After Gawker’s leaked script threw a massive monkey wrench into Quentin Tarantino’s plans to direct The Hateful Eight, it’s still unclear what the director’s next project will be. The Hateful Eight lawsuit was dropped, a star-studded live reading took place and insider rumors suggested that Tarantino was ready to again move forward with the film. However, at a Cannes press conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of his landmark Pulp Fiction, the director was mostly silent about The Hateful Eight. Instead, he let slip that he was actually mulling a return to one of his previous films: slavery western Django Unchained.
Apparently, Tarantino wants to revisit Django Unchained as a four-hour TV miniseries. The original film ran 165 minutes, which many critics found to be excessive, but the director had to cut out about 90 minutes of footage to even make that runtime.
“I have about 90 minutes worth of material with Django. It hasn’t been seen. My idea, frankly, is to cut together a four-hour version of Django Unchained,” said Tarantino. “But I wouldn’t show it like a four hour movie. I would cut it up into hour chapters. Like a four-part mini-series. And show it on cable television. Show it like an hour at a time, each chapter. We’d use all the material I have and it wouldn’t be an endurance test. It would be a mini-series. And people love those.”
On his motivations to specifically make a miniseries, Tarantino added:
“People roll their eyes at a four-hour movie. But a four-hour mini-series that they like, then they are dying to watch all four parts. That’s how I thought it could work.”
While I’m very interested in that added footage, there are a lot of questions that would need to be a answered before this miniseries could happen. For one, a premium cable network like HBO or an online streaming site like Netflix would need to bite, given the bloody violence, excessive profanity and full-frontal nudity present in Django Unchained. If that happens, Tarantino would also have to find good places to separate episodes. Django Unchained was great, but I’m not sure it would lend itself well to that treatment, given how merrily and quickly it rolls along.
Whether increasing the runtime of Django Unchained is a good idea in of itself remains to be seen. Though Tarantino is a brilliant director, we’ve seen many films with huge potential get derailed by simply being too long. Ang Lee’s Hulk and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (and Jackson’s King Kong, for that matter) come to mind. Would increasing Django Unchained‘s length improve the film or take away from its impact?
Tarantino has pulled similar projects together before – anyone else remember Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair? That extended version did get some screenings a while back, though it hasn’t popped up on home media yet. However, the director has enough on his mind that it may be a while until this miniseries gains any traction. He also said at the conference:
“I love London and I really want to film there. I could do a comedy there. I’m really obsessed with 1970’s London.”
And The Hateful Eight isn’t dead yet, apparently. Tarantino noted:
“I’ve calmed down. The knife-in-the-back wound is starting to scab.”
If we were taking bets on this, I’d wager that The Hateful Eight will be his next project. However, a Django Unchained miniseries is certainly an interesting thought.