Until yesterday, Quentin Tarantino's upcoming film roster was as straightforward as it ever gets. His next movie was going to be a Western titled The Hateful Eight — with Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, and Tim Roth in early talks for starring roles — that would start filming sometime late in 2014.
And then — for reasons that are still murky, and despite the fact that Tarantino claims he sent his script to just six people — The Hateful Eight's script was leaked and widely disseminated around Hollywood. On Tuesday night, Tarantino lamented the "betrayal," which he suspected came from one of either Dern or Madsen's agents, and announced that he'd be delaying the production of The Hateful Eight indefinitely. "I’m not making this next," said Tarantino in an interview with Deadline. "I’m going to publish it, and that’s it for now. I give it out to six people, and if I can’t trust them to that degree, then I have no desire to make it. I’ll publish it. I’m done. I’ll move on to the next thing. I’ve got 10 more where that came from."
Fans may be disappointed, but Tarantino does have a point; as intriguing as The Hateful Eight sounded, he's had no shortage of other ideas for films over the course of his career. As The Hateful Eight falls into the increasingly crowded graveyard of Tarantino's abandoned film projects, a look back at the other Tarantino movies that could have been:
1. Casino Royale
Years before 2006's massively successful reboot of the James Bond franchise hit theaters, Tarantino expressed interest in directing an adaptation of Ian Fleming's novel. The key difference? His version would have starred then-007 Pierce Brosnan. "I've always wanted to do [a James Bond movie]," said Tarantino in 2004. "I bumped into Pierce Brosnan and we talked about it. He liked the idea. I would like to do the original book Casino Royale and do it more or less the way the Ian Fleming book is. I don't know if they're going to go for it or not, but I'm letting them know I'm interested."
When producers did end up adapting Casino Royale — with Daniel Craig replacing Brosnan as Bond, and with GoldenEye's Martin Campbell in the director's chair — Tarantino was less than pleased. "The reason they did Casino Royale all comes down to me," said Tarantino in 2009. "I made it a point, I said I wanted to do Casino Royale. They were already on record as saying the movie was unfilmable, but then after I said it and talked about it for a little bit — then the big thing on all the internets was that that was what all the fans wanted to see. So that's when they said, 'Oh, maybe it's not so unfilmable.'" Tarantino added that he wouldn't have been interested in making the movie with Craig anyway.
2. Double V Vega
Tarantino's longest-rumored project has, at various times, been rumored as both a prequel and a sequel to Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. The film would offer an all-new adventure centered on Pulp Fiction's Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and his brother, Reservoir Dogs' Vic Vega, a.k.a. Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen).
The idea presents one obvious problem: Both characters died in their respective movies. For that reasons, Tarantino initially conceived Double V Vega as a prequel that "would have taken place during the time Vincent was in Amsterdam, when he was running one of Marcellus' clubs in Amsterdam," with Vic flying in to visit. But after enough time passed that Travolta and Madsen couldn't convincingly play younger versions of their characters, Tarantino devised a workaround: A sequel in which it's revealed that both Vincent and Vic have identical twin brothers. In a 2009 radio interview, Madsen said the new concept would follows the Vegas' brothers "on a flight from Los Angeles, having been just released from prison," as they quested to avenge their slain twins. There's been virtually no news about Double V Vega since, though Madsen was slated to re-team with Tarantino for The Hateful Eight.
3. 40 Lashes Less One
Tarantino loosely adapted author Elmore Leonard's 1992 novel Rum Punch into his 1997 crime drama Jackie Brown — but over the years, Tarantino has circled a number of other Leonard adaptations. Most of those rumored titles, which include Freaky Deaky and Bandits, have never come to fruition.
But there is one that may still surface someday: 40 Lashes Less One, an adaptation of Leonard's 1972 Western novel of the same name. The novel's story — which follows two death-row inmates, a black man and an Apache, who are promised freedom if they can catch the five most wanted criminals in the west — sounds like classic Tarantino fodder. In a 2007 interview with a fan site, Tarantino confirmed that he still held the rights to 40 Lashes Less One. "I could never let go of it. I've written about, like 20 pages of the adaptation of it," said Tarantino. "But I might very well do it some time. It's the only thing that I have just kind of held on to, that I can't quite let go."
Quentin Tarantino on the set of Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (Miramax/Bureau L.A. Collection/Corbis)
4. Kill Bill Vol. 3 and Vol. 4
In 2007 — just a few years after Kill Bill Vol. 2 bowed in theaters — executive producer E. Bennet Walsh revealed that Tarantino had plans for two more installments in the franchise. Kill Bill Vol. 3 would chronicle "a revenge bid from two of the Crazy 88 assassins Thurman had crippled" in the climatic battle of the first film. Vol. 4 would jump forward in time and shift the focus to protagonist Beatrix Kiddo's daughter, who would wind up locked into a battle for revenge with the daughter of Kiddo's rival Vernita Green. (Green's daughter was last seen in the opening scenes of Kill Bill Vol. 1, after Kiddo killed her mother; when she saw the girl had witnessed the murder, Kiddo said "When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I'll be waiting.")
Perfect setup for a long-delayed sequel, right? Unfortunately for Kill Bill fans, Tarantino's interest in the project seems to have cooled. "I don't know if there's ever going to be a Kill Bill Vol. 3," said Tarantino in 2013. "We'll see. Probably not, though."
5. Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
In 2008, Variety claimed that Tarantino was "hot to remake" Russ Meyer's campy Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, which follows three rampaging go-go dancers on a violent quest across the desert — and that his version would be "even raunchier" than the original. The report also claims that Tarantino's first choices to star would have been Kim Kardashian, Eva Mendes, and Britney Spears. Later reports attached everyone from porn star Tera Patrick to original star Tura Satana, who said that Tarantino "is definitely making it," and that she had personally spoken with him about it. If the reports are (or were ever) true, Tarantino's not talking; the director has remained uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the project.
6. Luke Cage: Hero for Hire
These days, superhero blockbusters are big business. But in the months following the success of 1992's Reservoir Dogs — a full decade before movies like Spider-Man and X-Men launched the modern era of superhero movies — Tarantino floated a concept for a film centered on Marvel superhero Luke Cage. "Ed Pressman owned the rights at the time we talked about it," said Tarantino in a 2012 interview with MTV News. "I talked to [Laurence Fishburne] about being Luke Cage, and he really liked that idea. Then I ended up writing Pulp Fiction." Nearly 20 years later, Warner Bros. approached Tarantino about helming their ill-fated Green Lantern, but he turned them down. "My feeling is if I wanted to do something like that, I'd want to create the superhero myself," said Tarantino.
7. Killer Crow
After the back-to-back release of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained — which feature Nazis and slave owners as villains, respectively — The Root was curious as to which oppressors Tarantino was interested in killing off next.
"There's something about this that would suggest a trilogy," conceded Tarantino in the 2012 interview, before describing a potential third film:
My original idea for Inglourious Basterds way back when was that this [would be] a huge story that included the [smaller] story that you saw in the film, but also followed a bunch of black troops, and they had been f--ked over by the American military and kind of go apes--t. They basically — the way Lt. Aldo Raines (Brad Pitt) and the Basterds are having an "Apache resistance" — the black troops go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland. […] It would be called Killer Crow or something like that. [The Root]
Tarantino added that the story was set in 1944, after the Invasion of Normandy, and that most of it was already written. Killer Crow was presumed to be on hold when Tarantino announced The Hateful Eight, but now that that's off, maybe this one will see the light of day again.
All the movies mentioned above are just a drop in the bucket compared to the vast array of concepts Tarantino has floated in interviews or been rumored to tackle. A few examples: A "bootlegging movie," which would take place in the American South in the 70s; a big-screen adaptation of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., with George Clooney as Napoleon Solo and Tarantino himself as Ilya Kuryakin; an entry in the long-running Friday the 13th franchise that was tentatively dubbed "the ultimate Jason Vorhees movie"; a remake of Lucio Fulci's 1972 horror movie The Psychic, which Tarantino reportedly discussed with intended star Bridget Fonda; a 1930s-style gangster movie; and at least two more movies about slavery, including a long-discussed biopic about John Brown.
So don't take it personally, The Hateful Eight. You've been put aside for now, but even if you never make it to the screen, you're in very good company.