C'mon Hollywood: Make The Hateful Eight anyway, Tarantino!
There’s really nothing quite like a Quentin Tarantino script, is there? Sure, there are great scripts out there, probably better than any of his, but there’s something distinct, flavorful, and exciting about his writing that creates a stir of exhilaration unlike any other screenwriter working today. Now, I know some people have soured on Tarantino throughout the years, be it for his attitude, personality, or the belief that his work has declined since making a splash with RESERVOIR DOGS in 1992. But, I tend to see that most people continue to stand by the filmmaker and champion his work, always anxious for his next film.
Unfortunately, the “next film” in the director’s queue has been sidetracked in a big way as the completion of his most recent script, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, was leaked to the Internet masses, causing the filmmaker to do something rather harsh; shelve the project altogether. Now, you can read the details of the leak and dig into the finger pointing, accusations, and now lawsuits over the whole mess, but the biggest problem with the whole situation is that it’s keeping great work from being completed. I tend to leave those kind of stoppages in progress to U.S. lawmakers, so when a filmmaker that has nearly every asset at his disposal to make any film he wants, it’s a bit hard to swallow.
I understand principle. I get it. I can see why Tarantino would be pissed that his script leaked all over the place like a blood squib from DJANGO UNCHAINED, especially when it was placed in the hands of “trusted” individuals, but ultimately it’s the mechanism of a system that hungers for his work so much that even that kind of scrutiny isn’t heeded. It’s a problem the vast majority of struggling screenwriters would KILL for (myself included). To have people desire your work so much is really the pinnacle of success for any writer. Granted, we don’t all want our work stolen, but in this case we all know its Tarantino. There’s no question of who wrote the piece and no one is trying to pass it off as their own. In fact, we want the opposite of stealing it; we want Tarantino to make it…like yesterday.
As a man who grew up as a true film geek, working in a video store and immersing himself in films, while writing his own, Tarantino is a success story that many of us dream about becoming. We can relate to him, because he is the everyman; a guy with a dream and a talent. He’s the movie geek Cinderella. And we love him not only for his work, but for where he comes from. He’s one of us. Like Kevin Smith, who charged CLERKS to a credit card and rolled the dice on his passion, Tarantino made a name for himself by being uncompromising in his vision and unwavering in his resolve to make the kinds of films he wants to see. It was admirable. It was bold. And it paid off.
So, why in the name of all that he’s done before would he waste time with a lawsuit and shelve a project that reeks of all the great work he’s done before, while adding a whole new layer to the familiar model of his storytelling style? Certainly, anyone can understand Tarantino being pissed initially, but it feels like something that could be easily dismissed once the blood pressure returns to normal and the folks who helped facilitate the leak were properly chastised. Tarantino likely wants fair treatment in terms of keeping his work secure (maybe he should hire Marvel for that?), but like Miley Cyrus trying to go to the grocery store, his fame has won him a level acclaim that will bring out the crowd in droves when he completes a new work. The only difference is we want to read what he wrote rather than see him twerk on a stage. While the argument that having the script out there would diminish box office returns, I call immediate bullshit (I may or may not have read THE HATEFUL EIGHT and may or may not think it’s awesome).
For one thing, the people that are clamoring to read his latest script aren’t your average moviegoers. They’re film geeks and industry folk who really know what it means to read a Tarantino script. It’s an event, but not an event that your general movie-going audience wants to attend. They simply want to see the movie, not thumb through a 146-page script. And those who do read the script know that it’s only half the story as Tarantino puts an outrageous level of detail and care into the actual film that will stand well on its own when compared to the written page. His writing and filmmaking styles are both distinct in their own right and can exist on two different levels easily.
I doubt that Tarantino’s anger over the leak is financial, but really I can’t speak to that, as I don’t know what his bank account entails. I think this is an issue of Tarantino being genuinely pissed, which is understandable, but it’s become a kind of stubborn stand off now, with everyone waiting for him to calm down and get on with it. He’s not just holding a grudge against the “wrongdoers” anymore, he’s holding it against his fans, who both respect and admire his work, looking forward to it almost like a national holiday. Tarantino has left his fans with cinematic blue balls, all because they love his work so much that they couldn’t wait to read it the first chance they got. Is that REALLY worth holding out on making THE HATEFUL EIGHT? Seems the opposite to me.
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|Extra Tidbit:||What do you think? Should Tarantino just let the anger go and make the film or is he right to shelve the project and spend his time pursuing legal action?|