Quentin Tarantino Wants to turn ‘The Hateful Eight’ Into a Stage Play
Quentin Tarantino makes movies with lots of action and violence, but those moments are always the dessert after the meat and potatoes of his dialogue, which spills out of the characters’ mouths in long conversations and monologues. Tarantino’s films are talky, but the talk is so rich you don’t care (or flat-out love it), something that’s certainly true of The Hateful Eight, which opens this Christmas.
A lot of The Hateful Eight is a lengthy and intense series of conversation between the titular group, all taking place inside a single location; an old Western store in the mountains of Wyoming. Although it’s filmed in Ultra Panavision 70, and features some absolutely beautiful nature cinematography, much of The Hateful Eight is intimate and small. It definitely feels like a movie — Tarantino’s too good of a stylist for it not to — but it’s easy to imagine the film adapted to the stage, a thought I had when I saw the movie earlier this week, in fact. In its 70mm roadshow version, it’s already got an overture and an intermission.
Apparently, Quentin Tarantino’s had that thought as well, as he told The Hollywood Reporter that his next project could be a stage play of The Hateful Eight. Here’s what he said as part of the magazine’s annual directors’ roundtable:
I’ve got to see how I feel when Hateful Eight is over, if I still have the same juice for it, but the next thing I’d like to do is a theatrical adaptation of Hateful Eight, because I like the idea of other actors having a chance to play my characters. So that’s where I’m at. I’m working my way into that time period, where I write novels and film pieces and film books, but in particular direct theater.
There’s a few things about The Hateful Eight that might make it tough to convert to a play. As you might expect, given Tarantino’s involvement, the conversations eventually give way to extreme acts of violence, some of which could be very tricky to pull off precisely on stage. And the actors in the film are so good that once you’ve spent three hours with them, you will have a hard time imagining anyone other than, say, Jennifer Jason Leigh in the role of Daisy Domergue. But otherwise, it seems like an ideal fit.
Tarantino, who concedes he’s never written a play before, acknowledged that this idea was partly inspired by The Hateful Eight’s rocky road to the screen. After the original screenplay was leaked online, Tarantino staged a reading of the material in Los Angeles. Although that didn’t involve sets or blocking, Tarantino told THR the event “went a long way” as a proof of concept for a Hateful Eight play. “If I had those actors and we did it in a little theater on Santa Monica Boulevard, 99 seats, it would kill,” Tarantino added. If that production came to New York, you can bet your Red Apple cigarettes I’d be lining up for a ticket. The Hateful Eight opens in (movie) theaters on Christmas.