Tobin Bell

American actor (born 1942)

Joseph Henry Tobin Jr. (born August 7, 1942), known professionally as Tobin Bell, is an American film and television actor.

Bell in 2007


  • You learn a lot watching that, because so much of what you do in film and television is technical. You could go to acting class until you're blue in the face, but when it really comes down to it, you'd better have that acting training where so much of what you do is actually technical.
  • What's interesting is that you can have a set that's very calm, very smooth, very cooperative...and end up with a terrible movie. And you can have a set that's really horrible as far as relationships and volatility, and come up with a great movie. Sometimes that energy gets infused into what ends up on film -- it's interesting in that way.
  • So much of acting is technical. Actually, I don’t want people to think that acting is technical, that you don’t need to have a rich fountain of emotional life and all those kinds of things, and know how to focus and concentrate and have good imagination and all of the other things that really make up an actor. One of the things they teach you, for example, in acting class is respond to your instinct, to your moment-to-moment instincts. If they just did that, they’d never get the shot, you know? Because you’d be walking all over… You’d be doing it differently every time. And the camera guys and the light guys, they need to know what you’re going to do. That’s what I mean by, if you just followed your instinct, or follow your impulses, which is what they say to you in acting class, you have to do that but you have to do it in a very confined window.
  • I understand that people refer to me as an icon and that sort of thing because there are certain guys who play a certain role. And horror fans are very passionate people. They love their genre. And they love the Saw films. So the fact that I played a central role in those films, that puts you in a position where people... You know, the screen is sixty feet across, and people sometimes forget that you’re an actor and you play... Because you become established as a certain kind of character. But in fact, we continue to try and occupy the skins of different human beings. That’s what you get involved in being an actor for in the first place.
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