Ahead, a reflective Russell not only discusses The Hateful Eight, but he also compares it to Tombstone, another famous Western he starred in (and, at the time, secretly directed). Actually, over the course of this interview, 17 of Russell’s films are discussed. (As it turns out, Russell is still a big fan of Sky High.)
Kurt Russell has appeared in more than 50 movies spanning the last 50 years. Many, many were very popular movies. It seems like even more have became cult favorites, which Russell is very aware of. He also, rightfully, feels he plays a role in their lasting popularity. (Honestly, there’s really not an easy way to write an introduction for Kurt Russell because this is Kurt Russell. Where do you even begin?)
Russell is now starring in The Hateful Eight, his second collaboration with Quentin Tarantino after 2007’s Death Proof. In The Hateful Eight, Russell plays an ornery cuss named John Ruth – a bounty hunter who is known for always bringing his prisoners in alive, even when that’s not a prerequisite. His latest bounty (Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy Domergue) will net him $10,000, but now he’s trapped in a Wyoming blizzard with numerous other folks who may or may not be after his reward.
I’m glad you’re in The Hateful Eight. I was disappointed when Django Unchained didn’t work out.
Oh, yeah, Django was kind of an unfortunate series of events, timing wise. I was headed for Greece and they were falling way behind. By the time they got to me, Quentin was having to trim as much as he possibly could. And that was one of the first things that was very trimmable – and finally we just got to the point where we looked at each other and said, “Should we do this at another time?” And it was like, “Yeah.” So, when this came along, I was just going to do a script reading…
Which everyone loved.
Yeah, which was really fun to do. And then they decided to make the movie. Which was great, I was very happy to play John Ruth. I loved the character and loved what it could be. And always getting to work with Quentin is very, very special.
Is that a weird process? Reading a script in front of an audience, then making it into a movie?
Yeah, I’ve never done that before, where you read it in front of people. It wasn’t to be judged, but I remember the next day, there was a review of it!
It might have been the next hour.
Yeah, probably. I was like, “Whoa, what is that?” I don’t know, I never thought much about it. I was just doing it because Quentin wanted to do it. It was fun to do! The actors were fun. It was obviously in the ballpark enough for it to continue forward. What mattered was the ability to actually do it – it belongs in movie form. It would be kind of fun to do this as a play, I gotta say we’ve actually talked about that a little bit from time to time when we were working on it. I think it would be a hell of a play. And to see it with the original cast, I think would be, of course, a lot of fun.
I have a feeling you’d sell some tickets.
I think it would be fun to do! It would be fun to do it, to watch it. I think it would be fun to see what he’d do, script-wise, to change it. But, really, I don’t know of any Broadway play that I’ve ever heard of that was a movie then they took the original cast and made a play of it. That would be unique. That would be fun.
It’s as long as a play.
Yeah, it lends itself.