When The Hateful Eight began to reveal itself over the past several months, none of us, in all our prescience, could’ve predicted the tumultuous path the whole thing would take. There was a hint, a break, a leak that led to a cancellation, and, then, the announcement of a staged renditionQuentin Tarantino‘s first non-acting foray into the territory, and one which only a select few would have the privilege of seeing. LACMA and some of its lucky members were, indeed, able to experience the event last night, bearing witness to many of the director’s friends and longtime collaborators — introduced by a black-clad, cowboy-hat-wearing mastermind as “the Tarantino All-Stars” — bringing his myth-obsessed, violent, funny, ultimately downbeat screenplay to life in its unfinished form. [Variety]

Samuel L. Jackson, as previously reported, took up center stage to portray bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren, while Kurt Russell took on a similar type as John Ruth (or “The Hangman”), the latter of which had essentially been scripted as Eight‘s co-lead. Major supporting work came from Amber Tamblyn‘s Daisy Domergue, the woman who Ruth is looking to transport for hanging, in addition to James Parks (Edgar McGraw in Kill Bill and Death Proof) as O.B., a stagecoach driver, and Walton Goggins as Chris Mannix, a former Confederate with big prospects in his future. Filling out the mysterious quartet who these players encounter were Tim Roth as Oswaldo Mobray (a role so clearly written for the actor), Michael Madsen as John Gage (scripted as the story’s archetypal cowboy figure), Denis Minochet (Inglourious Basterds‘s Monsieur LaPadite) as Frenchman Bob, and Bruce Dern as the vile Confederate General Smithers. Take this much away, thou who did not have access: any prior controversy regarding an actor’s agency notwithstanding, Tarantino nabbed a long-rumored trio.

Zoë Bell‘s Six-Horse Judy — noted as a New Zealand bounty hunter in the script, ahem — was also seen, as were Django Unchained‘s Dana Gourrier and James Remar as the pivotal Minnie and Jody, respectfully. Further details on the particulars of his staging can be found hereinTarantino mocking protests over his use of racial invective; reading stage directions with braggadocio; interacting with actors in the middle of a scene — though, speaking of these things more broadly and without our own first-hand experience, it’s critical to stress that The Hateful Eight will have its day on the screen. Months out from its public collapse, the man himself says a second draft is in progress, a third is expected to fall together — expect a change to the incredibly abrupt conclusion; it seems that this section, “Black Night, White Hell,” is undergoing further adjustment — and cameras (hopefully still of the 70mm variety) will roll next winter — much as the original plans had called for, oddly enough. Sometimes a great thing — and I do believe we’re in store for a great thing; based on only the first draft, I think it could even be a career-pivoting thing — just takes a bit of patience.

Are you intrigued by the first details of Tarantino’s staging?

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