hree years after "Django Unchained," Quentin Tarantino returns to the western for his eighth directorial feature — that's eight if you combine the "Kill Bills," which we are inclined to do to make way for the appropriately titled new film "The Hateful Eight." Set in Wyoming shortly after the Civil War, the film maroons the titular group of unsavory types at a stagecoach stopover during a blizzard. The tension and mistrust grow thick as each of the strangers tries to draw a bead on the others.
The movie opens Christmas Day in a 70-millimeter roadshow cut that includes an overture and intermission and is six minutes longer than the version opening in wide release two weeks later. Here, Tarantino teases out insights to his rogue's gallery of characters for The Times.
SAMUEL L. JACKSON
Maj. Marquis Warren, "The Bounty Hunter"
"Cool as a cucumber, deadly as a viper strike! Complete with $8,000 in frozen dead bodies in tow."
John Ruth, "The Hangman"
"The ferocity of a bull. The subtlety of a buffalo. Chained to a killer who hates him."
JENNIFER JASON LEIGH
Daisy Doumergue, "The Prisoner"
"A blizzard behind her, a rope in front of her, and a man who hates her chained to her side. Is she a killer? Yes. Is she crazy? Maybe. What will she do for freedom? Anything."
Chris Meninx, "The New Sheriff"
"A die-hard Confederate-cause soldier. Son of a Confederate renegade. Is he the new sheriff of Red Rock, or does something else bring him to this snowy mountain?"
Bob, "The Mexican"
"The mysterious caretaker. Who is he and does he belong?"
Oswaldo Mobray, "The Little Man"
"The foppish British hangman of Red Rock. What does his polite manner mask?"
Joe Gage, "The Cow Puncher"
"The cowboy loner. He doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows him. What exactly brought him to this snowy mountain?"
Gen. Sanford Smithers, "The Confederate"
"A legendary Southern combat general, with a very bloody past and a possibly bloodier future."