||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2012)|
Whannell at the Saw 3D premiere (28 October 2010)
17 January 1977 |
|Occupation||Actor, screenwriter, producer, director|
|Spouse(s)||Corbett Tuck (m. 2009)|
|The Word in the Stone: The Official Blog of Leigh Whannel|
Leigh Whannell (born 17 January 1977) is an Australian screenwriter, producer, director and actor. He is best known for writing movies directed by his friend James Wan, including Saw (2004), Dead Silence (2007), Death Sentence (2007), Insidious (2011) and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013).
Whannell and Wan are the creators of the Saw franchise. Whannel wrote the first installment, co-wrote the second and third installments, was producer or executive producer for all the films, and appeared as the "Adam Stanheight" character in four of the installments.[self-published source?] He also acted as the writer of the Saw video game (2009), and co-wrote the 2014 film Cooties.
Whannell was born in Melbourne, Australia, and believes that he inherited his love of storytelling from his mother and his fondness of filmmaking from his father, who was a cameraman in the television industry.
A writer since childhood, Whannell worked as a reporter and film critic for several Australian television shows, including ABC's Recovery, a Saturday morning youth-oriented program that was hosted by Dylan Lewis.[self-published source?] Whannell has described the show in a 2011 blog post:
The result was that instead of following the usual MTV ideal of what teenagers want in a TV show—“Hey kids, coming up next we’ve got some seriously WICKED windsurfing moves!!”—Recovery managed to tap into the so-called “alternative” movement that was in full swing at the time by giving teenagers what they actually want: genuine, unpolished anarchy.
Whannell had originally auditioned for the host role, but was later employed as a reporter; Whannell's first interview was with Jackie Chan and he has stated that "Recovery is the best job I've ever had ..."[this quote needs a citation]
While in film school, Whannell met Wan, who would eventually go on to direct the horror film Saw (co-written by Wan and Whannell) in 2004. After making a short film to showcase the intensity of the script, the feature film was made and became a low-budget sleeper hit in late 2004. Whannell played Adam Stanheight in the film, one of the main characters. The popularity of Saw led to a sequel, Saw II, which was directed and co-written by Darren Lynn Bousman, and on which Whannell co-wrote and revised Bousman's original script, titled The Desperate. Whannell also served as an executive producer.
Around the same time, Whannell returned to collaborate with Wan and they wrote a film called Dead Silence, which Wan directed. It was slated for a 2006 release, but small problems with the title pushed the release date back to March 2007, when it was released as Dead Silence. In 2006, the duo composed the story for Saw III; Whannell wrote the screenplay for the third time. It was again directed by Bousman and was released on 27 October 2006. Whannell has a featured cameo, reprising his role as Adam. Saw III grossed $33,610,391 on its opening weekend, making around $129,927,001 worldwide (after 38 days in cinemas) and is currently the most successful Saw film to date.
Whannell's writing partner, Wan, was chosen to direct the film Death Sentence, the first feature film with their participation that they did not write themselves. Whannell has a small role as Spink in Death Sentence.
In 2008, Whannell took off his "writing hat" to perform alongside Nathan Phillips in Dying Breed, a low-budget Australian horror film about a team of zoologists exploring the Tasmanian wilderness to locate a creature thought extinct, the thylacine, aka Tasmanian tiger. Instead, they wander into the domain of cannibals who retain their ancestor Alexander Pearce's taste for human flesh, and become prey.
Before and during the production of Saw, Whannell sought medical treatment. "I was going through a bit of a tough time healthwise and suffering anxiety," says Whannell. "The anxiety manifested itself in physical ways. I was suffering headaches everyday for nearly a year. It was serious stuff and really started affecting my life." Spending time in a hospital inspired him to endow the lead antagonist of the Saw series, Jigsaw/John Kramer, with cancer. "It was weird to be 25 and sitting in a neurological ward and I'm surrounded by people who actually had brain tumors. It was very scary and it was my first proper look at mortality. I really wanted to get my health back and it really hammered home how important good health is. If you've got that, you've got everything."
In relation to the Saw franchise, Whannell stated, also in 2011:
It's hard to day definitively, because we don't own the copyright for it. The producers could make 10 more if they wanted to. But, if we're to take them at face value, they told us that they were definitely done with it. They're pretty exhausted. They've been making one a year every year for the past seven years, so I think they need some time off.
Media reports were published in mid-2013 in regard to Cooties, a film project that Whannell is an executive producer, actor and screenwriter for. The film's plot concerns an extreme virus that infects an isolated elementary school. Numerous Internet sources then confirmed the forthcoming production of Insidious: Chapter 3 in October/November 2013, but the Screen Rant website was the only source to state that Whannell will be responsible for writing the script and will be making directing debut.
In 2014, Whannell expressed possible interest in returning to the Saw franchise; however, in a November 2013 post on his personal blog, Whannell described a new chapter beyond his partnership with Wan, as the director had finally reached his goal of making epic-style blockbuster productions. Whannel explained: "Now, he’s off making the films he’s always wanted to make - the big ones. I have no doubt that his name will be added to that special club of film directors that he’s always admired very soon. I’m so happy for him, like a proud father. And that is why it is the end of an era." Whannell also added that he doesn't rule out collaborating with Wan again, but he felt like he needs to direct a film for the first time.
- Neighbours (1996) (TV series) – Stuart Maughan
- Blue Heelers (1999–2000) (TV series) – Jared Ryan
- Stygian (2000) – Clown/Punk Kid
- Enter the Matrix – Axel (voice)
- The Matrix Reloaded (2003) – Axel
- Razors Eaters (2003) – Nick. D
- The Referees (2003) – Footy Mate
- "Saw" (2003, short) – David
- One Perfect Day (2004) – Chris
- Saw (2004) – Adam Stanheight
- Saw II (2005) – Adam Stanheight
- Saw III (2006) – Adam Stanheight
- Death Sentence (2007) – Spink
- Dying Breed (2008) – Matt
- Doggie Heaven (2008) – Neil Sampson
- The Last Supper (2009) – Philip
- The Pardon (2009) – Clement Moss
- Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010) – Jatt
- Saw 3D (2010) – Adam Stanheight
- Insidious (2011) – Specs
- Crush (2013) - David
- Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) – Specs
- The Assets (2014) – Russian Guard
- Cooties (2014) – Doug
- The Mule (2014) – Gavin
- Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)
- Saw II (2005)
- Saw III (2006)
- Saw IV (2007), Executive Producer
- Saw V (2008), Executive Producer
- Saw VI (2009), Executive Producer
- Saw 3D (2010), Executive Producer
- Cooties (2014), Executive Producer
- The Mule (2014), Executive Producer
- Saw (2004)
- Saw II (2005)
- Saw III (2006)
- Dead Silence (2007)
- Doggie Heaven (2008)
- Saw: The Video Game (2009)
- Insidious (2011)
- Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
- Cooties (2014)
- The Mule (2014)
- Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)
- Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)
- "Leigh Whannell". SuperiorPics.com. SuperiorPics.com. 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- Mickeyjuice (15 November 2006). "Leigh Whannell reviewing 'SpaceBalls' on Recovery (1998)". YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Whannell, Leigh (10 July 2011). "My Years In Recovery: A Sordid Tale Of Celebrity, Anarchy And Graffitied Footwear". The Word in the Stone. Leigh Whannell. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- "Saw III". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
- Dercksen, Daniel (2007). "Facing Up To The Fear". The Writing Studio. Daniel E. Dercksen. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- Barton, Steve (5 February 2010). "Saw Creators Get Insidious with Paranormal Team". Dread Central. Dread Central Media, LLC. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- The Infamous Billy The Kidd (30 March 2011). "The Kidd Goes 2-On-1 With The Creators Of Saw, James Wan & Leigh Whannell, To Discuss Their New Film Insidious". InfamousKidd.com. InfamousKidd.com. WTF Productions. Retrieved 2 October 2012.[dead link]
- Matt Molgaard (15 July 2013). "Leigh Whannell's 'Cooties' Cast Grows with Rainn Wilson and Alison Pill". Best-Horror-Movies.com. Best-Horror-Movies.com. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- H. Shaw-Williams (November 2013). "‘Insidious: Chapter 3′ Scheduled for a Spring 2015 Release". Screen Rant. Screen Rant, LLC. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- Pollard, Andrew (17 October 2014). "Leigh Whannell and James Wan to Return for Another SAW?". Starburst. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Leigh Whannell (8 November 2014). "Goodbye to a friend, and hello to....something.". The Word in the Stone. The Word in the Stone. Retrieved 23 November 2014.