Didier Thunus (except where noted)
Story: The Hateful Eight
Most of us were waiting for Quentin Tarantino’s
new movie merely to hear which Morricone pieces
would be included this time. I don’t think any
of us dared hope that Ennio would agree to write
an original score for The Hateful Eight. Yes,
Tarantino had asked him last year to do it, but
he does that all the time. There was no chance
that the Maestro would accept. Not because of
the alleged clash between the two men a couple
of years ago – we had seen (in Maestro #2) that
this was all just newscasters’ noise built on
banal words – but because Ennio doesn’t do those
things anymore. His last American movie was Mission
to Mars in 2000; his last western was Occhio alla
penna in 1980; he is 86, he needs no new challenges.
the American director had a plan. And it worked.
Let’s review the events chronologically:
11th, 2015: Quentin has been invited to the David
Donatello awards ceremony in Rome. He decides
to arrive the day before so that he can visit
Ennio at his home.We will only later be able to
reconstruct what was said during that meeting.
June 12th, 2015: Ennio hands over the honorary
award to Tarantino during the ceremony3. The host
asks him naively when he would work with Tarantino
again, and Ennio says that… he has accepted the
day before to score The Hateful Eight!
11th, 2015: It takes some time for the news to cross the
Atlantic. Quentin participates to the ComicCon in San Diego,
California, and makes it a big announcement: the great Ennio
Morricone (he still says “Eeeno Morriconee”) will write
an original score for his movie4. The crowd is euphoric.
Amongst the many things that were said during the conference,
to which a big part of the cast also took part, this is
really the one that will hit the newsreels.
says it will be Ennio’s first western score in
40 years – forgetting about Occhio alla penna
just to make it sound better (Ennio’s previous
western was Un genio, due compari, un pollo, 1975).
18th, 2015: the score is written already! The
two men are in Prague to record it with the Czech
National Symphony Orchestra. Surprisingly, it
seems that Ennio is not conducting the orchestra
himself5 – but what was shown was maybe merely
warm-ups with an in-house conductor.
can now speculate about what were the arguments of Quentin
during the meeting of June 11th. Rumour has it that he literally
implored Ennio with a disarming enthusiasm. We know Quentin
can do that. And since Ennio had criticized him for putting
the music in his movies without coherence, the director
have told him: ok, show me what to do then, here’s your
chance – not just words: action! It is easy to understand
why Quentin wanted an original score
this time, instead of including pre-existing pieces as
he always does: he is making The Hateful Eight using old
technology and wants it to be shown in theatres equipped
for such performance.
coherence sake, he has to treat the music the same way,
and work with a “real” composer like all the directors
of the Silver Age were doing. And who better than our
Maestro can characterize that era? Money must not have
been a problem either: the Weinstein brothers (Crossing
the Line,Malena, Nine) knew beforehand what were Ennio’s
usual demands in this domain, so Quentin must have known
what a decent proposal should sound like.
movie is about a group of people seeking refuge
in a tavern because of bad weather conditions.
The cast is impressive: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt
Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael
Madsen, Bruce Dern… Its setting has reminiscences
of Il grande Silenzio, obviously, but also of
The Thing, especially when Kurt Russell says “One
of them fellas is not what he says he is”. The
title refers to those 8 people of course, but
also hints at the fact that it is Tarantino’s
8th movie – which is true only if you count the
2 volumes of Kill Bill as one movie. It is due
for the Christmas period, in 70mm only in selected
cinemas first, then worldwide using classical/modern
equipment. The official trailer6 has no Morricone
music, but this is not an unusual thing with American
speed at which Ennio wrote the score reminds us
of his pace from the good old days. Between 1967
and 1972 – arguably his best period –, he was
even writing 2 scores in such a short amount of
time. We could fear however that, since he was
not enthusiastic from the start, he wrote most
of the score in auto-pilot. But on the other hand,
Quentin is a perfectionist and would not settle
for lower quality. Probably, the director already
told the composer on June 11th the amount of music
that was required and the type of pieces. He most
likely gave him examples of
and colours from Ennio’s own repertoire – the pieces
he would have used had Ennio refused to do the score.
And probably, Ennio had a couple of themes to propose
to him already, from his large collection of still
unused cues. This all must have significantly speeded
up the whole process. They most likely didn’t work
together on the movie, since it was still being
edited. So it will be up to Quentin and his editors
to insert the pieces in the right places, and to
cut them as required – not an unusual thing with
Ennio’s scores, especially since the 2000’s.
distrust, this is fantastic news.We can be sure that these
2 men are in the process of making history.
4 See after 28:00 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgwtHOwcpLc
It has music by Blackroc and by The Heavy, see http://nameofthesong.blogspot.be/2015/08/the-hateful-eightteaser-trailer-songs.