When Gawker leaked Quentin Tarantino’s script for The Hateful Eight in January, Tarantino immediately shelved the project and filed a copyright lawsuit against the media company. In spite of all this, Tarantino seems to have changed his mind about the film after he held a staged reading of the script yesterday at the Ace Hotel’s Theatre in downtown Los Angeles with a group of potential cast members.
Set a few years after the Civil War, The Hateful Eight concerns a slew of western archetypal characters including two bounty hunters (Samuel Jackson and Kurt Russel), an ex-Confederate general and soldier (Bruce Dern and James Parks, respectively), an Englishman (Tim Roth), a Frenchman (Denis Ménoche), an imprisoned young woman (Amber Tamblyn), a stagecoach driver (James Parks), and a lone cowboy (Michael Madsen) who are forced to shelter themselves during a blizzard. Most of the story takes place within one locale, but as The Hollywood Reporter puts it, “What follows is a combination of Western and Agatha Christie-style whodunit, as various men and women engage in conversation and shootings…” It also reported that the reading is only the first draft, and that the ending (spoiler: everyone dies) may not make it past the rewrite.
All of the main cast members are Tarantino veterans, but Tim Roth is particularly notable since he’s been absent from the Tarantino canon since his role as Ted in “The Man From Hollywood,” the director’s short film segment in Four Rooms. It will be a welcome return if he is ultimately cast in the film.
The lawsuit against Gawker is still scheduled for January next year, and while the controversy concerning the leak will likely hover over the film’s production, the standing ovation after the reading at least shows audiences are ready for the maverick director’s next adventure.