One of the most unique voices working in Hollywood today, writer/director Quentin Tarantino has carved out an illustrious career for himself. Among his several accolades, he's won the Palme d'Or for Pulp Fiction, as well as two Academy Awards - one for writing that gangster tale and another for Django Unchained - and he's earned legions of cinephile fans and box office dollars. Simply put, when Tarantino's name is attached to a project, people listen.
Luckily for moviegoers, the auteur will be back some time next year with The Hateful Eight, a Western that (as evidenced by the title) features eight individuals who are kept up in an establishment during a blizzard, where tense interactions and bloody violence will no doubt occur. The film's official cast and synopsis was revealed last week by its stateside distributor, the Weinstein Company, but the director is still in need of an international studio to handle Hateful Eight overseas. He's searching for one at the American Film Market conference, where he also took the time to open up on some details.
During his talk (moderated by Mike Fleming, Jr. of Deadline), Tarantino touched on a number of topics, including his decision to shoot the movie in 70 mm film as opposed to the digital format that's all the rage today:
"If we do our jobs right by making this film a 70 mm event, we will remind people why this is something you can’t see on television and how this is an experience you can’t have when you watch movies in your apartment, your man cave or your iPhone or iPad. You’ll see 24 frames per second play out, all these wonderfully painted pictures create the illusion of movement."
The "digital vs. film" debate is one that is all the more prevalent today (see: Interstellar's various releases), with many theaters employing digital projectors and viewers experiencing the benefits of an HD-enhanced home entertainment system. While the 1080p resolution of media (and its extensive portability) are things we all appreciate, there's no denying that there's a certain quality to seeing a movie play out on film. 70 mm, especially, allows viewers to see scenes in greater detail and clarity (since it's more compatible with the large screens at the multiplex).
That said, most who see Hateful Eight will use its screenplay and narrative (and not its presentation technicalities) to determine whether they liked it or not. Tarantino's latest has a set-up that harkens back to his Reservoir Dogs days, in that a majority of the action will take place in a single setting. The filmmaker is known for drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that he looked beyond the legends Western cinema and focused on episodes of TV programs including Bonanza and High Chaparral when penning the script:
“Twice per season, those shows would have an episode where a bunch of outlaws would take the lead characters hostage... I don’t like that storyline in a modern context, but I love it in a Western, where you would pass halfway through the show to find out if they were good or bad guys, and they all had a past that was revealed."
From the sound of it, Hateful Eight will mainly revolve around dialogue and conversation between the eponymous characters, meaning that Tarantino will have plenty of time to explore the backstories of individuals such as "The Little Man" and "The Cow Puncher". He referred to his rag-tag group as a "bunch of nefarious guys," so everyone's true intentions will most likely be a mystery until the stakes are raised high. There will be no pure hero this time around.
Rightfully so, Hateful Eight has staked a place on the impressive list of anticipated 2015 projects, but for how much longer will Tarantino be entertaining audiences? In the past, he's mentioned how he plans to retire once he hits 10 productions; he reiterated this during his talk, saying that he doesn't want people "begging him to get off" the director's chair:
I’ve got two more to go after this. It’s not etched in stone, but that is the plan. If I get to the 10th, do a good job and don’t screw it up, well that sounds like a good way to end the old career.
As upsetting as this might be to Tarantino die-hards, it's easy to see where the filmmaker is coming from. He's been exceptionally lucky so far in that just about all of his works have garnered much acclaim, and he doesn't want to spoil that reputation. If he quits while he's ahead, we unfortunately will lose one of the greatest active helmsmen, but we'd be able to look back fondly on a memorable career that saw few (if any) misfires.
Hateful Eight will be in theaters by late 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.