We’re still about three months away from the release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the ninth film from Quentin Tarantino. But the auteur is back in the news for another reason: the eighth film from Quentin Tarantino. Yes, The Hateful Eight, his controversial, bloody, almost comically unpleasant Western from 2015, has been re-worked, by Tarantino and his editor, into a four-part Netflix…thing — sort of a TV miniseries, but still a film.
The filmmaker spoke to /Film about the new version, partly to defend it from some criticism. Talk inevitably drifted to the auteur’s many other threatened projects, including whether or not he’d make the next Star Trek.
If you recall, back in 2017, Tarantino spoke of his desire to join the franchise train, long as he can do a Star Trek. About a year ago, Zachary Quinto — our current movie Spock — seemed doubtful it would ever happen. But now QT is here to reignite interest in a potentially gabby, possibly R-rated Trek.
“It’s a very big possibility,” Tarantino said when asked of the project’s chances. “I haven’t been dealing with those guys for a while cause I’ve been making my movie. But we’ve talked about a story and a script. The script has been written and when I emerge my head like Punxsutawney Phil, post-Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, we’ll pick up talking about it again.”
Note: Tarantino is famous for talking up planned projects, some of which don’t happen. (For instance, the world has yet to receive that Vega brothers movie that would team Vincent and Vic, respectively John Travolta’s character from Pulp Fiction with Michael Madsen’s from Reservoir Dogs.) Then again, he managed to make The Hateful Eight, even after its script was leaked online. And there’s allegedly already a script! Perhaps we will one day get Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek, which would almost certainly be brainier and closer to the original show than the action-heavy Chris Pine-era movies.
Then again, Tarantino is a bit busy. Seems his current yen is for re-cutting his past movies (on top of completing Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which he says is in the “mix stage”). Along with the latest Hateful Eight, he mentioned a “director’s cut” of 2012’s Django Unchained, his blaxploitation Western from 2012, which he says would run about three hours and 15 or 20 minutes — about a half hour longer than the theatrical. But you won’t see that one chopped up on Netflix anytime soon.
“That’s one I wouldn’t do as a miniseries, because it would just be better [as a movie],” Tarantino said. “I thought about that idea, but that would just work better as one movie. Just a longer one as far as I was concerned. So I’ve actually done that. We’re just kind of waiting some time after Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, and we’ll release that eventually.”
As for the Netflix version of The Hateful Eight, Tarantino voiced annoyance with sites that have claimed there’s no new, or precious little, footage that wasn’t in the epic 70mm roadshow version, despite running in four 50-minute segments. He claims there’s 25 new minutes, “if not more,” and points to how the flashback that shows Minnie’s Haberdashery before Kurt Russell and company arrive is in a different place than it was originally. He also agrees with journalist Chris Evangelista that its depiction of aggression between certain groups seems, in retrospect, eerily prescient of the Trump era (though tensions were already flaring even in Winter 2015.)
“I have to say…I didn’t really think about it [at the time] … Like I knew I had made an ugly little movie. And if you make an ugly little movie people might not respond so great, okay, that goes with wanting to make something, uh, this rancid. But I love it…but I can understand it’s not really a dish for everybody but the truth of the matter is, I didn’t think about any of that. I just thought it was just the nature of the beast.”
The new cut of The Hateful Eight now streams on Netflix, while Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens on July 26.