Unlike the filmmakers he idolizes, Quentin Tarantino doesn’t work fast. But he does like to talk a good game, constantly throwing out vague promises of movies he’d love to make: Over the years he’s crowed about cranking out a James Bond film, a children’s film, a Howard Hawks-style screwball comedy, among many others. His inner monologue is so broken that any idea that seems remotely ready to hit the official pre-production phase gets tongues wagging and hearts singing.
And so it was with great excitement that “The Hateful Eight” — another Western with regular Christoph Waltz, plus fellow alum Tim Roth and present Oscar nominee Bruce Dern, who spent about 10 seconds in “Django Unchained” — seemed to be on the road to actually happening.
But no more. Apparently Tarantino sent the script to six people, and now it’s surfaced somewhere online. And with that, the filmmaker, as he told Deadline Hollywood, has canceled the project.
A couple things, though: One, it was only, as Tarantino admits, a first draft. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t almost entirely realized, but it does mean he would have been cracking away at it at least a bit more, particularly because of the second item: He wouldn’t have started shooting it till next winter. He even said he was working on a second script at the same time, albeit one whose details he hasn’t yet made public. (Although even the details about “The Hateful Eight” hadn’t been entirely correct: Waltz had not been contacted — not yet, anyway — but Michael Madsen had.)
Though Tarantino confesses he may change his mind and do it anyway — and, by the way, this story is not even 24 hours old at this point — for now the script will be published in book form, to perhaps be made later. (Tarantino’s scripts, incidentally, are great reads, in part because he tends to pepper them with lengthy asides. The scene in “Inglorious Basterds” where Landa kills apostate actress Bridget von Hammersmarck, for instance, features a note saying, “Strangling the very life out of somebody with your bare hands is the most violent act a human being can commit. Also, only humans strangle, opposable thumbs being a quite important part of the endeavor.”)
In the meantime, “The Hateful Eight” — whatever it was supposed to be — joins the long, long, very long list of threatened Tarantino projects that never saw fruition. That includes a surely-by-this-point dead Vega brothers movie, about the characters played by John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction” and Michael Madsen in “Reservoir Dogs.” There’s also a third “Kill Bill,” which may still happen in the distant future, which makes Uma Thurman’s The Bride the villain, pursued by the daughter of Vivica A. Fox’s Vernita Green. And then there’s “Killer Crow,” another war movie that may spin off Brad Pitt’s character from “Basterds.” And a John Brown movie. And a 1930s gangster movie. And a take on spy novelist Len Deighton’s “Berlin Game” trilogy. And more you can read about in this exhaustive roundup.
Meanwhile, most people still haven’t seen his uncompleted almost-debut, “My Best Friend’s Birthday,” which he shot in the late 1980s while he was a struggling actor. (Although bootlegs — much like “The Hateful Eight” script! — exist.)
Then again, Harvey Weinstein did say he was out of the hyper-violent movie business.