Author: Jay-Rey (@jay_rey)
By now, we have all heard the news: Iconic filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has shelved his next film, Hateful Eight. The long and short of it is that Tarantino, having just finished his first draft of Hateful Eight, gave it to six people to read. One of these people, who you figure was trusted very much to even see a copy of the script, let it leak. You can read the whole story here and Deadline.
The response on the Internet has been mixed. Some big fans of QT have criticized the movie industry and media for perpetuating leaked information for new, highly anticipated films. Others have called Tarantino a bit of a baby for just giving up, and moving on to another story he had been working on at the same time. But across the board, everyone wants him to make Hateful Eight next. It is a story that will be talked about for a while, but one that will ultimately leave QT unscathed. He is a weird guy. As fans of him, we know that. He talks funny, has a foot fetish, gets really passionate about his movies, and does what he wants to do.
So the question should be asked: Is Tarantino wrong? He is the guy. He is the music maker; he is the dreamer of dreams. You get it. QT is why we have Reservoir Dogs and the countless slow motion parodies. He gave us Pulp Fiction, and Samuel Jackson’s most badass monologue. He killed Hitler in a storm of bullets, and told one of the “coolest” stories involving slavery ever to be told. So one could argue that his vision and his process are what make his movies so great. So if it doesn’t go his way, and he feels the actual integrity of the project is at risk, why can’t he shut it down?
There is the other side of the coin too. We are living in 2014. This is a society of NSA probing, digital privacy being invaded daily, social media getting information out in seconds, and celebrity nudes. Information is power and everybody wants it. To be fair, it isn’t like his script was leaked to the masses, just within the industry. Now that it’s such big news, I’d be surprised if we don’t see it somewhere in the next few days, however. And it isn’t fair that this kind of stuff can’t be private anymore. Long gone are the days of shooting a movie called Blue Harvest in the hopes that no one will know is actually a Star Wars film.
Another of my favorite filmmakers, Kevin Smith, had his own run in with the public with a similar backlash in 2011. During Sundance of that year, Smith had invited a whole bunch of distributors to an auction style viewing of Red State. By the end of the screening, Smith had eventually announced he would distribute the movie on his own with the help of his podcast network, SModcast, and his twitter following. You can read Dead Spins article about that here. Oddly enough, it is Dead Spin who feels bad for QT and his misfortunes, while the same site had strongly criticized Smith for pulling his own proverbial rug-pull to benefit his work.
Filmmakers are artists, generally. Some make great strides to complete a story on paper, and are meticulous about its fruition to celluloid. So in terms of art, what they choose to do should be respected and accepted. Smith eventually went on tour with his movie. He showed the whole thing for the audience and participated in a Q and A style after show. He ended up selling the distribution rights for the foreign markets, but domestically did all the leg work internally. Red State was released on VOD and Netflix, and recouped all of its expenses. So technically, it worked out in the end. And as Kevin Smith always says, his fans are the ones that came out to see it and are the ones who enjoyed it.
Tarantino is a little different. He has experienced a lot of mainstream success since he first came out on the scene. He often receives a lot of good reviews, and can reach a really wide audience. So when news comes out that he is making a new movie, the moviegoers everywhere start to get really excited. So on one hand, it’s his right as an artist to stop what he is doing if he feels the integrity is in danger. On the other hand, the fans can’t help but feel a bit of a sting that he would be so quick to pull the plug on something we are looking forward to.
In a world of information sharing and spoilers, the movie industry is in an interesting place. As I mentioned before, fan outcry can make a movie studio (and in-turn a filmmaker) change direction drastically. Social media campaigns and petitions can get Execs nervous. But this is Tarantino. It hasn’t even hit the Weinstein yet to figure out how to get the movie made. Fan outcry will do little here. It all rests on Tarantino’s shoulders.
Are you upset about the fate of the Hateful Eight? Is Tarantino over reacting? Or is it his right as an artist? Let us know in the comments below!