After the script of Quentin Tarantino’ s “The Hateful Eight” was leaked in January, the director said he had “no desire to make it.” Well, it’s safe to say he’s reconsidered. At Film Independent’s staged reading of “The Hateful Eight” on Saturday at Downtown L.A.’s Ace Hotel, Tarantino said he was working on a second draft and a third would also come.
“This is the first draft,” he clarified. Tarantino noted that the final chapter, chapter five titled “Black Night, White Hell,” has been rewritten and “this is the only time you’ll see” this version.
In a black cowboy hat and western shirt, the director introduced in order of appearance “the Tarantino Superstars,” all alums of his previous films: Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren, James Parks as the driver O.B., Kurt Russell as bounty hunter John Ruth also known as “The Hangman,” Amber Tamblyn as his prisoner Daisy Domergue, Walton Goggins as Chris Mannix, Denis Menochet as the Frenchman Bob, Tim Roth as the Englishman Oswaldo Mobray, Michael Madsen as John Gage, Bruce Dern as Confederate General Smithers, Dana Gourrier as Minnie, Zoe Bell as Six Horse Judy and James Remar as Jody. (Some of the actors also read multiple roles.)
“We’ve been rehearsing for the last three days,” said Tarantino. “We’re OK, we’re not bad.”
Tarantino proceeded to narrate and give very specific stage directions and scene-setting, down to p.o.v. and camera angles. He repeatedly called attention to the snowy Wyoming setting, post-Civil War, to be shot in “70 mm gloriousness.” He also stopped his actors to redo lines or even rewrite scenes, whispering in Jackson or Roth’s ears, or tell them to “stick to the page” if they were going astray. “No more co-writing,” Tarantino said. The audience laughed, clearly enjoying this peek into Tarantino’s process.
As you’d expect from Tarantino, the script is violent, bloody, laced with profanity and vomit. The biggest laughs came in the fifth chapter as the director read the reaction shot for Madsen’s character as he takes a drink, “with a look like he’s coming in his pants.” Goggins couldn’t help but break character and interject, “That’s how you look when you come in your pants?” Madsen told Tarantino, “It’s never happened before, Quent.” Tarantino promised to show him sometime.
Proceeds from the event benefited Film Independent at LACMA. Tickets were sold for $150-$200. Spotted in the crowd: Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein, Rick Nicita and Jesse Plemons.