Quentin Tarantino Gets Back in the Saddle With 'Hateful Eight' Western

Director assembles cast of "Tarantino Superstars," including Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell, for reading of once-abandoned script

Quentin Tarantino participates in a staged reading of 'The Hateful Eight' in Downtown Los Angeles on April 19, 2014.
Amanda Edwards/WireImage
April 21, 2014 11:35 AM ET

In January, Quentin Tarantino unleashed a tirade on the movie industry over someone from his inner circle leaking the script for his planned Western The Hateful Eight. Now he has decided to resume work on the script, though its fate still remains undetermined. On Saturday, he hosted a stage reading of the first draft of the script in Los Angeles at a Film Independent–sponsored event.

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The cast was filled with numerous actors who have worked with Tarantino in the past: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, James Parks, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Amber Tamblyn and Walton Goggins, among others. The director had previously moved the date of the reading so he could assemble the cast, which he dubbed the "Tarantino Superstars."

The actors spent three days rehearsing the script prior to the reading, blocking out configurations of chairs to resemble a stagecoach, a stable and a haberdashery. "We're OK, we're not bad," the director said of his rehearsed cast, according to Variety. Tarantino wore Western wear to the event and whispered stage directions into the actors' ears. One direction he gave Madsen was to say a line "with a look like he's coming in his pants."

The script takes place sometime after the Civil War and follows the goings-on surrounding a stagecoach that has been rerouted due to a blizzard in Wyoming. The weather traps the travelers, which Film Independent describes as a "pitiless and mistrustful group," containing bounty hunters, a renegade Confederate soldier and a female prisoner, in a remotely located saloon. The script features Tarantino's typically fractured narrative, beginning with the fourth of five chapters and running out of sequence. Variety reports that the script is typically violent, bloody and "laced with profanity and even vomit."

As written, Tarantino intends to shoot the film in 70mm, like a classic Western. In true Tarantino fashion, the description of the location for one of the scenes took up an entire page. The film, as presented, was a work in progress, and Tarantino said he intends to rewrite the final scene – titled "Black Night, White Hell" – that the actors staged. He is currently working on his third draft of the script.

Earlier this year, Tarantino said that he was "very, very depressed" over the leak, which he attributed to someone in his inner circle, but declined to reveal who he thought leaked the draft. "I finished a script, a first draft, and I didn't mean to shoot it until next winter, a year from now," the director said. "I gave it to six people, and apparently it's gotten out today."

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