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Life mirrors art, right?
Just a few short days ago, pre-production on Quentin Tarantino's upcoming western flick The Hateful Eight was running like clockwork. The director was courting Oscar nominee Bruce Dern for the lead, and setting the foundation for what was supposed to be his next film. But just like that, the picture's dead, friendships are broken, and words like "betrayal" and "revenge" are hanging in the air like a low fog.
In one of those instances of behind the scenes drama that threatens to be more interesting than the actual film could possibly be, The Hateful Eight is being shelved indefinitely because the script was leaked across Hollywood, and Tarantino is not a happy camper. Tarantino contacted Deadline to release his anger; and reading through Tarantino's accusations and the mobster-like language that dots his writing, it sounds like the director is in the middle of writing one of his own screenplays. This whole situation feels like some sort of meta-filmmaking revenge tragedy that has all the same themes and trappings of Tarantino's best work. So which of Tarantino's previous films best resemble the director's current predicament?
According to Tarantino, he gave out copies of his script to members of his trusted inner circle, but one of the copies landed in the hands of an agent who then proceeded to leak Tarantino's latest work all over Tinseltown and the director is furious. But it's not the fact that every corner of the film world is getting a glimpse at the script that has the filmmaker fuming, it's the fact that one of his trusted compatriots betrayed him. Just like The Bride in Kill Bill, Tarantino was hurt by those he trusted most, and now he wants scalps.
Film: Kill Bill Vol. 1
The line-up of suspects includes some of Tarantino's most trusted actors, including the two stars of Tarantino's breakout hit Resevoir Dogs. The director told Deadline, "I gave it to one of the producers on Django Unchained, Reggie Hudlin, and he let an agent come to his house and read it. That’s a betrayal, but not crippling because the agent didn’t end up with the script. There is an ugly maliciousness to the rest of it. I gave it to three actors: Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth. The one I know didn’t do this is Tim Roth. One of the others let their agent read it, and that agent has now passed it on to everyone in Hollywood." So Tarantino has himself narrowed the field down to two suspects: Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern, though personally, we wouldn't count out Tim Roth so easily since the last time we trusted Roth in a Tarantino film, it turned out to be a huge mistake. The fact that Michael Madsen and Tim Roth are both suspected of being the script leaker gives the mystery more than a passing resemblance to the plot of Resevoir Dogs. Hopefully everyone still has their ears when this is all said and done.
Film: Reservoir Dogs
The smoking gun is still out there. Smoldering in some Hollywood basement is the leaked script in question, and one of these actors is holding the evidence hostage. Now there are loads loads of hostage situations littered throughout Tarantino's filmography. There's the famous diner scene at the tail end of Pulp Fiction that made Samuel L. Jackson a household name, and then there's Reservoir Dogs, which unfolds like full feature length hostage situation, as the group of thieves try to suss out who the fed is among them. Tarantino's hosage situations don't always end on a bloodness note, so lets hope he gets the script quickly before heads start to roll.
Films: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs
Quentin Tarantino has already inacted the greatest revenge of all by canceling The Hateful Eight altogether. With this crafty gambit, not only did the suspected leaker lose out on a future project, and the opportunity to work with Tarantino, but the filmmaker proves that he's so much bigger than that one film. Tarantino states that "he has 10 where that came from" and can just as easily move on tot another project without too much heartache. Living well is the best revenge indeed. As the Bride would agree, revenge is a dish best served cold.
Film: Kill Bill Vol. 2
Fans of Tatantino that are worried that they'll never get to see a more traditional take on the western with the Hateful Eight shouldn't fret too much. Tarantino says that there might still make the film once things cool down: “I could totally change my mind; I own the f**king thing. But I can tell you, it’s not going to be the next thing I do. It’s my baby, and if the muse calls me later to do it, we’ll do it. I was thinking about the idea of maybe publishing it before I made it, but now that deal happens for sure, and I’m not doing it next.” Just like Django, who trained and fought to save his wife from the clutches of the treacherous Calvin Candie, The director might be convinced to save the project in the future before riding off into the sunset.
Film: Django Unchained