Is there a better Comic-Con closing act than Quentin Tarantino? He’s here today to launch a Django Unchained comic book sequel, but I’m sure the crowd will prod him for details on his next movie, and you never know what you’ll hear when you put a microphone in front of Tarantino and ask the right question, or any question, really.
Here’s what I’m hearing, that he’s locking in everyone from cast to producers for an early 2015 shoot on The Hateful Eight, the Western which has had perhaps the most unusual journey to the start gate for a Tarantino film. That goes back to last January when he revealed to Deadline that he would shelve the movie because he felt so betrayed it got leaked by a rep for one of the handful of actors he showed an un-watermarked first draft script to. At the time, I spent half our phone call trying to talk Tarantino into not shelving it. After watching Inglourious Basterds for the umpteenth time last night, I’m sure glad his creative instincts overtook his feelings of betrayal.
Look what he has been through since then. He sued Gawker for shadily broadcasting the availability on his first-draft script on a conveniently untraceable web address. Even though the case got dismissed, Tarantino earned points in the creative community for at least making someone think twice before cavalierly posting copyrighted intellectual property.
Once the cat was out of the bag, Tarantino staged a rock-star caliber live reading of his script and made money for a good cause, Film Independent. From what I’m told, many of those actors will be in the movie, but Tarantino has honed that script and made it different. The reading featured Samuel L Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, James Parks, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Madsen, Denis Menochet, James Remar and Walton Goggins plus Bruce Dern in a 3.5-hour performance, a five-chapter Western as they brought to life a post-Civil War Wyoming Western at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown L.A.
Tarantino has since operated under the Cone of Silence. His process is to show his first draft to his repertory company of actors, and incorporate their input, voices and sensibility into subsequent drafts. The Hateful Eight has taken its own unusual course, but who doesn’t want to see a Tarantino ensemble gritty spaghetti-style Western with stalwarts like Sam Jackson and newcomers like Bruce Dern? The only thing that could improve this as a project would be Tarantino writing a part for Clint Eastwood and getting him to play it.