By Darlene Donloe
The Hateful Eight marks venerable director Quentin Tarantino’s eighth cinematic venture. At one time he said he would only direct 10 films. If he holds true to his proclamation, there are only two more Tarantino films up his sleeve. In the meantime, audiences can marvel at his latest installation.
Tarantino never does anything easy. He’s a gambler, a provocateur, a bit of a bad-ass, but most of all an interesting and innovative filmmaker.
If you’ve liked Tarantino’s previous offerings, you know what to expect from The Hateful Eight. True to form Tarantino stays in his lane. It’s intense, it’s funny, it’s reflective, it’s politically incorrect, it’s volatile, it’s extremely violent and it’s very good.
So the story goes something like this: Six, eight or 12 years (no one knows for sure) after the Civil War, a stagecoach is hurtling through the snowy Wyoming landscape carrying bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jenifer Jason Leigh). They are on their way to the town of Red Rock where Ruth will bring Domergue to justice.
Soon they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) a black former union soldier turned bounty hunter and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new sheriff.
Soon all four are headed to Red Rock. When they arrive at Minnie’s, a welcomed outpost where weary travelers can rest and get something to eat, the real story begins to unravel.
For fear of revealing too much, I’ll leave it there.
(l-r) Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson
I recently caught up with the cast to talk about the film - out in limited theaters December 25, 2015 and nationwide December 31.
DD: Samuel, if you could talk about the dialogue. Did you change anything?
SAMUEL L. JACKSON: There is not you need to change. I don’t just willy nilly change anything. Quentin and I talk about things. Sometimes he’ll say, ‘no, do it my way.’ Sometimes and we’ll do it my way. The rest of these mother fuckers need to say what he wrote. The only thing we changed was the cold. It changed the urgency.
DD: A lot of attention has been paid to the idea of the 70mm film you used.
QUENTIN TARANTINO: One of the tricks I thought was the intimacy of close-ups. You find yourself taking backstrokes in his (Samuel L. Jackson) eyes. I thought using it would actually put you in Minnie’s hub. There are two plays going on. At any given time there are characters in the front and characters in the back.
DD: Channing (Tatum) you are new to this crew.
CHANNING TATUM: First off, it is an actual alumni. To work on this film – every single person was fantastic. With Samuel (L. Jackson) I did my first film with him. The first day I must have looked geeked out. I told myself, ‘pull it together Channing.’ I was scared.
DD: Kurt, talk about the shoot.
KURT RUSSELL: I spent 4 ½ months chained to Jennifer (Jason Leigh). It was strange for this concept of characters who begin to drop. I wanted to be there for her to be able to do what she needed to do.
JENNIFER JASONLEIGH: I couldn’t have done the scenes without Ruth (Kurt Russell) being there.
DD: Bruce, your thoughts on the movie?
BRUCE DERN: This is the first movie I’ve done where I felt privileged to lend a hand. He (Tarantino) expects the people he brings to do what he hired them to do. When you go to work for him – everybody knows you have a chance to go to the playoffs.
DD: Samuel, this movie is going to prompt a lot of questions.
SAMUEL L JACKSON: The biggest one was the Lincoln Letter. He’s trying to be a liberal during a time when there aren’t any. In the real world, we have to be the real nice Negroes today. I feel sorry for anyone who looks Middle Eastern. If you want to be part of the solution Quentin has a way of making us look at ourselves.
DD: Quentin, are you worried about being politically correct?
QUENTIN TARANTINO: I don’t have much thought about that. I just don’t think about it that way. One could say Fuck being politically correct. I don’t have time for that. I don’t know what the answer is to that. It’s not my job to think about that. As a writer it’s my job to ignore social critics. There are no coloring book lines. I can go outside the lines. I’m doing what I’m doing. If you don’t like it, don’t go see it.
The Hateful Eight (The Weinstein Company) written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Channing Tatum, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, James Parks, Dana Gourrier, Zoe Bell, Gene Jones, Keith Jefferson, Lee Horsley, Craig Stark and Belinda Owino.
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), The Hateful Eight gets an E (excellent)
Running time: 187 mins (includes 12 min intermission); MPAA Rating: R
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