‘Spiral’ Star Chris Rock Says ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ Inspired His ‘Saw’ Sequel

Casting Chris Rock in Spiral: From the Book of Saw surprised a lot of horror fans. This was before Rock appeared on season 4 of Fargo. He had done drama, like New Jack City, but he was mostly known from Saturday Night Live, his stand-up comedy and comedy movies. Rock’s hope was to make Spiral his Beverly Hills Cop.

Chris Rock holds a gun in Spiral
Chris Rock | Brooke Palmer/Lionsgate

Spiral: From the Book of Saw is on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD July 20. Showbiz Cheat Sheet got an early copy to review. In the bonus features, Rock, screenwriters and producers explain how Beverly Hills Cop inspired the latest entry in the Saw franchise. 

‘Beverly Hills Cop’ was taken, but Chris Rock wanted to play a cop

Eddie Murphy is still trying to make Beverly Hills Cop IV. So, Rock thought he needed to find his own cop franchise. Saw movies always have cops investigating the killings. 

Saw inspires the Spiral symbol Chris Rock and Max Minghella investigate
L-R: Max Minghella and Chris Rock | Brooke Palmer/Lionsgate

“I never did a 48 Hours type movie,” Rock said. “I never did a Beverly Hills Cop type movie, I never did Rush Hour, I never did Ride Along, I never did one of those movies. I’m in Lethal Weapon 4 but I haven’t had a gun since.”

‘Beverly Hills Cop’ is precedent for ‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’

Rock also knew that Beverly Hills Cop was originally written for an action star. Casting Eddie Murphy immediately set precedent for comedians playing cops. Screenwriter Peter Goldfinger tells this story.

“He said, ‘I don’t know if you guys know this, but Beverly Hills Cop was originally supposed to be cast as Sylvester Stallone who dropped out three weeks before it started. Eddie Murphy jumped in. It was going to be an action movie but it’s hard to look at that movie and imagine anybody but Eddie Murphy doing it,’” Goldfinger said. “What Chris said was so fascinating to him about that was nothing really changed. It was the same story, it was just Eddie Murphy in it.”

Chris Rock also considered ‘Heat’ and ‘Seven’ with comedians

Rock didn’t just stop at Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hours. He mentioned other movies in his interviews.

“Sometimes I watch a movie and I go okay, would this be different if a funny person had this part?” Rock said. “Watched the movie Heat, love the movie Heat. You know, if it’s Eddie Murphy instead of Al Pacino, it probably still works.”

Producer Oren Koules recalled Rock’s pitch to him.

Spiral: Marisol Nichols and Chris Rock investigate a new case
Marisol Nichols and Chris Rock | Brooke Palmer/Lionsgate

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“He said, ‘Okay, here’s what I want to do. I want to do 48 Hours meets Seven.’” Koules said.

Rock explained a funnier take on Seven. 

Seven’s a great movie,” Rock said. “Now if you take Morgan Freeman out and you put Eddie Murphy in, does that really change the movie? You probably get two or three laughs in there. It’s a different movie, but still Seven.”

Chris Rock wasn’t trying to turn ‘Spiral’ into a comedy 

Rock said he maintained throughout the writing and filming of Spiral that it should not be “a Chris Rock movie.” He was in a Saw movie. 

“My whole thing was just write a cop movie,” Rock said. “When you guys are done, I’ll figure out where to put the spice of comedy. But, I need a cop movie that works without jokes.”

Spiral from the Book of Saw star Chris Rock investigates a crime scene
Chris Rock | Brooke Palmer/Lionsgate

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Rock said he did start imagining himself in previous Saw sequels.

“I’m watching Saw, the second one, with Donnie Wahlberg,” Rock said. “I could be really funny in that part and not change the movie at all, and not fundamentally change the movie but add something in it. Donnie was great in it, but you know what I mean?”