On the subject of the traps, how much do you guys participate in the brainstorming of them?
Koules: 100%. There's only two constants from the first movie to today and it's us.
Burg: And the executives at Lionsgate. We all do it together. We'll go into a restaurant, sit down, and talk about it like, "Well, have we ever killed anybody this way? What about that way? What about water? Fire? Smoke? Hey, let's put somebody's hand in a garbage disposal and make them go get a key and see what their hand looks like when it comes out!"
So it's that casual? Just brainstorming traps at lunch?
Koules: We talk about them all the time.
Burg: People at the tables around us will be like, "Wait, what are they…"
Koules: We've also kept ideas. I think it was on V or VI we had a trap that we literally tried to put in for three movies but it couldn't fit. But we finally found a place for it. We have ideas and different things that won't fit for this movie that might fit in another movie.
Is there a master-list of unused traps?
Koules: Unfortunately, it's in our twisted heads.
Have there been traps that were too complicated or just too bizarre to pull off?
Burg: When we get an idea and everyone agrees on it, it's like "Let's go." We figure out how to manufacture it.
Koules: I think production-wise, there's been some -- in this movie especially -- there have been ones that are a lot more complex to produce. But we've never bailed on one once we start it.
Burg: Our only rule is that it needs to be something Tobin would be able to engineer and build. We often say, "If he can buy everything at Home Depot for the trap, then we're good."
Do you think of this movie as the start to a second franchise?
Burg: In our minds, we have ideas. When we make a movie, we put a bunch of things in it and there are a lot of questions in this movie. If this movie is a success, we'll answer them in the next movie. In our mind it was 8, 9, and 10. We want to do three more. This is the first of another three.
Koules: This grouping of actors would be a cool 8, 9, and 10. A cool trifecta. That's how we built it. The movie stands on its own but there are 10 or 15 nuggets in there that if we do a next one, they're already laid out there.
When the first Saw movie came out, there wasn't the same emphasis on building things like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, Star Wars movies come out once every year on Christmas, almost like Saw movies used to come out near Halloween.
Koules: Except they fire their directors.
Burg: Everything is changing. You ever binge-watch TV? You didn't do that ten years ago. You see a show you like now and you want to watch them all.
Is there a drawback to being known as the producers of the Saw movies? Do people ever try to pitch you weird traps when you're like trying to buy a coffee?
Burg: No, not really. It takes a really special horror movie for people to say, "Great, let's go do another horror movie." We've got Saw. We're good.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.