Jennifer Jason Leigh is not having it. When the subject of some criticism toward the violence suffered by Leigh’s character in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is broached, she is not on defense. She is on offense. In Leigh’s opinion, if you think that, you are a sexist and you are, as she puts it, “off.” Again, she is not having it.
In The Hateful Eight, Leigh plays Daisy Domergue, a woman being held prisoner by John Ruth (Kurt Russell) – a bounty hunter notable for always bringing in his captives alive. In transit, trapped by a blizzard, Ruth and Domergue meet a host of nefarious characters with unknown motivations. Are they who they say they are? Do they want to take Daisy for their own and cash in on $10,000? Are they there to help Daisy?
But, yes, this is a Quentin Tarantino movie and there’s a whole host of violence and bloodshed toward everyone, including Daisy Domergue. Tarantino has written some of the best roles for women in the past 20 years with Jackie Brown and Kill Bill, but there are still some rumblings about how Daisy is treated in The Hateful Eight. So, again, as we spoke to Jennifer Jason Leigh about her role in the three-hour-long Western epic… she is not having it.
You’ve already won an acting award from the National Board of Review and The Hateful Eight hasn’t even come out yet.
[Laughs.] Sweet stuff. Yeah, that was really nice. I guess they saw it? But, yeah, it feels really nice.
This is your first Tarantino movie. Had you known him awhile?
Yeah, I’ve known him through the years. I’ve wanted to work with him forever. I remember one year I had two movies at Cannes and Pulp Fiction was at Cannes. And someone said to me, “Well, you’re in every American movie at the festival.” I was like, “Well, I’m not in Tarantino’s.” But, even then, I was really wanting to work with him. I just loved his writing. I loved Reservoir Dogs so, so much. He’s one of our great, great filmmakers.
He has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything.
You’ve worked with some of the best directors in the world. What makes him different?
Well, his brain. Let’s just start there. Come on. He can tell you every episode of The Virginian. He can tell you who guest-starred in it. He can tell you what commercials played during that episode. I’ve never met anyone like him in my life. He knew every movie I’d ever made.