Pieces of eight

Quentin Tarantino and Tim Roth on westerns, duplicity and The Hateful Eight.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

The Hateful Eight director Quentin Tarantino: "I'll take any Brechtian reference."
The Hateful Eight director Quentin Tarantino: "I'll take any Brechtian reference." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

During and after The Hateful Eight press conference, I brought up Sam Shepard's God Of Hell to Tim Roth and Bertolt Brecht's Pirate Jenny to Quentin Tarantino. Elmore Leonard's Forty Lashes Less One and a Jack White song as Daisy's theme came back in a response. Earlier, Quentin stopped to chat about his costume designer Courtney Hoffman, who was Christoph Waltz's personal costumer in Django Unchained. Yves Montmayeur's Guy Maddin doc, The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Maddin, which won Best Documentary on Cinema in Venice, ended with Lotte Lenya singing Pirate Jenny and the "ship with eight sails" coming for revenge.

Tim Roth on God Of Hell and Oswaldo Mobray in The Hateful Eight: "Wow…. I think just that duplicitous nature of the character."
Tim Roth on God Of Hell and Oswaldo Mobray in The Hateful Eight: "Wow…. I think just that duplicitous nature of the character." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Ennio Morricone composed a majestic score, his first western in 40 years, for The Hateful Eight starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins and Tim Roth.

Eight plus hateful people find shelter from the storm in Minnie's Haberdashery in the Colorado Rockies where they battle demons of the Civil War, a blizzard outside and the devil in their souls. Hammer your doors shut, boys, and keep a lookout for the blood-red jellybean. A letter from Lincoln, a coffee pot and sweet Dave's favourite chair are clues to a bloody, very bloody, American mythical horror mystery.

At the press conference, Tarantino told us why he had to make a second western and his response to my follow-up question revealed that there is likely even more western fare to come.

Quentin Tarantino: In this one [Django Unchained], I kind of learned how to do a western. And I guess, I wasn't done with the genre. I wasn't done with what I felt I had to say. One of the things I had to say in this regards was dealing with race in America which actually a lot of westerns had avoided for such a long time. There was something else about Django, too. You were dealing with such a big subject, as far as slavery in America.

Quentin Tarantino with Michael Madsen and Walter Goggins: "To me, a blizzard is like a monster in a monster movie."
Quentin Tarantino with Michael Madsen and Walter Goggins: "To me, a blizzard is like a monster in a monster movie." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

As fun as Django was, it was this dour story of Damocles hanging over the whole thing that you always had to deal with. And you had to deal with in a responsible way. There was actually an aspect of The Hateful Eight, even though it dealt with similar issues I could just kind of let it rip and do my western without having this History with a capital H hanging over the whole piece.

Anne-Katrin Titze: You said you were not done with westerns yet. Will film 81/2 also be a western?

Quentin Tarantino: We'll see, actually. You know, the third western could actually be a TV thing. I've owned the rights for a while. I get them and I lose them and I get them and I lose them. There's something about the piece that I think I might as well make it. There's an Elmore Leonard book called Forty Lashes Less One. I actually think if you want to call yourself a western director today, you need to do at least three westerns.

Back in the Fifties, you needed, like 12, alright? … I would really like to do Forty Lashes Less One as a kind of a miniseries. Like an hour an episode. I'd write it all, maybe it's four hours or five hours, something like that. If you've ever read the book, it would fit right along the lines of Hateful Eight and Django and it deals with race. It all takes place in Yuma Territorial Prison and it's a really good book and I've always wanted to tell the story. So we'll see. I'm hoping I'll do that eventually.

Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh
Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Anne-Katrin Titze: And a question for Tim Roth. Do you see any similarities between God of Hell and your character in this?

Tim Roth: Wow…. Regarding God of Hell, I think just that duplicitous nature of the character. There's a similarity in that. That's an interesting angle. It hasn't crossed my mind in a while.

After the press conference, Quentin lingered for a while longer and gave us his thoughts on blizzards, Samuel L. Jackson, and a Jack White song as Daisy's theme.

Quentin Tarantino: To me, a blizzard is like a monster in a monster movie. It's always outside. It's raging, truly raging, it's angry. And it's rearing to devour the characters whenever they leave…

I love him because nobody says my dialogue quite the way Sam Jackson does. It's not poetry but it's poetic. It's not song, but it's musical and he sings it. It's not stand-up comedy but it has a comedic rhythm...

There is something about that [Jack White] song. I had another song in mind all through the shooting… But I liked the fact that it played like an interior monologue of Daisy. It makes that sequence Daisy's sequence.

The Hateful Eight US poster
The Hateful Eight US poster

Anne-Katrin Titze: Is there some Pirate Jenny to it - from Brecht's Three Penny Opera?

QT: Oh, ah, no, I haven't thought about that before. But I'll take any Brechtian reference. If you listen to the lyrics in association to where Daisy [Jennifer Jason Leigh] is thinking at that point in time about somebody coming to rescue her - I mean, basically, it's the Domergue Gang talking to her - 'Don't worry, Honey, it's rough, it's tough, but we're coming to get you, Baby.'

The Weinstein Company (TWC) will premiere in 70mm an exclusive 1-week roadshow engagement of The Hateful Eight in 100 theaters throughout North America on December 25. At the roadshow engagements a longer version of the film will be screened, including a musical overture at the start and an intermission between acts. Moviegoers will receive a special souvenir program at these showings.

The film will open with a theatrical digital release nationwide on December 31, while continuing to be shown in 70mm as well in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Washington DC, Houston, Detroit, Phoenix, Seattle, Tampa, Minneapolis, Denver, Miami, Cleveland, Orlando, Sacramento, St. Louis, Portland, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Baltimore, San Diego, Nashville, Kansas City, San Antonio, West Palm Beach, Birmingham, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Austin, New Orleans, Providence, Knoxville, Santa Barbara, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. It will be released in the UK on 8 January.

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