Tobin Bell

Tobin Bell
Tobin Bell
  • Born: August 7, 1942
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Actor

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Tobin Bell is an American actor. He is best known for his portrayal of John Kramer / Jigsaw in the eight films of the Saw franchise. After years of work doing stand-ins and background work on films, he got his first major acting job in Mississippi Burning (1988) and went on to star in made-for-television films and guest star in television shows throughout the 1990s.

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Actors have seven tracks going in their minds: They've got all the research they've done for the part, then they have whatever the director asked them to do, then they've got what the departments like special effects need them to do.
All I can do is do my best work, try to create the best kind of moment to moment reality that I can do. That's what I do. I'm an actor. And all the rest of it is like baseball. You hit the ball. Sometimes it goes in the hole. Sometimes it goes to the player. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
An actor puts himself in the hands of a director. And the director's first responsibility, obviously, is to tell the story, but the smallest thing that's not true reads on the screen. So if a director sees that an actor is not believable, he needs to help him become believable.
Anything that exists on the human palette is, from my point of view, fair game for artists to portray. You don't have to go see it if you don't want to, so don't go.
'Buried Alive' is a little scary, but also a comedy at the same time. Time
Halloween is fun, but it wasn't always my favorite holiday. I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
Horror fans are very passionate people, and they are very much into the 'Saw' thing. So they watch sometimes as carefully as the writers and producers do, in terms of the way the story plays out.
I learned that I could not do enough work; it's always incomplete. When you ask a question, the answer will raise four more questions, and those four will become eight. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I was raised on Westerns. They were part of what going into the movies was. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
If you're an impressionistic painter and you want to paint expressionism, you've got to change. You've got to figure out a way to do it and do it. If you've been playing jazz all your life and you want to start to play rock n' roll, blues, then do it. Life
I'm a character and relationship guy, and even with the 'Saw' films, it's special-effects people's jobs to create these scary things. It's not my job. My job is to bring some sense of humanity to the character, no matter how evil he may be. The script is going to take me there.
I'm always amazed... I took my 11-year-old to an oceanography camp, and these girls came over to me, and my son was like 'Oh here we go, Dad,' because they had been looking. They were like, 'You're the guy, aren't you?' And I said, 'Well, maybe.' They said, 'He is, he's the guy on 'Charmed!' Families, Children & Parenting
I'm an actor. The fact that I'm involved in Jigsaw, I don't approach Jigsaw any differently than I approached The Nordic in 'The Firm' or FBI Agent Stokes in 'Mississippi Burning.' It's the same deal. It's just that the effect is sometimes different. So I say, people ask me, 'How does it feel to be a horror icon?' I'm thrilled. It's great.
I'm very happy to be a part of a very successful piece of art, as the 'Saw' films have been. One gets into this to participate. It's the coming together of a good story. So, that aspect of it has been just splendid. It really has nothing to do with me or my popularity. I'm fascinated. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
In the the late seventies and early eighties, I played background roles in thirty movies... Woody Allen movies, Scorsese films, you name it. Whatever was being shot in New York, I was doing stand-in and background work because I wanted to be close to the camera; I wanted to see what was going on. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
It's a great challenge and a wonderful journey how to figure out how to be an artist and to carve my way.
I've worked with multiple directors throughout the 'Saw' series with a lot of conversations as they bring their particular installment to the screen. If I've been able to do anything throughout the course of these films, it's been to help shape dialogue and to try to make things as delicate and as intelligent as I can.
One never wants to do anything that's going to break that 'sculpture of the character' that's been done so far, or make anything that's been done so far become illogical in any way, so you always want to try to connect when you're doing a series of films that has a continuous character.
One of the first speaking roles I had was in a film called 'Svengali', with Peter O'Toole and Elizabeth Ashley. I was a waiter, and I had about three lines. And I was ready! I had been around people like that, and I knew they were just actors. All the work I had done, it was all there, and I felt like I knew all the mechanics. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
One of the interesting things about 'Saw' is that you don't find out about things in sequential or linear order. One of the things that fans have liked a lot is, we don't forget about details. They come back and reveal themselves as the story evolves.
'Saw' has been a unique experience in that I've had the opportunity to work with some really great artists, and everyone has contributed in so many different ways, in all of the different departments of a film crew. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
'Saw' is a particularly popular film with 14-30 year olds, so I'll be at a playground and meet six or 10 skateboarders who just wanna talk about 'Saw.'
'Saw' is like a big jigsaw puzzle. When you put a jigsaw puzzle together, you put the bottom left corner together first, and then you find yourself working on the upper right corner... That's the way 'Saw' plays out.
'Saw VI' has a really interesting theme about the ripple effect. Everything you do affects the guy next to you, which affects the guy next to him, which affects her over here. And you might think that what you're doing is not that significant, but just the way you respond to other people makes the world the way it is.
There are a lot of considerations that come into play when you craft one of these 'Saw' scripts, and there's only so much you can put into them.
There's the moment in 'Saw' where I get up off of the floor at the end. That was shocking, because no one expects it. I thought they did that really, really well.
Watching a child first learn to crawl on a carpet somehow has more significance to you as you get a little older. Perhaps it is that you have suffered more.
What's interesting is that you can have a set that's very calm, very smooth, very cooperative... and end up with a terrible movie. And you can have a set that's really horrible as far as relationships and volatility, and come up with a great movie. Sometimes that energy gets infused into what ends up on film - it's interesting in that way.
You know, the best-laid plans of mice and men... I like playing bad guys, and I don't have a problem doing that. They're interesting characters, and there's as many different kinds of bad guys as there are good guys - they're rich, they're strong, they're powerful, and so that's fine with me.