittedly, his first two films weren't exactly critical darlings.) Following the movie's critical success, the A-list comedian lined up a variety of directorial projects. However, most of them haven't panned out.
Among the more high-profile of these potential directing gigs was Co-Parenting, an original comedy that's based on an idea he conceived with Kevin Hart. The latter would play a stay-at-home father whose wife is a major CEO. When his spouse files for separation, the frazzled father enters an extensive custody battle. The screenplay comes courtesy of black-ish's Yamara Taylor, who co-wrote 2020's 2 Minutes of Fame.
Should this project come together, Chris Rock is expected to stay in the director's chair, which would be the first time he didn't pull double duty on one of his features. But will it happen? It's not looking too likely. The last update was in 2018, which isn't promising.
Recent Chris Rock Projects
This past fall, Chris Rock took a trip to Kansas City, Missouri in Fargo Season 4, the latest installment in FX's acclaimed anthology series. As Loy Cannon, a member of the Cannon crime syndicate, this dramatic role was a major step-up for the comedian. He even hailed it as "the best part I'll ever have" in an EW interview. While Season 4 didn't earn the same overwhelming praise as the previous three seasons, critics championed the TV ensemble, including Rock, for their strong character work in these 11 episodes.
Should we expect more prestigious performances from Chris Rock in the future? Most of his recent projects suggest that the actor wants to move away from broad comedies and venture deeper into dramatic territories, but time will tell us what's coming up next.
Additionally, Chris Rock narrated HBO Max's The Witches. He also debuted Netflix's Chris Rock Total Blackout: The Tamborine Extended Cut, which he directed, in January.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw premieres in theaters on May 14th.
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.