Leigh Whannell - Rotten Tomatoes

Leigh Whannell



Born in 1977 and raised in Melbourne, Aussie screenwriter, producer, and occasional actor Leigh Whannell alternated between work as a reporter and assignments as a TV-based movie critic on his native continent prior to his decision to attend film school in the early 2000s. As a production student, Whannell met aspiring director James Wan; the two forged a tight creative bond and quickly devised the premise for a new slasher franchise, Saw, co-authoring the screenplay of the premier installment.



The by-now infamous story of Saw concerns the plight of two successful men who black out, regain consciousness, and find themselves chained to rusty pipes in a subterranean bathroom. They are then tortured in unspeakable manners by an evasive predator in clown makeup, known alternately as The Jigsaw Killer and simply Jigsaw. To sell this genre effort, Whannell and Wan followed a marketing strategy identical to the one that Joel and Ethan Coen used to sell their debut, Blood Simple, 20 years prior: the budding filmmakers shot a "trailer" that showcased the film's atmosphere of relentless tension and high-wire suspense to secure a production deal. The gamble paid off; Lionsgate green-lit the project and sent it into production between 2003 and 2004.



Meanwhile, Whannell embarked on an acting career; he joined the ensemble cast of 2003's Wachowski Bros. sequel The Matrix Reloaded (as Axel) and assumed the lead role of Adam in Saw.



With Wan in the director's chair and Stacey Testro, Peter Block, and Jason Constantine as executive producers, Saw became a massive runaway hit and -- as predicted -- yielded two successful sequels in 2005 and 2006 that further detail the exploits of Jigsaw. The boys scripted the second and third installments, though Wan declined the offer to direct either. Saw II, which debuted in late 2005, has eight people -- instead of the original two -- locked up by the diabolical Jigsaw in a dungeon and attempting to escape. In Saw III, Jigsaw -- now on his deathbed -- instructs his protégé, Amanda (Shawnee Smith), in the ways of evil, ordering her to kidnap and torture a physician and another victim, Jeff (Angus MacFadyen). Mirroring the innumerable A-budget horror franchises that preceded Saw, the first sequel did astonishing box office but was eviscerated by critics, and Saw III echoed this response on both critical and commercial fronts.



Meanwhile, instead, of directing Saw II or Saw III, Wan and Whannell set to work on a Saw follow-up, 2007's Dead Silence (aka Shhhh...). The suspenser stars Donnie Wahlberg and supermodel Amber Valletta (Hitch), and concerns a recently widowed young man who returns to his hometown to unearth the shadowy details surrounding his beloved's demise. Universal Pictures slated the release for January 2007.

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Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Insidious: Chapter 4
  • Screenwriter
2017
45% Cooties
  • Doug
  • Executive Producer
  • Screenwriter
2015
58% Insidious: Chapter 3
  • Director
  • Specs
  • Screenwriter
2015
86% The Mule
  • Gavin Ellis
  • Screenwriter
  • Executive Producer
2014
44% Raze
  • Elevator Guard
2014
39% Insidious: Chapter 2
  • Screenwriter
  • Specs
2013
No Score Yet Crush
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet The Pardon
  • Clement Moss
2012
66% Insidious
  • Specs
  • Screenwriter
2011
9% Saw 3D
  • Executive Producer
2010
50% Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
  • Jatt
2010
36% Saw VI
  • Executive Producer
2009
50% Dying Breed
  • Matt
2009
12% Saw V
  • Executive Producer
2008
17% Saw IV
  • Executive Producer
2007
20% Death Sentence
  • Spink
2007
21% Dead Silence
  • Screenwriter
2007
28% Saw III
  • Adam
  • Screenwriter
  • Executive Producer
2006
36% Saw II
  • Executive Producer
2005
48% Saw
  • Adam
  • Screenwriter
2004
No Score Yet Saw (short film)
  • Actor
2003
73% The Matrix Reloaded
  • Axel
2003

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet The View
1997
  • Guest

Quotes from Leigh Whannell's Characters