The marketing machine behind Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is kicking into high gear in the months before it makes its premiere in theaters. Arriving hot on the heels of the western's first full-length trailer release, The Weinstein Company has unveiled a series of character posters showcasing the film's cast in all of their spaghetti western inspired glory.
Hateful Eight - appropriately, Tarantino’s eighth film - follows a group of eight strangers stranded together during an intense Wyoming blizzard, a few years after the end of the American Civil War. The film stars many past Tarantino collaborators (Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins) along with a handful of well-respected characters actors who are new to working under Tarantino's direction (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Demian Bichir, Channing Tatum).
Hateful Eight characters posters have been steadily making their way online since the movie's trailer dropped. The latest one-sheet features Madsen as Joe “The Cow Puncher” Gage and premiered today exclusively on Collider. While little can be garnered of the character’s role in the overall story from this poster alone (see below), we do get an idea of the kind of character Madsen will be playing.
As noted on Collider, “Cow Puncher” is just another term for cowboy. Madsen certainly looks the part with his leather duster, his double-barreled shotgun, and his six-shooter at his side. The pose he strikes is one of cocky readiness - his shotgun held at the shoulder, he stares you down with a road-weary grimace that all at once dares you and warns you to go ahead and try something.
It’s also worth noting that a black hat adorns his grizzled hair. In the spaghetti western tradition, black hats are typically indicative of villains. Of course, this doesn’t really mean much in a Tarantino film. The director rarely has clearly defined “good guys” as his protagonists, choosing instead to encourage his audiences to cheer for gangsters, assassins, and thieves. There’s no way of knowing whether we’re be rooting for or against “The Cow Puncher” in The Hateful Eight, but at the very least, we can infer that he’s a badass.
Madsen’s character poster is the sixth to be released, with every character now accounted for, including Samuel L. Jackson’s Major Marquis Warren (whose own one-sheet was the most recent one unveiled). You can check out the rest of the released character posters below (courtesy of Indiewire, IGN, and the official Hateful Eight Twitter account):
Hateful Eight looks to be perhaps Tarantino's most intriguing film to date - no small effort for the director, who’s known for going all out with his work. Tarantino certainly has a knack for producing slick genre throwback films that both play to and subvert expectations, so this one may feature its own fair share of surprises. No doubt, for Tarantino fans, Christmas can’t get here soon enough
The Hateful Eight opens in U.S. theaters equipped with 70mm capabilities on December 25th, 2015. It goes into a wide theatrical release on January 8th, 2016.