Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Western, Hateful Eight, is slowly starting to come into shape after having a very eventful 2014. As many know by now, the fan-favorite auteur considered scrapping the project due to a script leak, before a live-reading of that same screenplay was conducted and the writer/director decided to make the film after all, for release in 2015.
Last month, we learned that principle photography will commence in December in Colorado, meaning that Tarantino has most likely spent the past few weeks ironing out which actors will take on the roles of the eight characters. Previously, big names like Jennifer Lawrence and Viggo Mortensen have been rumored, but we now have our next firm bit of casting news for the movie.
The Wrap is reporting that Jennifer Jason Leigh – recently seen in such indies as Kill Your Darlings and The Spectacular Now – has signed on to play the character Daisy Domergue, Hateful Eight‘s female lead. Described as an “empowered female role,” the actress beat out other contenders such as Michelle Williams, Hillary Swank, Robin Wright, and Demi Moore to land the coveted part.
Hateful Eight‘s teaser trailer provided nicknames for the main characters (i.e. “The Bounty Hunter”, “The Hangman”), and referred to Daisy by her role as “The Prisoner”. With Leigh cast, it would appear that the other Jennifer in discussions, Lawrence, is most likely out of the picture – her schedule being too crowded to make room for another major film, perhaps.
Still, Leigh should be more than capable of filling out Daisy and making her the next memorable Tarantino femme fatale. We don’t know much about the overall product yet, but seeing as Tarantino is the mind behind it, we can guess that it will be full of colorful, over-the-top characters spitting rapid-fire dialogue at each other. Leigh can handle this type of material perfectly well, as anyone who’s seen her turn in the Coen Brothers’ screwball comedy throwback The Hudsucker Proxy can attest.
Of course, not every Tarantino character is as outrageous as something like that. Inglourious Basterds’ Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) was someone more grounded in drama than most inhabitants of the Tarantino film universe, and should the part of Daisy rely on those elements, Leigh has displayed enough dramatic chops in serious works like Dolores Claiborne and Margot and the Wedding for viewers to have confidence in her abilities no matter what turns the script take.
It’s long been assumed that the remainder of the Hateful Eight cast will be filled out by actors who participated in that fateful live-read; that includes a number of Tarantino veterans, such as Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Michael Madsen (Russell, in particular, has previously indicated that he’s onboard for the film). The Wrap‘s report adds fuel to this fire, stating (but not confirming) that Jackson, Russell, Madsen, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins, Denis Menochet, and Bruce Dern are expected to fill out the rest of the main roles.
Since the verbiage they used was “expected” and not “locked in,” fans shouldn’t have visions of Jules Winnfield and Mr. Blonde sharing the screen quite yet. Right now, it looks as though the rest of the aforementioned thespians are on board, but the studio has to make it official first. Mortensen only (allegedly) met with Tarantino a few weeks back, so the filmmaker may still have some screen tests to conduct before announcing his cast to the world.
Regardless, Hateful Eight is shaping up to be one of the many must-see film events of 2015. With a plot harkening back to Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs days and a dynamite group of talented actors, it should give movie buffs something to chew on during next year’s awards season.
Hateful Eight will be in theaters some time in 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.