Early on in The Hateful Eight‘s lifecycle, an untimely leak cast doubt over the chances that Quentin Tarantino’s bounty hunter Western would ever see the light of day, after the director threatened to scrap the project once its screenplay had surfaced online. Low and behold, Tarantino returned at the helm and we’re now within touching distance of the film’s release, but things could have been so different.
Doing the press rounds for The Weinstein’s feature, Tarantino revealed in an interview with David Poland that a novelized series had prompted him to pitch The Hateful Eight as a follow-up to fellow Western Django Unchained.
“After doing Django I knew I didn’t want to do any Django movie sequels or anything, but I liked the idea of there being several paperbacks that could be the further adventures of Django or maybe go back in time, a couple more Django/Schultz adventures. So I hadn’t written a novel before and I thought I would just try my hand at writing a Django paperback. At the time it was called Django in White Hell. Instead of [Samuel L. Jackson’s] Major Warren it was Django.”
Focusing on Jamie Foxx’s swashbuckling hero long after the events of Django Unchained, the sequel would have depicted Foxx’s hero in a role similar to that portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in the film, living in a so-called White Hell. Alas, Tarantino sided with the ant-heroes and, specifically, The Hateful Eight, and it was ultimately these “disreputable characters” that steered the director away from the notion of exploring the future of the Django character.
“Because I was introducing such rough characters in this piece, and there would be even more disreputable characters waiting for them [at the haberdashery], at a certain point I realized, ‘well you know what’s wrong with this piece? It’s Django. he’s needs to go. Because you shouldn’t have a moral center when it comes to these eight characters.’ ”
The Hateful Eight opens in 70mm-fitted theaters for a limited run on Christmas Day, before expanding to standard cinemas nationwide on January 8. Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, and Demian Bichir complete the cast.