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To prepare for her role in Quentin Tarantino’s post-Civil War Western The Hateful Eight, Jennifer Jason Leigh did some research into the period, reading books about and journals from the era. But the actress told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of The Hateful Eight‘s New York premiere on Monday night that she mostly relied on the work Tarantino had already done.
“Really I just went into the script and came at it that way,” Leigh said on the red carpet at Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Theater, across the street from a group of anti-police brutality demonstrators who showed up to support Tarantino.
“One of the great things about working with Quentin is so much research on his behalf about you personally and about you as an actor has taken place, in my case, over 54 years,” said Russell. “He’s seen everything I’ve ever done. He’s seen talk shows I’ve done. That’s true for almost every castmate. All you talk about with him is what he wants it to be and the fun thing about who he hires is we understand what he’s written … we’re pretty close and all we generally need is guidance from time to time to capture exactly what he wants in terms of telling his story.”
“He’s quite the historian now,” Roth said of his Reservoir Dogs director, with whom he reteamed on Hateful Eight. “We just went for how the guy looks and why he’s doing what he’s doing. His personal backstory, his history and so forth. And it was an English history in my case, so that was fine. And we did a lot of that kind of work, and then we rehearsed very thoroughly.”
Even Craig Stark, who plays one of the bounty hunters and did “a lot of research with the period and bounty hunters after the war,” felt comfortable trusting in the script and environmental aspects of the production.
“In the dialogue … about my character, there’s a lot to choose from in that,” he said. “When you show up for a Western, everybody’s dressed for a Western, everybody has their beards and everything. You just walk into the period in a way.”
Tarantino was also involved in making sure the production looked and felt authentic.
“Quentin is a real student of history, so he researches everything, and then if something’s anachronistic and he wants it to be, it is,” producer Stacey Sher told THR. “Our production design team, our set decorators, they were fantastic.”
Fellow producer Richard Gladstein lauded the “incredible” amount of research done by production designer Yohei Taneda, who did the Japanese section of Kill Bill and had never been to the part of the U.S. where Hateful Eight takes place. But Tarantino’s a big part of creating the world of his films, said Gladstein.
“Quentin has an impeccable [attention] to detail, and then sometimes he creates his own products like Red Apple tobacco,” he explained. “It’s real, it’s authentic and then some things are a bit Quentin-ized.”
Hateful Eight marks Tarantino’s eighth film, two away from the 10 films he’s said he wants to make before retiring from filmmaking. Ahead of the New York bow of his latest, Tarantino’s cast members enthusiastically insisted they’d love to be part of his last movies.
“Are you kidding me? I would bring the coffee,” Demian Bichir told THR. “I just want to be a part of it in any which way I can.”
Roth added: “You get invited to the party, you go. It’s the best party there is.”
But as for what those movies should be or what Tarantino should do next, Russell and Zoe Bell just want the best for their friend.
“I hope he stays true to himself and gets two movies that make him proud and give him a good note to go out on, because the whole world will be devastated when [Tarantino retires from filmmaking], including myself,” said Bell. “Having said that … I can’t wait for him to embark on something new. I can’t wait to read one of his novels and see one of his plays. Yeah, I’ll be sad, but I’m just excited for the guy … I want what’s right for his heart and his soul. It sounds so lame, but it’s true.”
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