How Old Tobin Bell Was In Every Saw Movie

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How Old Tobin Bell Was In Every Saw Movie

Tobin Bell plays the diabolical genius John Kramer in the Saw film franchise, but his actual age doesn’t actually align with that of his character.

Summary

  • Tobin Bell, known for his role as Jigsaw in the Saw franchise, has become a venerated horror icon in the genre.
  • Bell’s involvement in each Saw movie has varied, but his portrayal of Jigsaw has remained a defining common thread throughout the series.
  • Bell’s age during the filming of each Saw movie ranged from 61 to 80.

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Like Robert Englund, Tony Todd, and Bruce Campbell before him, Tobin Bell has established himself as a venerated horror icon thanks to his role as John Kramer, the mastermind known as Jigsaw, in the Saw franchise. Born on August 7th, 1942, Tobin Bell began his acting career in the 1970s, and for nearly three decades made a living with supporting roles in TV and feature films. His actual breakout didn’t come until 2004’s Saw, although it’s difficult to even consider him the star of that movie given how much his identity was hidden throughout the film.

In the 19 years since he first arose from the dingy bathroom floor at the end of Saw, Bell has become one of the most recognized actors in horror. The Saw franchise has risen through the ranks of the genre and currently stands as the fifth-highest-grossing American film horror series of all time. Although his involvement in each Saw movie has varied throughout the series, Tobin Bell’s Jigsaw has remained the defining common thread between them. Given all the timeline movement and flashbacks ahead of Saw X‘s ending, it’s difficult to keep straight what John Kramer’s age is in each film, however, Bell’s is much easier to pin down.

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Tobin Bell Was 61 Years Old In Saw

Audiences didn’t officially find out John Kramer’s age until it was definitively stated by the individual executing his autopsy at the opening of Saw IV. It’s revealed that at the time of his death, he was 52 years old. Given John’s terminal diagnosis, it seems likely that his death couldn’t have been more than a year after the events of Saw. That puts John Kramer’s age at 51 during the events of Saw–more than a decade younger than Tobin Bell was during filming. His 61st birthday came just a month before principal photography began in September 2003.

Tobin Bell Was 62 Years Old In Saw II

Tobin Bell in Saw II

Tobin Bell stepped into a much more significant role in Saw II, which saw him interacting with Donnie Wahlberg’s Detective Eric Matthews throughout the movie. Tobin Bell actually earned an MTV Movie Awards nomination as “Best Villain” for his work in Saw II. The sequel saw a much quicker turnaround from principal photography to the movie’s release, as filming occurred in May and June 2005 in Toronto for its October 2005 release date. The first seven Saw movies became something of a Halloween tradition, with a new chapter released every October between 2004 and 2010.

Tobin Bell Was 63 Years Old In Saw III

Tobin Bell in Saw III

Saw III is most noteworthy for depicting the death of John Kramer, as he fittingly has his throat slashed with a power saw. On the heels of the successful release of Saw X, the movie’s producers openly admitted that killing John in Saw 3 was a mistake. From that point forward in the movie series, all of John’s appearances are comprised of flashbacks or time jumps, with Tobin Bell maintaining the same approximate appearance despite his advancing age. He was 63 years old when filming took place in May/June 2006, and 64 when the movie was released.

Related: Every Single Saw Movie (In Chronological Order)

Tobin Bell Was 64 Years Old In Saw IV

Tobin Bell in Saw IV

As mentioned, Saw IV opens with the autopsy of John Kramer and reveals that he was 52 during the events of Saw III. Tobin Bell appears as Kramer in flashbacks from that point forward, most notably the flashbacks that accompanied his wife Jill’s recounting of his backstory. This provides a deeper look into how John Kramer evolved into Jigsaw, as it’s revealed that his first victim was the man responsible for his wife’s miscarriage. Similar to its predecessors, Saw IV was filmed across April and May 2007 for its October release. Tobin Bell was 64 years old at the time of principal photography, although he had turned 65 by the time of the film’s release.

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Tobin Bell Was 65 Years Old In Saw V

Tobin Bell in Saw V

While most of Saw V centered around Jigsaw’s apprentice Detective Mark Hoffman, Tobin Bell’s John Kramer continued to appear in flashbacks over the course of the film. By this point Bell’s importance to the movie series was well-established, hence his continued involvement despite his character’s death. Saw V also set a new low point for the franchise from a critical reception standpoint, as it registered the second-lowest Rotten Tomatoes of any movie from the franchise (13%). Tobin Bell was 65 years old for filming and had turned 66 by the time the movie was released.

Tobin Bell Was 66 Years Old In Saw VI

Tobin Bell in Saw VI

Saw IV was received much better than its predecessor by fans and critics alike, and by that point Tobin Bell’s role had become fairly standard. His continued involvement was important in helping tell the ever-expanding backstory, which had grown rather cumbersome and complicated by the sixth installment. Bell returned once again for his annual role at the age of 66, with filming following the same cadence it had in recent movies.

Tobin Bell Was 67 Years Old In Saw 3D

Tobin Bell in Saw 3D

After the box office disappointment of Saw VI, the decision was made to end the convoluted story that had been building in the previous six movies. Saw 3D was marketed as “The Final Chapter”, and what resulted was a disappointing conclusion to the popular franchise; the movie achieved a ghastly 9% Rotten Tomatoes critic score. Given its 3D nature, the movie was filmed much earlier in the year than its predecessors with the highest budget that the series had up to the point. Bell returned once more in a flashback role at the age of 67.

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Tobin Bell Was 74 Years Old in Jigsaw

Tobin Bell in Jigsaw

After a seven-year hiatus from theaters, the Saw franchise returned with Jigsaw, set nearly a decade after the events of the original timeline and John Kramer’s death. Tobin Bell returned to reprise his role as Jigsaw and was heavily featured in the promotion of the movie, indicating just how integral his character had become to the franchise’s success. While he once again appeared in flashbacks, Bell was 74 years old at the time of principal photography, which took place a full year before the film’s release in 2016, making Bell 75 by the time the movie hit the big screen.

Tobin Bell Was 80 Years Old In Saw X

Tobin Bell in Saw X

Tobin Bell was finally afforded the opportunity to truly lead a movie with Saw X, which follows Jigsaw on a very personal journey to Mexico to seek treatment for his cancer and take vengeance on the people who scammed him and others with false promises of a cure. Critics and fans alike are already calling it the best movie in the Saw franchise, and as it is set between the events of Saw and Saw II, both Tobin Bell’s John Kramer and Shawnee Smith’s Amanda Young have full starring roles, as their characters are still alive on the original timeline.

Principal photography took place in late 2022 and early 2023, making Tobin Bell even 80 years old for filming. Interestingly, director Kevin Greutert noted to Entertainment Weekly that his team considered using CGI to de-age both Bell and Smith, given that nearly 20 years had passed between when the events of the film were supposed to have taken place and the present day. However, they ultimately opted to simply show both actors as they currently do so as not to distract the audience. This puts Tobin Bell at age 80 portraying a 51-year-old man in the latest Saw movie, although given how Bell has maintained his appearance it is still very believable.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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