Samuel L. Jackson accepted a special award for The Hateful Eight composer Ennio Morricone at the New York Film Critics Circle 81st Gala at Tao on Monday night. Morricone was commissioned to compose The Hateful Eight's elegant overture. Morricone's note to the critics group for this stellar evening was addressed to all, including "The Haters," eliciting a chuckle from the ever cool Jackson. I had to wait till the next morning, for brunch at The Monkey Bar to ask Walton Goggins what exactly that meant. The would be sheriff of Red Rock in director Quentin Tarantino's fictive world explained that the eight of The Hateful Eight are now so close, they text each other multiple times per day to find out where they are, what they are doing; in short, they've continued their close knit, claustrophobic connection beyond the movie's snow-laden log cabin.
At brunch, Uma Thurman, "Tarantino's muse," introduced the panel featuring Goggins, Jackson, and woman "hater" Jennifer Jason Leigh. The conversation got around to Quentin's language that certainly sprinkled four letter words heavily in this movie, as he does in all his provocations. But he deals with other linguistic and visual taboos: the word "Nigger" for example. Jackson looked at Jennifer Jason Leigh and said, "Before she had to greet me in this film, she probably never uttered the word in her life. And Leigh agreed she found it hard to say the word." Referring back to Django Unchained, when Leonardo DiCaprio had to say "Nigger," that took extra special effort. He could never get used to it.
Then Jackson said his wife, the actress, LaTanya Richardson, complained about another sensitive issue: how many times is Kurt Russell's John Ruth going to clobber Jennifer Jason Leigh's Daisy Domergue? Leigh sports a black eye throughout the three-hour plus epic, and a good sound wallop punctuates her every move. "Until she obeys," they laughed in unison. Like the language of the beat writers back in the day, Tarantino's overstepping politically correct codes, speaks to the real obscenities in our culture, like slavery and sexism.
How can I be a hater? I asked Walton Goggins. He gamely made a frame around my face with his hands: "That's all it takes. Get a hater to let you in."
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