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January 21st, 2017

Quentin Tarantino Interview: The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” is a darkly funny, brutal tale of deception and betrayal set in post-Civil War Wyoming and filmed in stunning Ultra Panavision 70. The movie features an award-winning ensemble of Tarantino regulars and newcomers including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Demian Bichir, and Channing Tatum.

A stagecoach races across rugged winter terrain toward the town of Red Rock, trying to escape an approaching blizzard. Just as the storm overtakes the mountainside, the four passengers find shelter at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a familiar stopover on a remote mountain pass. They’re greeted by four strangers who are already holed up there, but no one is quick to reveal his or her hand. As time passes, all eight travelers begin to suspect they may have already reached their final destination and they won’t be making it to Red Rock after all.

At the recent press day, Tarantino and his actors talked about the advantages of shooting in 70mm, how a Tarantino set differs from other movie sets, how Leigh and Russell played off each other while chained at the hip for 4-1/2 months, why Russell remained in character after his character met his demise, the decision to stay close to the script, Tarantino and Jackson’s take on race relations in America, why a period film affords a filmmaker the opportunity to comment on the present in ways a present day film does not, what their filmmaking adventure was like for the veteran actors who have been with Tarantino from the beginning, and why Tarantino doesn’t mind dancing on the edge of political correctness.

Check it all out in the interview below:

QUESTION: Ultra Panavision is obviously epic in scale in terms of what it gives you in the frame. But what about what it gives your actors in terms of intimacy, the close-ups, and the relationship of one actor to the other? What does that mean to you as a filmmaker to be able to shoot actors in 70mm?

QUENTIN TARANTINO: You’ve actually answered your own question a little bit. Literally, that is one of the tricks that I thought about, which is the intimacy that it provides you, particularly in close-ups. I’ve shot a lot of close-ups of this man (referring to Walton Goggins sitting next to him), but I’ve never shot them as beautiful as I did in this movie. I think you find yourself taking backstrokes in his eyes. It’s just the way it is. But one of the things is, I remember when I did the film, when it was reported that I was going to do it in this format, people were actually speculating, and I guess I understand it. They were like, “Well yeah, that sounds really great, but why would he do it for a thing that’s just so set-bound?” That’s not very profound thinking when it comes to 65mm that is just basically for shooting travelogues or mountain scenaries or nature. I felt that, especially in bringing it into Minnie’s Haberdashery. If the film isn’t suspenseful, i.e. the pressure cooker situation of what’s going on in the movie, if that’s not part of it, if the threat of violence and the temperature isn’t always going up a notch every scene or so, then the movie is going to be boring. It’s not going to work. I felt that the big format would put you in Minnie’s Haberdashery. You are in that place. You are amongst those characters. I thought it would make it more intimate when I got in close with them. But, the other thing that I thought would be very, very important is, there’s always two plays going on in this movie. Once you’re in Minnie’s, in particular, there are two plays going on at all times. There are the characters that are in the foreground of any given scene, and then there are the characters in the background. You always have to be keeping track, especially in this scenario, of where everybody is. It’s like they’re pieces on a chessboard and you always have to see it. So, maybe it might be Chris Mannix (Goggins) and General Smithers (Bruce Dern) who are dealing. But, you’re also clocking Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) at his table, and you’re clocking John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) at the bar. And that becomes important, unless I don’t want it to be, unless I want to cut them out and not show it to you. That helped ratchet up the tension as things went on.

Q: One of the limitations of 70mm typically is that the magazines are very short and it means you have very short takes. But you were able to equip your cameras with a lot more film so you could shoot your actors for six and seven minutes at a time. Can you talk a little bit about how you accomplished that?

TARANTINO: Yes, even longer than that. Panavision came up with 2000-foot mags so we were able to shoot it for 11 minutes at a time. I can’t even imagine doing this material if we had to break it up in 4-minute goes. We had to do it like that. The Weinsteins were very generous with me. I didn’t have to dole out the footage in a certain way. I wasn’t completely cavalier about it, but I didn’t really change my shooting style for it. That would have been the idea to completely change my shooting style, so I shot the way I wanted to shoot. However, the only real disadvantage I felt at the time, but then I don’t feel now, was we weren’t able to get a zoom lens, and I had really gotten used to using a zoom lens and the little zoom creep. But actually, that was also a nice thing to be forced to not use all the tools that you’ve gotten used to from time to time and be able to work in a different way.

Q: Channing, this is your first Tarantino film. What did you want to know from the other actors about what to expect, and what is surprising about being on a Quentin Tarantino set that’s different from other movie sets?

CHANNING TATUM: Well, first off, it is an actual alumni to be in a Quentin film and you really feel that. All these guys have worked together a lot. It is a unique experience to be in a Quentin movie, I can promise you, and you’re really intimidated. But every single person was so [generous]. I did my first movie ever with Sam (Samuel L. Jackson), and to come full circle like this is pretty extraordinary. I think on the first day, I must have looked so geeked out, because the very first shot was this crazy 360. I was just wide-eyed and trying to figure out what not to screw up, and Tim (Roth) goes, “Yup, yup. You got to be in a Quentin Tarantino movie.”

TIM ROTH: Channing looked so scared.

TATUM: But it was amazing. Every single person here is people I admire greatly. I was learning a lesson in every single moment.

TARANTINO: One thing that’s funny is I told him when we were in rehearsal, “You do realize you get to shoot Coach Carter, don’t you?” and he went, “I hadn’t thought about that! Holy shit! I get to shoot Coach Carter.”

SAMUEL L. JACKSON: All those suicides. All those push-ups.

TARANTINO: Channing hasn’t seen the film yet.

JACKSON: His bad!

TATUM: I was there for some of it.

Q: Jennifer and Kurt, you guys always still sit side by side. Were you side by side throughout the show, meaning when the cameras weren’t on? Did you try to chain yourselves to one another?

JENNIFER JASON LEIGH: This is probably the first time we’ve ever sat like this (on the opposite side from how they were in the movie).

JACKSON: I was thinking that. You’re on the wrong side.

TARANTINO: They were really complaining about that.

KURT RUSSELL: I say, “Bullshit! Let’s change it right now.” (They exchange places.)

TARANTINO: There you go!

JACKSON: Now it’s okay.

TARANTINO: Now all is right with the world.

LEIGH: I felt like I was on a date or something.

Q: Kurt, after your character is no longer among the living, is that still you lying on the floor there?

RUSSELL: Yeah. I spent 4-1/2 months chained to Jennifer and it felt very strange the concept of people starting to drop like flies, and the actors that had been there for us were not going to be there for them. It just felt really weird, aside from the fact that I had a really good ticket, a front row seat to watch all these guys, and not have to worry about lines, and just listen to it, and watch it be played out. But I wanted to be there for her to do whatever she needed to do. In the movie, I’m dead for whatever period of time it is. It’s about three weeks or however long it took us to do it. So, for her, if she felt like she needed to paw John Ruth, that’s going to be different than a dummy, and I knew that by being there, and by continuing the day-to-day that we all had talking to each other, it just was something that had to happen.

MICHAEL MADSEN: Until he fell asleep.

RUSSELL: Yeah, that’s true.

TARANTINO: It was like, “Jennifer, why did you stop?” “Uh, because John Ruth is snoring.”

JACKSON: Big guys snore! It’s true!

LEIGH: They had a dummy for him. It was 30 degrees in that room. They had a full dummy with a full face cast that was beautiful. You couldn’t tell from far away. Walton has a lot of videos.

WALTON GOGGINS: There’s a video set-up in the make-up room, and the dummy sat in a chair, and different people would go up and just slap John Ruth, like “Bam!”, or play with his moustache.

LEIGH: I do want to say one thing, which is, I couldn’t have done that scene without him there. That really was three weeks of 16-hour days lying on a cold floor. I needed him and he was so there for me. It really, really touched me, because as much as Daisy wanted to kill him, be careful what you wish for. I would have never really, truly experienced that had he not been there for me to paw and miss and feel the heat leaving his body. That’s only Kurt.

RUSSELL: We have something to announce.

Q: Sam, Quentin is obviously very precise in his language, and when you make a Quentin movie, if people don’t know, you say the lines that Quentin has written.

JACKSON: You do?

TARANTINO: Not him!

JACKSON: Yeah, I do.

TARANTINO: Every actor here is like, “No, not this motherfucker!”

JACKSON: Yes, c’mon, c’mon! Keep the myth up. Keep the myth alive. Yes, we say exactly what Quentin writes.

Q: What does that give you as an actor when you’re staying relatively close to what’s written? A lot of actors like to improvise. How does staying close to the dialogue benefit you in terms of your performance?

JACKSON: There’s not a lot that you need to change. Quentin and I have conversations about what I say. I don’t just willy-nilly change things. If I want to say something else, I’ll go to him and discuss it with him, and we’ll talk about it. He’ll say, “Well, let me hear what I wrote,” and I’ll say what he wrote. And then he’ll say, “Let me hear what you want to say,” and I’ll say what I want to say, which is very close to what he wrote. I just want to say it in another way because I think it comes out of that character’s mouth a different way. He’ll say, “Okay,” or he’ll say, “No, leave it the way I wrote it.” That’s generally what happens. The rest of these motherfuckers need to say what he says. We’re kind of on the same wavelength. Generally, when I get it, it’s exactly what it needs to be. As characterization starts and as we’re in rehearsal, there are times when I feel like I didn’t say enough or I don’t have enough to say, and I’ll say to him, “Could you add something here so that I can answer that or clarify this?”, and Quentin will do that. But, by the time the rehearsal period is over and we get there and we’re ready to do it, nothing changes. The only big change we had from being around the studio table, and at Minnie’s, and in the studio, and outdoors with the stagecoach was the cold. That was the one thing. That was the wild card we didn’t really know about, and all of a sudden, it changed the urgency of everything we wanted to do, especially outdoors. It was like, “Okay, I want to get inside the stagecoach now, because I don’t like the snow running down my neck.”

Q: Bruce, as an actor, you’ve worked with a lot of great directors over the course of your career. What is special to you about working with Quentin and how does he affect you as an actor?

BRUCE DERN: In my journey, I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but this is the first movie I’ve ever done where I’ve felt privileged to lend a hand, because that’s what you do for him. I’m not sure what it is, but let’s say casting is 80 percent of a movie. He expects the people that he brings to do what he hired them to do and not act and be somebody else. I felt that he asked me to come along and lend a hand. So, that’s basically what it is. When you go to work for him, everybody on the set, and we’re talking about everybody behind the camera, division by division by division, everybody knows you have a chance to go to the playoffs. But what you don’t know is what you’re going to end up with in this one. This is my first time in an opera, because the guy made an opera. Just to be a part of that. Now I couldn’t sit through a fuckin’ opera but…

Q: Quentin, as a filmmaker, you’re always more interested in the past, whether it’s historical periods or cinematic style. I was wondering if you ever had a hankering to tackle something in the other direction, not necessarily making a film set in the future, but definitely moving away from Westerns and focusing on the culture moving forward?

TARANTINO: That’s a really interesting idea. I don’t think anyone’s ever proposed it exactly the way you proposed it to me. Everyone always talks about the science fiction genre in particular, which always makes me think about people in spaceships. I can appreciate that, but that’s not really where I think my dramatist aspect lies. The way you posed it, I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it before, as far as dealing with a future society like ours. What would that entail? What would it mean to jump 20 years or 50 years or 100 years in the future and literally look at it from that point of view. I’ve never really thought about that before, but that is a profound thought, I have to admit.

Q: Does making a period film allow you the ability to comment on the present in ways that a present day film doesn’t?

TARANTINO: I think there is definitely a case. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to do, but when you try to deal with prescient themes in the present, that is what you’re doing. That is the railroad you’re building, and that’s where that train is going. That can actually be fantastic. We can all point at versions in cinema history that have been profound. I do like putting scenario first. I do like putting story first. I like masking whatever I want to say in the guise of genres, so I can say it with my left hand and then deal with the right hand with what the genre dictates. However, in this instance in particular, it’s one of the benefits of the Western genre. There is no other genre that has dealt or deals with America better in a subtextual way than the Western being made in the different decades. The ‘50s Westerns very much put forth an Eisenhower idea of America and an American exceptionalism aspect of it, whereas the Westerns of the ‘70s were very cynical about America. It was a drag that that first draft of the script got out when it did. However, as we were making this movie, it was during that last year and a half where many of the themes that we were dealing with, we were watching on television when we got home. We would come to the set and we would talk about them. The one good thing about the script getting out there as soon as it did is I’m on record for having written this before all this shit started popping off in the last year and a half.

JACKSON: The other good thing about that, too, is I died a lot earlier in that other script.

TARANTINO: I forgot about that until you mentioned it to somebody else.

JACKSON: I didn’t.

Q: Demian, you’re famous in Mexico for exploring the characters to the bones. Can you talk about how much fun you had on set and how much you were allowed to do that with your character?

DEMIAN BICHIR: Viva Mexico, Cabrones! Hello, Trump! I just had the best seat in the house. House seats. From day one, meeting this guy right here, being a big fan of his films forever, it was just great to see him in action and to see how he does what he does. Then, I remember having this first table reading with all these beautiful actors reading those lines. That was, for me, a beautiful ride, and I still have the best seat in the house. I’m just having a lot of fun. You need a crazy director, a free director, a director that’s not afraid of taking risks in order to help you get where you want to go. That’s pretty much what we did.

Q: Michael and Tim, you guys have been with Quentin from the very beginning, so what’s the then and now situation in terms of working with Mr. Tarantino?

MADSEN: Well, at least we didn’t get stuck together this time. Tim and I had embraced each other on the set of “Reservoir Dogs,” and we both got so much blood on our bodies that we were stuck together. We were stuck together more than we wanted to be. It was like the hug that lasted a little too long, and they actually had to use a garden hose to separate us. So, it was good with our deaths this time that we were on opposite sides of the room. I enjoyed so much watching Tim and watching him find his character. I think back in the Dog days, I was a young man and I was very naïve. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Not that I do now. I enjoyed watching Tim, and I enjoyed watching him much more than I would have remembered from the years before. What changed for me is I grew to appreciate and watch him and how wonderful he is. He’s a friend also. C’mon, buddy!

ROTH: It’s been a trip. It was kind of a weird sensation to be the old school, the old boys coming in. Sam’s been around for as much as I have around Quentin. But I had a long break. I didn’t make it back in since “Pulp Fiction,” so I didn’t know the new version of how he filmed and the kind of atmosphere on set that he’s encouraged and developed. It was brand new for me. It was almost, in a sense, like coming to Quentin fresh again. It was wonderful.

Q: Quentin, are you writing for specific actors for most of the roles or only some of the roles?

TARANTINO: Yeah, in this case, everybody here that I’d worked with before I wrote for them. The wild cards were Domergue and Bob and Jody.

Q: Walton, what’s the over under on whether your character in “Hateful Eight” is related to your character in “Django”?

GOGGINS: Yeah, maybe that’s his uncle or something like that.

RUSSELL: What a shitty family! Shitty group of people. I wouldn’t want to have them over for Thanksgiving.

TARANTINO: The worst family in America! The Borgias of America!

GOGGINS: You said something earlier that was so interesting to me. You talk about Quentin’s dialogue, but from an actor’s perspective, you have to understand that this is like finding gold in a river. This is like panning for gold in the Gold Rush Days in California when you come across this, when you get this invitation. There was one day, and this is a great story, there was one day in particular where I read this stuff 300 times. We all do. At the outset, Quentin said, “You need to know these words,” as every actor up here does. Not just so that you can be ready at any given moment to go wherever it is in the story, but so that you can give this man a hundred different versions if that’s what he needs in order to reach his vision. That’s just what I do. That’s how I look at it. There was one day in particular where Quentin gave me a monologue and it was just a page. I spent 14 years in television, so learning 10 pages for me in an hour is no problem, but this is Quentin Tarantino dialogue. It started off in the morning. I got it first thing as soon as I got there right after our coffee. We have a coffee club in the morning. So, I’m sitting there and I’m having the best fucking day. I know 150 pages of this script. I know everybody’s shit. Then I get this thing from Coco (producer Coco Francini) who just comes up and says, “Hey, Quentin wants you to say this later on today,” and it’s here. It’s the whole thing and it just freaked me out. It brought me down because it was like, “Oh fuck!” Really now I got to get up from the coffee, and I start walking around, and people see that I’m freaking out a little bit. Tim says, “Hey, man, what’s wrong with you?” I say, “Look, I got this right here. I got this today.” He says, “You got that, man.” I go, “No, I don’t! I don’t fucking have it!” And then, Kurt, literally an hour later, when I’m just pacing around back and forth, Kurt says, “Hey man, what’s wrong with you?” and I go, “This, man! This!” And he says, “You got this.” And I go, “No! I fucking don’t!” And then the same with Sam. Sam said something, too, because I just walk and I pace. Then, that night, it all came down to it. It was the last thing that we shot. And it was with me and Bruce, and we’re sitting there in the chair, and even then, I’m just fucking freaking out. And Quentin just looks at me and he says, “You got this, man.” And then, it came out.

JACKSON: And it’s not in the movie!

GOGGINS: What!?

TARANTINO: No! It is! It is! It is!

JACKSON: Motherfucker!

Q: Quentin has much to say about society and life, and race relations in America is part of it. History following the Civil War is part of it. All of that plays into what Sam’s character is doing in relation to the other characters in the film. For Quentin and Sam, I’d love to know how you guys talk about what you want to say about race relations in America?

JACKSON: It all comes out very genuinely. When we were having those conversations, the biggest one we had was about the Lincoln letter, and Kurt, and how he felt when his heart got broken. We had to go through this, and we had a really interesting conversation that day.

RUSSELL: There’s a lot of responses you can have to that.

JACKSON: Yeah. I mean, he’s trying to be a liberal in a time when there weren’t any. All of a sudden, he’s faced with, “Oh, so it’s true what they say about you people.” Now I could fix that, but there was no need for me to fix that because I had to go with the, “Look, the only time I can feel safe is when I disarm you.” In a real world, that’s a very real thing. That happens right now. We have to be these very nice kind of Negroes so we feel safe walking around, because if you present yourself as any other thing, then people call people on you. Even after the other day (referring to the terror attack in San Bernardino, CA), if you see something, say something. I feel sorry for everybody who looks Middle Eastern right now because that’s going to happen. For a minute, it was us. When we had that conversation around the table, it was one of those kind of things like, if you really feel like you want to be part of the solution, then I actually broke that for Kurt. I was saying, “Is he really genuinely hurt? Was he disappointed by that?” And Kurt had a very great response to that. It was like, “Well, a lie is a lie is a lie. It’s not that the letter’s not real. It’s that you lied. It’s not the whole thing, it’s the lie of who you are, and how you presented yourself, and what this thing meant to me. You destroyed it.” Quentin has this way of making us look at ourselves in this interesting sort of way. I mean, Major Warren is a lot of things, and one of the things he is, is a survivor. And he’s surviving in a very dangerous time, because that speech was a lot longer about, “You don’t know what it is to be a Black man in America right now.” It was a longer speech. He cut it down to the right size. But you don’t need to say a lot more about it than that. We all understand race relations in that time. It’s like getting back to the whole nigger, not nigger conversation. When you’re talking about me, I can be in the room or out of the room, but you’re very seldom going to say, “You know, the black guy that’s with me.” That’s not what people said. That’s just not how people talk. So, whether I’m in the room or out of the room, when they say “the nigger,” I don’t have to look around to see who they’re talking about. They’re talking about me. Or they’re talking around me, but I’m still there. So, we don’t need to have those conversations, because we all understand society and another kind of way, or as Tim knows British society, and Demian knows Mexican society. We all know that everybody has these different strata of living, and everybody’s got somebody that they particularly put their foot on or walk around on. We don’t have to talk about it, but we have to make it legitimate enough so that people sitting there…because there’s a whole bunch of people who are going to watch this movie that agree with him. There are people that are going to watch the movie that agree with Bruce. There are people that are going to watch the movie that are on my side. Everybody’s going to have a fan. Daisy’s going to have fans. So, there are actually people there who wish times were still like they used to be.

TARANTINO: I remember when we were doing “Django,” you were like, “Hey, make no mistake, Stephen will have his fans.”

JACKSON: Yes! So, when we’re there doing that, we know we’re not just making a movie for Quentin’s fans. There are people who hate Quentin and what his movies stand for that are still going to watch this movie just because they like shoot ‘em ups. They’re going to sit there and go, “Shit! He hit on my thing. That’s my thing right there. Damn right! All these niggers lie.” It’s just going to be an element of what they do, because it’s that segment of society. And there are going to be other people sitting there going, “Oh my god, I can’t believe they talk like that.” But that’s just what movies do. And that’s why we make these things so that we can start conversations or get people thinking, and hopefully that will make a change.

Q: Quentin, do you have any inkling of what the police union has in store for you after that very inappropriate threat that they issued? Don’t you think that it’s those people that should be seeing the movie instead of boycotting it?

TARANTINO: It’s funny because people ask me, “Are you worried?” Well the answer is no, I’m not worried because I actually do not feel that the police force is this sinister black hand organization that goes out and fucks up individual citizens in a conspiracy kind of way. Having said that, civil servants shouldn’t be issuing threats, even rhetorically, to private citizens. No. I don’t have any idea. The only thing I can imagine that they might be planning to do is picket one of the screenings or something like that. Maybe picket the premiere or one of the 70mm screenings.

JACKSON: Or buy up all the tickets to make sure the theater is empty.

TARANTINO: Exactly, although that doesn’t hurt me that much. So no, I don’t have any inkling. I haven’t heard a whole lot about it other than Patrick Lynch (President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association) is keeping the fire on simmer. I do think it’s unfortunate. I do respect the good work that the police do. I live in the Hollywood Hills. When I see a cop driving around there, I actually assume that he has my best interest at heart and he has the best interest of my property at heart. I think if you go to Pasadena, they’d say the same thing. And I think if you knocked on doors in Glendale, they’d say the same thing. If you go down to Century Blvd. and start knocking on apartment doors in Inglewood, they’re not going to say the same thing. All that was put into place about 30 years ago when we declared a war on drugs and started militarizing the police force. You’re not going to have the police force representing the Black and Brown community if they’ve been spending the last 30 years busting every son and daughter and father and mother for every piddling drug offense that they’ve ever done. And that’s creating a mistrust in the community. But, at the same time, you should be able to talk about abuses of power. You should be able to talk about police brutality and what in some cases is, as far as I’m concerned, outright murder and outright loss of justice without the police organization targeting you in the way that they have done me.

Q: In a sense, you’ve created your own genre. Your movies are powerful and thought provoking and often dancing on the edge of being politically correct. What are your thoughts on being politically correct in today’s society?

TARANTINO: I don’t have much thought on that other than I guess in a conversation like the way you’re having it right now and the way you’re asking me right now. I just don’t think about it that way. One can be inclined to just say, “Eff this political correctness. I don’t have time for that.” But also, in polite society, there is such a thing as sensitivity to some issues as time has gone on. There was a time that we weren’t politically correct at all. And we all wince at moments when we look at the past and we see that. I don’t really know what the answer is as far as that is concerned. However, me as an artist, I don’t really think about it at all. It actually is not my job to think about that, and especially in terms of me as a writer, and also as a filmmaker. But I’m not worried about the filmmaking part, because if I’ve written it, that’s what I’m going to do. But particularly, as a writer, it is my job to ignore social critics or the response that social critics might have when it comes to the opinions of my characters, the way they talk, or anything that can happen to them. I mean, we can talk about the race stuff, which we actually talked about, but some people here sitting in the room might be uncomfortable about the violence that is handed out to Jennifer’s character, and actually I’m playing with that in the course of the movie. When she gets that crack in the head by John Ruth at the beginning of the movie, that is meant to send a shockwave out through the audience. You’re meant to think. You’re not necessarily meant to like Domergue in that moment, but you are meant to think that John Ruth is a brutal bastard at that moment, because that does seem like rather an overreaction to what she did and what she said. Now time goes on, and you see how you feel about the characters. But it’s meant to do that. There is this aspect of the way this story works in general, which is I have trapped eight people, actually nine people if you include O.B. (James Parks). He’s not part of the Hateful Eight because he’s not hateful. It’s the Hateful Eight and O.B.

JACKSON: Gabby Hayes.

TARANTINO: But the way the story works, part of the actual tension that we’re talking about, the pressure cooker that we’re talking about, and because you know where I’m coming from, in that vaguely Peckinpah-esque way to some degree or another, is anything can happen to these guys. Anything can happen to these characters. Any piece of outrageous violence could happen to them. I paint in a system where there aren’t color book lines. I can cross those lines in the way that graphic novels – I don’t mean graphic novels as in a comic book – but the way that novels that deal with violence almost seem to go anywhere in a way that movies aren’t allowed to go. So, in that scenario, what? I’m going to make it that, oh, seven of these characters, anything can happen to them, but when it comes to this eighth character, I have to protect her because she’s a woman and they can’t have the destiny that can happen to any of these other characters? No. That goes against the entire story. I’m not going to think like that. When I think of basically an artistic hero, in that predecessor, when it comes to that, I think of somebody like Ken Russell, who was raked over the coals by the press in England constantly for the boundaries he pushed. He said, especially in response to something like “The Devils,” “Do you let these people get you down?” He said, “I don’t think about them. I can’t think about them. It’s my job not to think about them, because I believe in what I’m doing 100 percent. And I am doing what I’m doing. If you don’t like it, don’t go see it.”

“The Hateful Eight” opens in select theaters on December 31st.




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