U.S. Release Date: 12/7/15
When Kurt Russell agreed to participate in a reading of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, he had no idea that it would be on such a grand scale.
The reading, benefitting Film Independent, a non-profit organisation that supports indie filmmaker, took place last April at the Ace Theatre, a 1600 seat former movie palace in downtown Los Angeles. Russell, who had heard rumours about a “theatre” among his fellow cast members, recalls:
“I said, ‘Wait a minute. What are you talking about?’ And then I found out we were going to be doing this at a theater with sixteen hundred seats for charity. I thought, ‘OK, this is good.’ It was kind of special. There was a lot of energy in the theater. People were excited to hear it.”
Fellow star Walton Goggins says pride was shared among the cast members.
“In that moment, we all looked at each other, and we all felt the same way – whether this gets made or not is irrelevant. We were here for this once in a lifetime experience, and if it were to get made, then that would be the icing on the cake.”
Tarantino had originally planned the reading as a one off event, but its hit reception prompted him to push forward with the movie. He also decided that the film – which commenced production in Telluride, Colorado approximately eight months after the reading – would be shot in Ultra Panavision 70 – a long dormant format – capable of creating a wide aspect ratio of 2.76:1. The format had previously been used on movies such as Mutiny on the Bounty, Battle of The Bulge and Khartoum.
“Capturing this bleak Western landscape, capturing the snow, capturing the beauty of these locations would be perfect for 70mm,” Tarantino says. “I believe that these big formats offer more intimacy. You can be closer to the characters. It could bring you closer and invade the intimacy of the characters in its bigness. I don’t think that it is a format that is only meant for travelogues.”
Tarantino’s second Western opus – coming three years after his Django Unchained – unfolds post American Civil War. John Ruth (Russell), a bounty hunter known as The Hangman, and his fugitive, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) are passengers in a stagecoach hurtling through Wyoming during the dead of winter.
On the road they encounter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a black former union soldier turned bounty hunter and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), who clains to be the new sherrff.
When the journey is severely hampered by a massive blizzard, the group seeks refuge in Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover, where they meet Bob (Demian Bichir), the temporary propietor of Minnie’s, Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern).
“You have eight people that are very different, that are very dangerous in their own way, and to varying degrees hateful. It’s going to be a fun game for audiences to attach to a character,” Jackson says.
Jackson’s Warren is first introduced to audiences as he’s standing over a pile of corpses.
“Major Warren is an ex-cavalryman, an ex-slave. He joined the war to kill. He’s still that guy. He’s smarter than most people think. He’s not a man of few words. He’s a man of many words, but he only uses them when he needs to. He’s pretty quick on the trigger. He’d rather kill you than talk to you.”
On the flip side, Russell’s character keeps his fugitives alive – the reason why Domergue is constantly chained to him.
“When John catches you, he makes sure you go to trial, and you’re tried, convicted, and then you hang,” Russell explains. “He stays and watches to make sure you hang. He’s someone who has become well-known for having a penchant for the law.”
Leigh, for her part, loved being chained to Russell, and jokes about it being a “marriage.”
“It’s the most dysfunctional marriage. It’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ in the Old West.”
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Writer / Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Dana Gourrier and Zoë Bell.
Producers: Richard N. Gladstein, Stacey Sher and Shannon McIntosh.
Executive Producers: Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein and Georgia Kacandes
Associate Producers: Coco Francini and William Paul Clark
Image Info: (L-R) KURT RUSSELL, JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, and BRUCE DERN star in THE HATEFUL EIGHT
Photo: Andrew Cooper, SMPSP / Â© 2015 The Weinstein Company. All Rights Reserved.
Source Info: All information in this article, including quotes, is sourced from The Hateful Eight’s press materials.
© 2015 The Weinstein Company. All Rights Reserved