Channing Tatum in discussions for key role in Tarantino’s ‘Hateful 8’ western

While I understand exactly why his first impulse was to walk away from “The Hateful Eight” when the script initially leaked in January, I am glad that Quentin Tarantino reconsidered.

I was there on April 19th when Tarantino staged the script as a live read, using the draft that leaked, and I thought it was a fascinating evening. That draft essentially ended like “Reservoir Dogs,” and it seemed anti-climactic after the careful way the rest of the script builds. Then again, this was always meant to be a first draft, and I've got to assume that the ending was always going to be the thing that Tarantino focused on getting right. In general, I think he's demonstrated a knack for knowing exactly how a film should end.

We've heard that Tarantino is forcing anyone interested in investing in the film during AFM to drive to the Beverly Hills offices of the Weinstein Company to read the script in carefully controlled circumstances. I don't blame him at all. Right now, that first version of the script is still readily available online to anyone who is determined to find it, and Tarantino doesn't want the changes he's made to end up the same way.

As the cast for the film comes together, it's getting exciting. I thought Amber Tamblyn did a great job at the live read, but the idea of Jennifer Jason Leigh playing the role of Daisy in the film is awesome. Daisy is the prisoner being transported by the sheriff played by Kurt Russell, and several of the other roles in the film are being filled by the people who did the read onstage. Bruce Dern and Samuel L. Jackson had a moment during the live read that was good as anything I've seen in a film this year, and I bet the two of them will rip it up when they actually shoot it for the film.

Right now, there's no word on which role Channing Tatum is circling, but it's a huge win for him if he ends up in the movie. It is amazing how completely Tatum has turned his career around in the last few years, and this is just further proof that he's become a go-to guy for serious major filmmakers. The film is going to start shooting in January, and I'm very excited to see what Tarantino does visually, since he's going to be shooting in 65mm for the first time. Westerns in particular seem like a great use of large-frame format so you can capture the majesty of those landscapes.

If they're shooting that soon, they should finish the last bit of casting soon, and I'm sure we'll get an update as they start production. Here's hoping Tatum is part of it, because I think it's going to be a very special Tarantino film.

“The Hateful Eight” is due in theaters December 2015.