Quentin Tarantino has traversed many genres in his career – from the neo-noir (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown), to kung-fu (Kill Bill), to stunt driver movie (Death Proof), to the war movie (Inglourious Basterds). But in 2012-2015 he made two movies that his unique Tarantino spin on the western. The first was Django Unchained, and the second was The Hateful Eight. The two are not related – with them having different settings and a different cast of characters. However, this was not always the case.
Django Unchained is set in 1858 in Texas, Tennessee, and Mississippi – the story follows former slave Django (Jamie Foxx) in his desperate quest to be reunited with his wife. The Hateful Eight is set in Wyoming in 1877 and is about a band of misfits who are holed up together in a cabin during a snow storm.
The Hateful Eight was initially conceived as a sequel to Django Unchained, but it would have been published as a novel – not made into a film. When he did decide to make it as a film instead, the script was leaked, leading Tarantino to almost abandon the project. In 2014, he did a live-read of the script, which persuaded him to pursue it as a film after-all. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Speaking to EW in 2015, Tarantino said; “It was this story [the story that became The Hateful Eight], basically. Actually, at the time it was called Django in White Hell.”
Tarantino wrote much of the novel while on a tour of film festivals, but realized one night its story had a fatal flaw. “I literally say to myself, ‘You know what’s wrong with this piece? Django.’ Django’s got to go. This piece shouldn’t have a moral centre. It shouldn’t have a hero.”
Django’s character was changed into Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) who becomes trapped in the snow with seven white people – which might explain the ‘Django in White Hell’ title.
If you’re a Tarantino fan, you might enjoy our guide to the best drama movies.