Staged readings of screenplays have become a growing trend in Hollywood, and this weekend may have seen the biggest one yet as writer/director Quentin Tarantino presented a reading of his most recent screenplay The Hateful Eight, which he famously announced in January he would not turn into a film due to it leaking online after he had only shared it with a small circle of select few actors and their agents. Even at $200 a seat, the event was definitely one of the hottest tickets in town, but what was even hotter was the news that the project might not be as dead as previously thought.
During his introduction to the event Tarantino stated that while his cast – which included Tarantino vets such as Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, James Parks, Michael Madsen and Zoe Bell – would be working from that leaked first draft, he has since done some additional work to it.
I’m working on a second draft and I will do a third draft, but we’re reading from the first draft… The Chapter 5 here will not be the Chapter 5 later, so this will be the only time it is seen ever.
It certainly sounds from what he is saying here that he has changed his mind on totally shelving the script and moving on to another project. One certainly doesn’t plan further rewrites to a project that has been abandoned. And it should be noted that Tarantino excising one whole section of a screenplay to replace it with another is nothing new to the writer. He famously removed one whole sequence, and a character featured prominently in it, from his initial draft of his revenge epic Kill Bill, replacing it with a different set piece.
Of course, Tarantino is currently suing Gawker over the fact that in their reportage on the script leak the website linked to a site where the script could be found. How this legal drama will play and impact Tarantino’s efforts or continued desire to get the project in front of cameras remains to be seen.