Quentin Tarantino cancels ‘Hateful Eight’ after script leak: ‘I’m very depressed’

Quentin Tarantino

I love Quentin Tarantino. He’s my favorite director ever, which is probably not a cool thing to admit for a genre fan. I’m supposed to answer “Scorsese” when asked, right? Nah. Marty seems like a cool guy, but I’m a Quentin girl. He’s a crazy-ass, frenetic genius with a mind like an encyclopedia. His movies are the only ones I always watch on opening day no matter what.

So I am pretty bummed to learn that Quentin has cancelled his upcoming movie, The Hateful Eight, because the script leaked yesterday. Granted, most of QT’s scripts leak onto the internet, but it usually happens after production has already begun. I believe that the leaked Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained scripts fueled the fanboy fires and drove up anticipation for the movies. Because even when you read QT’s words on paper, you have no idea how he’s going to translate them onto the screen. I think QT knows this. That’s one of the reasons the Basterds opening title card was written in his handwriting and exactly how it appeared in the leaked script.

I’m getting carried away here, but the gist of this story is that the Hateful Eight script leaked immediately after Quentin gave it to six people. He’s very upset, and he told Deadline that the project is cancelled. Is he justified in his angst, or should he suck it up and not let the leaker ruin this movie? Let’s see what Quentin has to say:

Exclusive: Learning today that his script The Hateful Eight leaked after he gave it to a small circle of actors, Quentin Tarantino tells me that he’s so upset that he has decided that he will not direct that film next. So basically that means the conversation that will be circulating around town following this story with Tarantino goes from an ensemble Western to a whodunit. As in, which actor or their reps leaked the script that, as a result, is going on the shelf — literally a bookstore shelf, because Tarantino tells me he will publish it first and maybe revisit the prospect of a movie in the next five years.

“I’m very, very depressed,” Tarantino said. “I finished a script, a first draft, and I didn’t mean to shoot it until next winter, a year from now. I gave it to six people, and apparently it’s gotten out today.” He learned that when his longtime agent Mike Simpson began getting phone calls from agents looking to pitch their clients for roles in the ensemble Western.

So who could have done this? “I gave it to one of the producers on Django Unchained, Reggie Hudlin, and he let an agent come to his house and read it,” Tarantino said. “That’s a betrayal, but not crippling because the agent didn’t end up with the script. There is an ugly maliciousness to the rest of it. I gave it to three actors: Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth. The one I know didn’t do this is Tim Roth. One of the others let their agent read it, and that agent has now passed it on to everyone in Hollywood. I don’t know how these f—ing agents work, but I’m not making this next. I’m going to publish it, and that’s it for now. I give it out to six people, and if I can’t trust them to that degree, then I have no desire to make it. I’ll publish it. I’m done. I’ll move on to the next thing. I’ve got 10 more where that came from.”

Tarantino told me he suspects the dispersal came from CAA, which reps Dern. I spoke to someone inside CAA I trust, and they vehemently denied they could have been the source. They noted that a problem is that Tarantino possibly dispersed the script himself, without a watermark that usually prevents someone from secretly dispersing the screenplay. Because of that, this is an unsolvable breach. It would be difficult to prove anyway, because if an agent asked an assistant to copy a script, and that assistant shared it with peers at other agencies, and it suddenly found its way to a blogger, the agent would not even know they’d unwittingly put the screenplay into circulation.

This is an odd story. Usually when a guy like me gets the call from a major director like Tarantino and walks away with a seismic story like this, it’s a good day. I must admit, I spent most of the phone call trying to talk Tarantino out of dumping the project. I want to see the movie, and I truly want to see the 77-year-old Dern get another chance to shine in a killer lead role after his brilliant turn in Nebraska. Tarantino said that he loves Dern, and likely will write him a big role in the film he’ll do instead. He would not divulge any details, even the genre of this other project. Given what happened here, who can blame Tarantino?

The filmmaker acknowledges that this is mostly about feeling betrayed, because he does not have an aversion to the inevitable blogger evaluation of his screenplays. He just cannot believe it’s going to happen this early in the process, when he has just begun talking to Harvey Weinstein about how they’re going to make it.

“I am not talking out of both sides of my mouth, because I do like the fact that everyone eventually posts it, gets it and reviews it on the net,” Tarantino said. “Frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I like the fact that people like my sh-t, and that they go out of their way to find it and read it. But I gave it to six motherf—ing people! Starting this week, I’ll be setting meetings with publishers.”

After more of my attempt to persuade him to let things die down — he made a mission movie in Inglourious Basterds and a Western-style film in Django Unchained, so who wouldn’t want to see him tackle a true ensemble Western? — Tarantino allowed that: “I could totally change my mind; I own the f—ing thing. But I can tell you, it’s not going to be the next thing I do. It’s my baby, and if the muse calls me later to do it, we’ll do it. I was thinking about the idea of maybe publishing it before I made it, but now that deal happens for sure, and I’m not doing it next.”

“I hadn’t given it to Christoph [Waltz], I haven’t given it to Sam Jackson,” he said. “I gave it to three motherf—ing actors. We met in a place, and I put it in their hands. Reggie Hudlin’s agent never had a copy. It’s got to be either the agents of Dern or Madsen. Please name names.”

[From Deadline]

Well it was pretty naive for Quentin to give out scripts that were not at least watermarked. Now he’ll probably never know who leaked it — even though he believes it was one of the actors’ agents. He sounds like he’s cancelling the movie because he feels so betrayed. I think he might be persuaded to reconsider. Let’s hope.

This seems like a good time to post a Tim Roth photo. QT made it very clear that he knows Tim Roth was not the source of the leak. No judgment: I just wanted to look at Tim Roth.

Tim Roth

Quentin Tarantino

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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60 Responses to “Quentin Tarantino cancels ‘Hateful Eight’ after script leak: ‘I’m very depressed’”

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  1. Abbicci says:

    As a confessed QT fangirl, if he is upset and wants to cancel I am disappointed but understand why he is so hurt. People are douchebags who have no sense of loyalty or appreciation for how hard he works on a script.

    And MORE Tim Roth. He has been excellent in Klondike.

  2. GIRLFACE says:

    I like QT a lot also. I hope he does reconsider. I think he will. Still, that is a bummer.

  3. blue marie says:

    Love, love, love Tim Roth.. I’m guessing it was Dern’s agent. (I would guess Madsen but he doesn’t do a lot of acting and kind of needs the work right?) You would think though for as long as QT has been doing it, he’d know better? I guess sometimes you learn you trust the wrong people the hard way. Boo to whoever did it, that’s crappy.

    • foodlover says:

      diva deluxe! it’s just a movie, get your head out of your ass. Someone is taking himself way too serious.

      • Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

        It’s his work. Which he has spent years on.
        If someone took my last year of progress on any of my art projects–or you know, MY JOB–and comprimised it, I’d be mad as hell. No chance I’d just “get over it” very easily.
        So…”just a movie”? It’s two hours of your life, but thousands of hours of other people’s. It’s weird that you are not considering that.

    • Kiddo says:

      I used to like Tarantino, will probably still like his films, but he has turned into a petulant spoiled child, or so it seems. Not just from this example, but others.

      • Hannah says:

        He has long since had these temper tantrums. He wrote the Bruce Willis role in Pulp Fiction for Matt Dillon who wanted to do it but told QT that he wanted to sleep a night on it (which seems reasonable). And that was the end. Because if he doesn’t jump out of his chair and yell “Can we start it now. I can’t wait anylonger to recite your brilliant words!”, he’s not good enough to be in “Un film de Quentin Tarantino”.

    • FLORC says:

      He’s certainly earned it. He’s made such great films. If anyone can be a diva and take himself too seriously it’s this guy.

    • minime says:

      Well, it’s his intellectual property and coming from hard work, not only from shaking his ass (that’s some other kind of hard work). He has all the right to feel betrayed and unhappy. He puts his creativity in there and if he’s really passionate about it, that he seems to be, it’s pretty disappointing that the full story is already out there when he’s just in the first draft of his manuscript. It’s a personality style that you can also see in the final result of his movies. Some like it and some don’t. No one is forced to watch it in the end. No matter what, he deserves respect for his work and his intellectual property as any other artist/professional. If these agents are unable to do so, he doesn’t have to work with them either (he’s not saying that he will not work with either of the actors, but the opposite). A pity, but surely he will come out with another brilliant script for those who like him.

  4. don't kill me i'm french says:

    my guess is on Madsen!
    his druggie works in shitty movies since 20 years but he asks his agent’s opinion on a Tarantino movie script??? he probably sold the script to his dealer

  5. Sisi says:

    Eh, I always give a side-eye to CAA if it’s mentioned in a story. They have a weird bunch of fameho’s amongst themselves and their clientele.

  6. Gwen says:

    I really like QT too so this makes me sad.

    I don’t quite understand why he blames the actors though, when it sounds like it was most likely an agent who leaked the script – is it normal that agents read the scripts before an actor signs up for a movie? I have no idea how that works..

    • Migdalia says:

      It is normal so some sort of quality control can be checked, but doubtful an agent from the big agencies like CAA have time to read a script especially like QT’s so they’ll get an intern or an assistant to read it (also called script coverage) hence probably how the copying got started.

  7. msw says:

    that’s total diva behavior. Being upset that it was leaked, sure, I totally get that. But isnt good storytelling about the storytelling, and not just the script? I would think an artsy guy like QT would be more concerned with the journey of the film and less about people knowing the plot beforehand.

  8. Sixer says:

    I saw Tim Roth first! He’s mine. If we miss out on Tim doing Quentin, I will be miffed.

  9. I love me some Quentin–always. I saw ‘Pulp Fiction’ when I was thirteen, and I didn’t fully understand how amazing it was until I watched it another ten times. And I loved his scene with Samuel L. and Travolta–

    ‘I don’t need you to tell me how f-cking good my coffee is, all right. I’m the one who buys it, I know how good it is….’

    That’s the only time I ever liked Quentin’s acting–I saw the movie before I knew what he looked like (or who he was), and I thought it was hilarious.

    Poor QT–I’d be pissed if someone leaked something that I wrote. I hope he comes up with something even better, and threatens to castrate anyone who leaks any of his shit.

  10. GMarchetti says:

    Thanks to an idiot who leaked the script just for fun, now there won’t be a movie. I think QT is absolutely right, I can’t imagine putting so much work just on the writing to have it leaked before the whole work is done, which means having all the extra work to shoot and release the movie.

    • foodlover says:

      erm…ok, so he put much work into it, alright. but it’s a MOVIE. it is not some super secret diary or private letter. what exactly would happen? his fans would watch that movie anyway, script leaked or not. so what’s the big deal? sure it feels shitty to have your stuff leaked, but why exactly is that a reason to not do it at all? baby.

      • GMarchetti says:

        I know leaks happen all the time and I even think he’s being too bitchy about it, but is legit to feel really pissed when it comes to your own work. If I had written something worth, that I’d want people to enjoy it, I can’t tell how I’d feel if it was exposed before the right time. He seems so pissed because he knows it was leaked by one of six people, whom he probably trusted.

        I hope that after some time, when the anger fades, he goes back to it and shoot the movie.

      • Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

        IT’s at least a year of work on both his career and his art. It’s just a movie, to YOU, but this is basically his entire life.

  11. Migdalia says:

    Ah a classic Quentin hissy fit, but I love him as well, and I don’t blame him. Like he said he has a whole bunch of other stories/scripts to film so in that way it’s no big. I think it is more about the betrayal and how much planning he already did for the movie.

  12. Whitney says:

    Bummer. Hope he changes his mind. I always enjoy his movies.

  13. Luca26 says:

    CAA has a rep for being slick and cold hearted so I’m guessing it was Dern’s agent that passed it around town

  14. elo says:

    QT is great and all of that but let’s talk more about Tim Roth..god he’s outstanding!

  15. Jayna says:

    I’m confused. Why would an agent trying to get his client the deal and the script was given to his actor to read want to pass it around? That’s like exposing it to more actors who might fight for the parts. I’m lost.

  16. Onyx XV says:

    Good. One less Tarantino movie in the world makes it a far better place! I loathe his movies. You couldn’t pay me to watch them. He is beyond awful.

  17. Jen says:

    What a baby. I’ve never liked any of his movies (I hate overdone violence, even if it’s supposed to look cartoony). He should drown his sorrows and go off and suck some lady’s toes. Ugh.

  18. BendyWindy says:

    I don’t get Quentin Tarantino. I can’t think of a movie of his that I’ve ever liked. They seem full of themselves and trying too hard.

  19. Renee28 says:

    Why wouldn’t he watermark his scripts? It’s stupid to send a draft to multiple people without a watermark.

  20. stinky says:

    how does the watermarking work?
    does each copy have its OWN unique mark??
    currency has watermarks to prevent forgeries, but it doesnt tell you who spent the cash.
    why hand the script off to ANYone?
    Hes Tarantino…..
    You wanna see the script – here it is – sit down and read it – then leave it on the table – and get out…

  21. Feebee says:

    God how precious! He’s not some naive wee thing fresh off the bus from wherever, he’s Quentin Tarantino. He’s also stupid enough to give out unmarked/unprotected scripts and wa wa wa when it gets circulated. Make the movie, don’t make the movie, no one but maybe his diehardiest fans give a toss. The rest of us will make do.

  22. joan says:

    I’m a QT fan no matter what. Don’t know why he didn’t mark the scripts for security, sounds like a rookie mistake, but I like his work, and passion.

    At some point [good] actors usually HAVE to be able to read a script before they commit to a film, so I wonder why this doesn’t happen more.

    If he goes ahead w/the film this will just increase publicity. By the time he’s done filming it the QT way, it won’t be anything that can be copied anyway.

  23. GlimmerBunny says:

    Sad news :( I love Tarantino movies and now it’s probably gonna be YEARS until the next one comes out…

  24. lunchcoma says:

    I’m fairly sympathetic. Tarantino strikes me as someone who gets very emotionally invested in his projects, and if his heart’s not in this project at the moment, I suspect that the quality of the work will suffer. Let him work on something else for awhile, and see if he feels differently about this script after some time passes.

    It doesn’t seem like he’s placed any blame on Dern for his agent’s actions, which I think is classy of him.

  25. Jessica says:

    As a writer myself, I totally understand why he is upset and doesn’t want to continue with the project at the moment.

  26. drea says:

    QT is straight up crazy, but I guess that’s one of the reasons l like him. I totally understand why he’s upset by the betrayal, especially since he’s one of those directors who is very loyal to his favorite actors. The idea that one of them could have betrayed him is so sad. But like he said, he’s got 10 more where Hateful Eight came from, so let’s just hope he’s smarter with the next script.

  27. Kikio says:

    I’m surprised he would ‘trust’ anyone in H’wood, really. So if this is true, he’s having trust issues, I suppose the reaction to his script will perhaps change his mind – if not, then maybe this unhinged project will haunt him until it’s a fully completed. Or, he could sell it to someone else and sit back and see if his vision can really be translated from paper to screen. Should be interesting to say the least!