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Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington Gets Trapped in ‘Saw 3D’

Brooke Palmer, Lionsgate

The film is being billed as “the final act of a legend.” And no, it’s not a long-lost Tony Curtis movie. It’s ‘Saw 3D,’ the seventh and last film in the ‘Saw’ franchise. And the sinister Jigsaw is going out with bang, not a buzz. In addition to being filmed in 3D, the movie will be the first (and last) of the series to feature a multi-platinum rock star in the jaws of death.

Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington plays a nefarious evildoer in the film, and the singer couldn’t be more pleased. Noisecreep recently talked to Bennington about his love for the ‘Saw’ movies, how being in a Jigsaw trap is like filming a Linkin Park video, bizarre experiences off the set and his aspirations to do more acting in the future.

How did you land a role in ‘Saw 3D’?

It’s a perfect example of the phrase ‘it’s not what you know it’s who you know.’ The producer, Mark Berg, has done all the ‘Saw’ films, and he moved in next door to one of the guys in my band. They happened to get into a friendly neighborly conversation, and ‘Saw V’ had just come out. I’m a huge ‘Saw’ fan. I’ve seen all the films. The first one is one of the most brilliant movies of all time. So every time a new ‘Saw’ comes out, I’m there opening day.

So, that one had just come out and I was super-stoked about it. And my bandmate told him I was a huge fan, and Mark said, “Well, would he be interested in being in one of the films?” I jumped at the opportunity. And when the time came around to do this movie, the timing couldn’t be better.

Who do you play in the film?

I play a character named Evan, who is a skinhead gang member. If you connect the dots you can pretty much figure out there is some sort of moral lesson I need to be taught, and Jigsaw has found it necessary that he be the one to teach me. Unfortunately, I find myself in one of his traps.

Can you describe the trap and do you escape it?

I can neither confirm nor deny what happens to me in the trap … I feel like a politician now. And I have to be kind of evasive. I can’t really describe the trap.

Was it fun to film the scene or was it horrifically uncomfortable?

It was really cool. I’ll tell you what I can. One of the cool things about the trap I’m in is it’s a more complicated type of trap than Jigsaw usually uses. Typically, there’s one person in these sorts of traps. In this one, it’s me and three other members of my gang. It’s pretty extensive and complicated. My makeup alone took seven to eight hours a day to get in and out of. It was cool, and I had a lot of fun. The other characters were really cool and down to earth. And I had no idea that Gabby [West] was the [winner of the VH1 reality show 'Scream Queens']. But it wasn’t really much different than shooting a video. Put me in the most uncomfortable positions for 12 to 15 hours a day and the video’s done. That’s basically the same thing. I almost thought that Joe Hahn was directing the movie.

Were there any complications or parts that had to be shot again and again?

No, it was really more a matter of redoing a lot of shooting for different camera angles. The stuff that was critical, where they had one take to make it work, all that stuff actually came off without a problem. But the most difficult part for most of us was hoping that Gabby didn’t really get crushed by the car. That’s all I can say.

Any surreal moments?

A very, very cool moment for me happened when I came up on the set when they were shooting another scene with some of the characters. And there sits the Jigsaw puppet, and he’s on his tricycle with his glittery shoes and his little suit. And I was like, “That is the coolest f—-ing thing I’ve ever seen.” I almost felt like I didn’t want to disturb Mr. Jigsaw puppet, because we all know how he can be. But it was pretty cool. I got to take a picture with the puppet on the tricycle, which was a real exciting moment for me. But it was still kind of awkward, because I asked if I could take a picture with it like it was real person and I would be inconveniencing the puppet.

Do you have much screen time in the film?

It was a pretty complicated scene. It wasn’t one of these 20-second pieces that comes and goes. There’s about five good minutes in this scene, which is pretty solid. I didn’t really say much more than “f—” and “no” and “ahhhh.” But I squeeze in a few other words …

You were wrapping up the Linkin Park album ‘A Thousand Suns’ around the same time you were shooting for ‘Saw 3D.’ How did you find the time?

I had a window of four days last November that I was free and I could shoot. So we did that for four solid days. I was in makeup for seven hours on average, and we’d be shooting for 10 hours on average.

Were there special challenges to shooting in 3D?

No, they just had the cameras in 3D. When we were watching playback in 3D, there was a moment where my wife actually gagged like she was going to puke. So I figured if that was the reaction I was getting, we must be doing a good job.

Was there some sort of precondition that they had to use a song by your side project Dead by Sunrise in the soundtrack in order for you to be in the film?

[laughs] No, we just cleared that last week. They said, “We would love to put that song in the movie. How do you feel about it?” And I said, “Sure, go ahead. We’re all friends.”

Do you have any other acting roles you’d like to take on. Did you get the acting bug?

You know, I would love to do as much acting as I can. I don’t know if I’m any good at it. I guess this will be the test. But I feel like it’s something I’ve always been passionate about. I was actually very involved in theater before I got bit by the lead singer bug. And that was what I actually thought I was going to be doing professionally. Even with music, I thought theater was going to be something I would get into throughout my life. I love acting. It feels like something I kind of do second nature anyway. I kind of pretend to be a lot of things when I’m up on stage.

What’s the closest being in Linkin Park has come to being casualties of a horror movie?

I was in a plane one time eight years ago that lost all electrical power while we were 35,000 feet in the air. That sucked. And I wouldn’t have been in that plane if I wasn’t in Linkin Park. When the plane literally turned off, everything went quiet, and everyone in the plane took a deep breath and was really calm and eerily silent.

It was silence you could hear. You could just hear everyone going, “I hope this thing turns back on.” And we must have dropped 5,000 feet just coasting, and then you hear the engines come back on and all the lights came on and the captain came on the loudspeaker and said, “We just experienced some electrical failure, but the engines are up and running again, and we’ll be on our way.” And I was like, “OK, I guess we’re gonna live.”

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