Jennifer Jason Leigh on The Hateful Eight – 'I've never seen so many grown men cry at the wrap, y'know?'
- James Mottram
- 5 January 2016
Leigh, Tim Roth and Walton Goggins on working with Quentin Tarantino on his eighth feature
While the standard procedure for any actor in an interview is to proclaim just how 'amazing' it was working with their director, when it comes to Quentin Tarantino, you can well believe it. 'If you like Tarantino movies, you'll love this one,' smiles Tim Roth, who stars in the director's latest – grisly western The Hateful Eight – alongside a splendid cast including Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Madsen.
A chamber drama, seasoned with lashings of swearing and bloodshed, it sees a group of antagonistic characters holed up in a cabin in snowy Wyoming in the midst of a fierce blizzard. Immediately recalling Tarantino's bloody 1992 debut Reservoir Dogs, which starred Madsen and Roth and similarly played out its tale of criminal betrayal in a confined space, it's an exhilarating watch – everything we've come to expect from a Tarantino movie.
Set a few years after the Civil War, Russell's bounty hunter John Ruth is shepherding the dangerous fugitive Daisy Domaghue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the nearby town of Red Rock to be hanged. Leigh, nominated for a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, is another who can't stop waxing lyrical. 'It was really exceptional. I've never seen so many grown men cry at the wrap, y'know? Nobody wanted it to end.'
Shot in Ultra Panavision 70mm, a grandeur-inducing film format last used on the 1966 film Khartoum, Tarantino has gone all-out to produce an old-fashioned Western experience. The movie begins with an Overture, showcasing the film's score by the legendary Ennio Morricone, and even has an intermission. Meanwhile, the on-camera detail is extraordinary; you can even see the characters' ice-cold breath inside the cabin – caused by five air conditioning units blasting cold air onto the sound stage.
As he so often does, Tarantino screened films to the cast during the shoot. The 1971 film Man In The Wilderness, with Richard Harris – a 1800s survival tale, which basically tells the same story as the upcoming The Revenant – was key. But there were others – not least the Kurt Russell-starring sci-fi The Thing, which similarly plays with claustrophobia and suspicion. 'I think The Thing was a big influence [on Quentin],' explains actor Walton Goggins. 'Ennio Morricone gave him a horror score.'
Now on his second Tarantino outing, after 2012's Oscar-winning slavery drama Django Unchained, Goggins plays Chris Mannix, the new Sheriff of nearby Red Rock. 'When you meet Chris Mannix, he is an agitator,' he explains. 'He is a rabble rouser, a troublemaker. And very quickly you learn that you could blow him over with a piece of paper. He is a guy in arrested state of development. He's never had an original idea in his life.'