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Quentin Tarantino Was Going to Shoot ‘Hateful Eight’ in 70mm

Django Unchained Quentin Tarantino
The Weinstein Company

If you were bummed before about Quentin Tarantino canceling plans to direct his script ‘The Hateful Eight‘ after a script leak, the latest news may make you even more depressed. Tarantino was planning to shoot the entire western in 70mm, just the fourth film in over 20 years that would’ve shot in the large-format picture stock.

As we’ve all no doubt heard by now, Tarantino sent the script to three actors – Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern – and was dismayed when the script leaked. We caught a glimpse at the leaked script and the first thing we noticed – pretty easy since it’s on Page 1 in ALL CAPS – was Tarantino’s intention to film ‘The Hateful Eight in 70mm. “Glorious” 70mm as he puts it.

Here are some excerpts from the introduction to the script that specifically mention the format:

A breathtaking 70MM filmed (as is the whole movie) snow-covered mountain range. … Then in the bottom left of this big 70MM SUPER CINEMASCOPE FRAME, we see a STAGECOACH being pulled by a team of SIX HORSES rip snorting through the bottom of the landscape.

Now, still in big super CINEMASCOPE 70MM filmed gloriousness…

70MM CU of The STAGECOACH DRIVER O.B. (pronounced Obie) as he whips the horses forward, keeps the wheels on the road and avoids the rocks.

Tarantino sounds legitimately excited about it, which makes the project’s demise all the more disappointing. So, why would 70mm have been so awesome?

70mm is like the IMAX before there IMAX and is double the size of traditional 35mm film stock. While some early 1900s films shot in 70mm, it didn’t hit its stride until ‘Oklahoma!’ in 1955 and later with movies like ‘Ben-Hur,’ ‘Cleopatra’ and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Patton’. CinemaScope refers to a lens series used in the 50s and 60s that allowed directors to shoot in a widescreen 2.66:1. There were some recent movies (‘Down With Love’ among them) that claimed to be in CinemaScope, but were actually shot with rival lenses from Panavision. It’s unclear if Tarantino was actually going to use old CinemaScope lenses, but if we did, whoo-boy. That would’ve been something.

The last three movies shot in traditional 70mm were the nature documentary ‘Samsara’, Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Hamlet’ and Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master,’ the latter of which may have inspired Tarantino’s vision. Anderson’s last film helped lead a few theaters nationwide to convert to 70mm, which would’ve allowed the ‘Hateful Eight’ to be viewed in its desired format.

Tarantino has said that he may return to ‘The Hateful Eight’ down the line if his interest returns, but let’s at least hope that whatever he decides to do next, includes the 70mm format, because that would look absolutely beautiful.

Next: Quentin Tarantino's Top 10 Movies of 2013

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