Quentin Tarantino and the cast of “The Hateful Eight” gathered on Dec. 14, 2015 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York for a press conference, which was anything but hateful. It was a love fest with the actors praising Tarantino and each other to the nth degree.
In attendance were Kurt Russell (who plays John Ruth), Jennifer Jason Leigh (who plays Daisy), Michael Madsen (who plays Joe Gage), Tim Roth (who plays Oswaldo Mobray), Demian Bichir (who plays Bob), Bruce Dern (who plays Confederate General Sandy Smithers), and Walton Goggins (who plays Chris Mannix). Sadly, Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t attend.
Quentin started the conference by announcing that the film will have a roadshow for a week starting Dec. 25, playing in 44 markets in 100 theaters in North America. Declaring that he will never shoot a film in digital, Quentin said that they have utilized all the places around the country capable of screening a 70mm movie like “The Hateful Eight.” Otherwise, they’re moving the screens and projectors into the places without that capability.
Advance tickets went on sale Dec. 14. “We’re trying to do this like the old school roadshows,” Quentin said. They used to show extra footage, and “The Hateful Eight” will do the same with seven more minutes than the regular version of the film. There’s a large program that viewers will receive, as well as a t-shirt for the price of the advance ticket.
Below are some of the highlights from the press conference:
Quentin Tarantino on doing another western, “The Hateful Eight,” right after “Django Unchained”:
I kind of learned how to do a western. I realized I wasn’t done with the genre. I wasn’t done with what I felt I had to say. And one of the things I think I had to say in this regard was dealing with race in America, which actually, a lot of westerns had avoided for such a long time. And I think I had more to say.
There’s also something else about “Django,” too. You were dealing with such a big subject as far as slavery in America, that as fun as “Django” was, it was this downer sort of Damocles hanging over the whole thing that you always had to deal with. And you had to deal with it in a responsible way. So, there was actually an aspect of “The Hateful Eight,” even though I deal with similar issues, I could just kind of let her rip and now, just do my western without having this history with a capital H hanging over the whole piece.
Quentin Tarantino on whether he would do another western:
The third western could actually be a TV thing…. There’s an Elmore Leonard book called “Forty Lashes Less One.” I actually think if you were to call yourself a western director today, you need to do at least three westerns…. And I would really like to do “Forty Lashes Less One” as kind of a mini-series, like an hour episode. I’d write it all, I’d direct it all, but maybe it’s 5 hours or 4 hours. Something like that.
Jennifer Jason Leigh on her character, Daisy:
So much of it, obviously, is on the page because you’re dealing with such a great script and such a great character. With Daisy, there’s a lot that’s mercurial and that we had to find, and we wanted to find it together. And so much of Daisy is informed by John Ruth…. She thinks she’s a lot smarter than John Ruth, and actually, she is. [Laughter]
She’s playing him [in] a lot of the movie, but there’s this one moment in the movie – and this is what’s so great about doing a Tarantino movie and what’s so great for all of us actors – is that we’re always being surprised by everything. There’s a moment where it all shifts where John Ruth isn’t just a putz, a fool that she’s so much smarter than. He’s suddenly smart and very dark…. And then, she has to re-judge him.
Everyone in the movie is terrible and hateful. Everyone in the movie you also care for. Maybe their weakness is the good part of them in a certain way.
Michael Madsen on the dimension of the characters:
I read a biography of James Cagney, and he said that if you play somebody who’s very noble, you should probably try to find a mean streak in that person or something dark. If you play somebody who’s very evil, you should probably find something good in that person somewhere. So, there’s always a duality in what you do.
The best thing about making a picture for Quentin is that he lets your character have duality, if you’re capable of doing it.
Tim Roth on working with Tarantino on “Reservoir Dogs” and many years later on “The Hateful Eight”:
The man’s the same, but I was around at the very beginning. Then, I had this huge break from working with him, so I did get to see how his world has changed. The set has changed … music playing between setups and the kind of circus atmosphere that exists on his set…. He’s accrued so much knowledge of cinema and how to tell his stories.
Quentin: In particular in the case of “Reservoir Dogs,” I was probably, along with the PA’s, I was the least experienced person on the set. I was just getting through the process.
Tim: You did pretty good.
Demian Bechir on his experience of working on the film:
I remember the first time we had this table reading, you always want to be able to one day say a Tarantino line in a film. So, I was already very happy and excited about it. But then, to listen to every single line in the mouths and bodies of all of this group of fantastic actors – that was beautiful.
Not only that, I remember that first reading that we had at this hotel back in Los Angeles, going back home and telling my girl, “Everyone is so damn, f***ing nice.” Because a small fish can be lost in a big ocean unless they embrace you, unless they treat you well. The first thing that made me very happy when I actually met Quentin was to find a warm man, a very generous, loving man. Then, the whole thing has been a confirmation of whatever I thought – that the biggest artists are the nicest.
Bruce Dern on the talent of Quentin Tarantino:
I’ve been lucky in my career, but this guy – he does a couple of things that the other people I’ve worked with don’t do. He has the greatest attention to detail I’ve ever seen. Burt Lancaster once told me it’s [director Luchino] Visconti. Well, [Tarantino] will take a seat by Visconti, trust me. And the other thing he does is he gives you an opportunity as an actor – and everyone behind the camera as well – the chance to get better.
His material is so good, so original, so unique, if you will, that if you don’t get the part – the big part of it is that you’re so excited that he chose you and not Ned Beatty or Jimmy Caan! [Laughter] … You’re excited to go to work every day because he just might do something that’s never been done.
Walton Goggins on whether there was any improvisation in the film:
There’s no improv in this press conference. He wrote everything that we’re saying. [Laughter] No! Why would you mess with perfection? We can say that because it is. You know, it’s every actor’s dream to get an opportunity to say a Quentin Tarantino monologue or a line of dialogue. There is no need to change, even to add a “the” or “and” or a comma. It really is perfect the way that it comes out of his imagination.
Quentin Tarantino on the boycott threats of police officers’ unions after his statements about police brutality:
I hope that doesn’t happen. I really do. Just because some union mouthpieces are calling for a boycott doesn’t mean that the different officers on the street are going to necessarily follow suit. I have to say it’s kind of a drag because the statements I made, I believe are very true. And I intend to go maybe further with that as time goes on.
Nevertheless, I think you can actually decry police brutality and still understand that there’s good work that the police do. I think I’ve made that pretty clear. And I do know that there’s a whole lot of police out there who are real big fans of my work, and I just hope that they’re not going to take Patrick Lynch’s word for what I said.
What I said is what I said, and you can actually look it up and read it. And I’ve actually clarified my comments since then. Not walking back at all, but just a little more clarification. And I still stand by what I say. And actually, I think there’s a lot of good cops out there, and they should agree with what I said if they’re coming from the right place. So, I guess we’ll just see.
Quentin Tarantino on choosing Ennio Morricone to write the score for “The Hateful Eight”:
With this movie, I had a little voice in my ear that said, “This movie deserves its own score.” I take nothing away from the other movies that I’ve done using other scores. I think that was right for them. I didn’t hear that voice then….
And he [Ennio] was very interested. So, I took the first step, and the first step is just translating the script into Italian and sending it to him. And we sent it to him, and he read it, and his wife read it. His son read it. They all really liked it. His wife really liked it, and that went a long way. Then, we got together. And I went down to meet him in Rome. I went to his lovely, beautiful apartment – maybe the greatest apartment I’ve ever seen in my life.
And we’re there talking about it, and I said, “So, what is it you see or hear?” He said, “Well, I have this idea for a theme.” He didn’t hum or make the sounds. He said, “I just see it’s driving forward, driving forward – like the stagecoach moving through the snow, moving through the snow, moving forward, moving forward. But it also is ominous-sounding and suggests the violence that will come.”
At first, because he didn’t think he had time, he was only going to write just the theme, and that was it. And I ended up seeing him the very next day at the Donatello Awards, and he goes, “I’m going to write you more.” So, literally 7 minutes of music became 12 minutes of music became 22 minutes of music became 32 minutes of music. I think he sat down and just got inspired.
He’s kind of cool this way because he wants to keep it the way you’re used to. He didn’t see the movie until in London just the last couple of days. So, he didn’t score the scenes or anything. He just scored to the script. He wrote a couple of pieces of music that he thought could be really good for the material itself but not scene-specific – about three suites like that. And then, some other music that he thought I could use for emotions. Then, he gave it to me based on the script and let me take it and put it in the movie the way I’ve always done before.
So, it ended up being a very, very lovely encounter. Now, I’m looking forward to having him do the score before I even shoot the movie. But it’s become a lovely relationship. I actually cherish it.
Quentin Tarantino on how journalists in France saw “The Hateful Eight” as a horror film:
It was surprising how it was a thing in France. Every interviewer came in and said, “It’s a western but horrific” [in a French accent]. [Laughter] And they really, really kept hitting on this horror film aspect that actually does to some degree or other play into it. I don’t think this [“The Hateful Eight”] is influenced by that many westerns, but one movie it’s definitely influenced by is John Carpenter’s version of “The Thing,” which also had Kurt Russell and also had a score by Ennio Morricone. But now, that actually makes sense because this movie is very influenced by “Reservoir Dogs,” and that was influenced by “The Thing….”
The biggest influence when it came to that was the effect that “The Thing” had on me the very first time I saw it in a movie theater on opening night. I think it’s the first time I was able to break down in a more critical way the effect of a film, i.e. – the paranoia was so strong between those characters. And they’re trapped in such an enclosed space that the paranoia just started bouncing off the walls until it had nowhere else to go but through the fourth wall and into the audience. So, that was the effect I was going for with “The Hateful Eight” was to get that kind of feeling.
“The Hateful Eight” roadshow begins Dec. 25, 2015 for a week. Following the 1-week engagement, the film will open with a theatrical digital release nationwide on Dec. 31, while continuing to be shown in 70mm as well. To mark the occasion, there will also be “12 Days of HATEFUL EIGHT Giveaways,” where each day, a different prize, memorabilia, or once-in-a-lifetime experience will be given away to moviegoers who buy roadshow tickets in advance of the Christmas Day opening. “The Hateful Eight” is the first film to be shot in Ultra Panavision 70 format since 1966. Buy tickets at tickets.thehatefuleight.com.