For the the months that followed “Django Unchained,” filmmaker Quentin Tarantino had been hinting he was hoping to direct a Western next. And then at the end of the year on Jay Leno, he spelled it out in no uncertain terms; he was making a Western next, but it wasn’t going to be a sequel to “Django Unchained,” or “Killer Crow,” the prequel to “Inglourious Basterds,” he’d been discussing in several interviews after his slavery epic was done (nor any of the various Western-like slave movies he’s discussed over the years). Well, he kept his promise. And when QT puts his mind to it, he evidently spits out a script quick.
Deadline reports that his Western is done and it’s got a title: “The Hateful Eight.” Or at least a working title. Tarantino has apparently finished a first draft and is handing it off to actors he’d like to appear in the film. Those actors apparently include Tarantino’s current muse Christoph Waltz, who starred in “Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained” (and won Oscar supporting awards for both), and “Nebraska” star Bruce Dern. Neither is much of a surprise, and if you have a keen memory you’ll remember that Tarantino actually cast Dern in “Django Unchained” but the part is so small, blink and you’ll miss him (most did; here’s a screenshot).
So was this tiny role important to the two of them regardless? You bet. During the Cannes “Nebraska” press conference last year Dern counted Tarantino among the six “genius” filmmakers he had ever worked with (Hitchcock and Alexander Payne were also some of the directors name checked). Either way, it obviously made an impression on both the actor and filmmaker (Tarantino introduced Dern at a recent AFI screening of “Nebraska” too).
From the sounds of the report the script is in the early stages, but other than being cut for length, when a Quentin Tarantino script finally leaks—because it’s been sent around to all the agencies—it usually veers pretty damn close to what’s on the page. (The Hollywood Reporter says he’d like to shoot it this summer, but nothing is set in stone right now.)
Tarantino’s flirted with Westerns elements in the “Kill Bill” films and arguably finally made one with “Django Unchained,” but the director’s always seen the latter as “Southern,” a distinction in the genre he likes to make, so perhaps “The Hateful Eight” will be his first pure Western. But then again, Tarantino has stated in the past that he “hates John Ford.” So, we’ll have to wait and see.
“I had so much fun doing Django, and I love Westerns so much that after I taught myself how to make one, it’s like ‘OK! Let me make another one now that I know what I’m doing,’ ” Tarantino told Leno in November. Tarantino also once tried to adapt Elmore Leonard’s Western “40 Lashes Less One,” which you can read more about in our feature “The Lost, Unmade & Possible Future Films Of Quentin Tarantino” that mentions over 15 movies the director mentioned over the years that he never got around to making (at least not yet).