Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is known for having a dark sense of humor as a storyteller (among other things), and his latest project, The Hateful Eight, won’t be an exception to that rule. One look at the film’s assortment of characters – be it Kurt Russell and his impressive facial hair or Michael Madsen playing a fellow nicknamed “The Cow Puncher” – and it become obvious: the inhabitants and world of this Tarantino movie will no doubt be as colorful as the dialogue in his original screenplay.
Hateful Eight takes place a few years after end of the American Civil War, as eight strangers (?) all wind up stuck in the same Wyoming mountainside establishment, Minnie’s Haberdashery, while they wait for a blizzard to pass by. Madsen has noted that the movie feels like a direct homage to Tarantino’s first directorial effort, Reservoir Dogs (which he also costarred in), in terms of its setup. However, it sounds like Hateful Eight will have a (darkly) comical bent more in line with the filmmaker’s recent work that his breakout film.
Tarantino indicated as much, when he was asked by EW about what to expect from Hateful Eight, in terms of humor:
“I can definitely say that as bleak as our movie is, we are definitely the funniest snow Western ever made. This is funnier than The Great Silence, it’s funnier than Day of the Outlaw… Oh, yeah, funnier than McCabe & Mrs. Miller.”
Django Unchained, Tarantino’s most recent film release (as well as previous foray into the western genre), also contains more than a few instances of bleak humor, so it makes sense for Hateful Eight to be of a similar vein. Cinephiles are well aware that Tarantino’s movies frequently play out as mix tapes of elements (be they visual or otherwise) from retro genre films, but his knack for finding comedy in even the most sadistic of situations is one of the key elements that distinguishes Tarantino’s work from his predecessors’.
On that note, check out the newest Hateful Eight image, featuring John Ruth a.k.a. “The Hangman” (Russell) and Major Marquis Warren a.k.a. “The Bounty Hunter” (Samuel L. Jackson):
Tarantino has spoken before about how old-school TV shows like The Virginian and Bonanza influenced his Hateful Eight script and its And Then There Were None-esque premise. He reiterated that sentiment during his talk with EW:
“You wait the whole episode [of ‘The Virginian’ or ‘Bonanza’] to find out, ‘Are they a good guy or are they a bad guy?’. So I thought, ‘What if I did a story that was made up of nothing but those characters?’ So there’s no good guys [in ‘Hateful Eight’]. There’s no Little Joe.”
Rounding out the Hateful Eight cast are such familiar Tarantino collaborators as Tim Roth, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, and Zoë Bell. New addition to the Tarantino-verse include Jennifer Jason Leigh (Margot at the Wedding, The Spectacular Now), Demián Bichir (The Bridge, The Heat), and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike XXL).
The Hateful Eight opens in 70 mm theaters on December 25th, 2015. It begins a regular theatrical release in the U.S. on January 8th, 2016.