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Quentin Tarantino talks to Live for Films about The Hateful Eight and the Vega brothers movie

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The eighth film by Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight, is released in UK cinemas on January the 8th.

In THE HATEFUL EIGHT, set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as “The Hangman,” will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Jackson), a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Goggins), a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new Sheriff. Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob (Bichir), who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray (Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travellers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all…

It’s a savage modern classic and you can read my full review here.

As part of the junket for the film, Live for Films bagged some time with none other than Quentin Tarantino himself. The writer-director of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained was as lively, chatty and knowledgable as I always hoped he would be, and I could very easily have spent five hours talking to him, but I had five minutes – so got cracking immediately.

By the way, I was wearing an Escape From New York t-shirt that is one of those “I ♥ NY” jobs, but with Snake Plissken’s head in place of the heart…

the-hateful-eight-set-design-001

Hello, Quentin. I’m Alan from Live for Films – it’s great to meet you.

Hi! OH WOW! I love your Snake Plissken shirt!

 

Thank you very much.

“I Snake New York” [laughs]

 

So… I loved the film by the way. I saw it yesterday.

Oh! I’m glad you got it.

 

Yeah, I thought it was magnificent. I was just glad that we still got to see it in the end…

Yeah.

 

…because of the script leak at the start of your process. What was it that made you still want to proceed and make The Hateful Eight after all that happened?

You know the thing about it was, ah, um… What made me… think about NOT doing it was the fact that  I was caught unawares, and I was kinda kicked in the shins in a way at an important part of the process because… as opposed to how I normally write my scripts, where I write them as this big long novel that starts at the beginning and gets to the middle, and that’s special because I know more than I ever could have known before I started writing, and whatever happens at the end is whatever happens.

I decided not to do that this time. I wanted to write the script three times. Basically, make myself spend time with the material and go through the storytelling process three separate times, and just have it evolve with each separate draft. Just to give you an example: the Lincoln letter, which plays an important part in the film, in that first draft it was only brought up in the stagecoach at the beginning and that was it because I knew that I wanted to do more with it but I wasn’t ready yet.

So when that first draft got out there, 1. I was betrayed, but 2. – especially with me trying to work creatively in a way that I ever had before – it felt like it ruined the whole idea. So then I tried to take a bad thing and turn it into a good thing by taking that draft and doing a script reading with a bunch of the actors who are in it now. It was such a good experience just rehearsing it for the three days that we did it, and then actually DOING it – it was very invigorating and it made me get over it.

 

Well I’m very glad you did. I was lucky enough to see the “Roadshow” version of the film, with the overture and the intermission…

Yeah!

 

…and it makes seeing the film an experience. Where did you get the idea to do this from?

Well I like the idea of… There’ll be the regular release of the movie and, uh, it doesn’t have a lot of those bells and whistles – it’s a little less “precious” about itself! There’s nothing wrong with that. And since it doesn’t have an intermission, uh, you know there’s a big thing that happens at the end of the first act, and then pretty soon, in the second act, a lot of stuff starts kicking off. So a case that could be made that the other version is even more intense because once it gets going… it just doesn’t stop! Um, but… I like the idea of – especially in this world of movies shot in digital, released on digital… VOD simultaneous streaming, this, that and the other – that… let’s go back. Let’s go back to a time when movies maybe mattered more. When they weren’t just watched on devices, and they weren’t streamed on laptops – they played in big theatres, and they were “an event”, and you got a programme, and it was A THING. You weren’t trying to do a bunch of other stuff that night – you were doing THAT. It was special, and I wanted to bring that kind of sixties pomp and circumstance to the film.

Now the interesting thing about it is those kinds of movies – Ben Hur, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World – they were really cool movies, but they were made for family audiences, to some degree or another… and, um, ah… this isn’t. I mean, this is like if Ken Russell were doing The Devils in 70mm!

[both laugh]

With an overture, and an intermission. It’s kind of a fucked up movie in that regard! Me doing it this way is like a “What the hell?!”, but I like that part of it too. I like that I’m doing this big sixties thing, but it’s still a Quentin movie in every way.

 

Yeah, man. I loved that it brings some reverence back to the cinema.

That’s the idea. Yeah, exactly.

hateful eight samuel l jackson

I’d really like to ask you about the Vega brothers movie: “Double V Vega”, that would have been set before Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction and shown Vincent Vega and Victor Vega’s (Mr. Blonde) adventures.

Yeah!

 

The last time I remember reading your thoughts on it, you were saying that as John (Travolta) and Michael (Madsen) are a bit older now, they can’t believably play those characters again in a prequel.

Yeah.

 

Would you ever consider recasting their roles? And if so, who do you think could fill their shoes?

Wow! … Yeah, I, I… I’ve never had that thought before…ever. So, um, I couldn’t speculate who I would cast – not having that idea thrown to me for the very first time. I actually might think… I don’t know if I’d actually think about DOING it, but now you’ve got me thinking who WOULD I cast..? That smacks just a little bit of a reboot though, alright? Uh, um, I’m not really into THAT idea, a remake – I don’t really mind that idea, but a reboot is not really my cup of tea.

For a while… I think it’s gone too far since then. But, for a while, I was thinking that, uh, maybe ten years ago I could have still done it with Michael and John, and they’re just, uh, uh, uh… Two other… They’re their younger brothers – to some degree – but that wouldn’t be the same. Alright, you know? They have to be Vic, and they have to be Vincent.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT

My last question is a bit strange, but I like to ask it of everyone that I interview for the site… If you could be killed by any movie monster, which one would it be, and what would your last words be?

Oh, wow. That’s pretty good! Er… Maybe… er… I think I gotta go with Ingrid Pitt, alright? [laughs] Sticking her fangs in my neck… and, er, ah, sucking me dry! [laughs] That’s be kinda good as far as I’m concerned. Er, and what my last words would be… maybe [in a really insincere way] “Oh, no!” [laughs]

 

[laughing] Awesome. Thank you very much for your time, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to talk to you today.

My pleasure, man. Thanks a lot. Has Kurt seen your shirt yet?

 

No, I’m not seeing Kurt today unfortunately.

Oh! That’s a drag!

 

And it would have been a drag… IF I DIDN’T THEN MEET KURT RUSSELL AT THE ELEVATORS TEN SECONDS LATER.

After saying my thank you’s and goodbyes, I collected my bag and coat and headed to the elevators with my bud, Craig from The Establishing Shot. “That’s the guy!” a lady exclaims to the man beside her as we approach to… who’s that stood next to the lady pointing me out? It’s not? Blimmin’ heck, it bloody is! Kurt gosh darn Russell, star of The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, and such a hero of mine that I am wearing one of the three t-shirts featuring him that I own today.

“You have to show Kurt your shirt” his handler who is making my day says, so I unzip, unbutton, and blast both barrels of my “I Snake NY” t-shirt at Plissken himself. “That’s awesome, we are now best friends” he doesn’t say as he smiles, laughs, and shakes my hand, while I beam and let him know how cool it is to meet him.

I am on whatever cloud the one above nine is, but luckily Craig is there, and has a camera in his hand in a flash, popping off a couple of shots before Kurt is whisked away to his next press engagement – still smiling and waving as the elevator doors close, leaving Craig and myself to quietly and politely exclaim about our good fortune.

Kurt and Al 1

Kurt and Al 2 (1)

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