The director has revealed that one character in his latest movie is related to someone in another of his films – who is it?
It’s a concept typically reserved for comic book movie adaptations, but Quentin Tarantino is a professional geek too, and he recently confirmed that all his films inhabit two shared universes. That’s two, not one. Two. And The Hateful Eight slots rather neatly into this family tree, in which his favourite actors play distant relatives of each other. But how?
“I don’t want to say it point blank ‘boom!’, Tarantino told Digital Spy, “but if you’re a fan of my work and are familiar with it you could be a bit of a detective. I will say that there is one character amongst the eight that is related to one of my other characters in one of my other films.”
To be literate in all things Tarantino, you must know The Hateful Eight takes place in what he calls the “realer than real” universe, alongside True Romance, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. The others, like Kill Bill, Death Proof and From Dusk till Dawn, exist in “movie” universe – it sounds a bit like The Purple Rose of Cairo, but that’s really what it is. “When all the characters of Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction,” Tarantino explains, “when they go to the movies, Kill Bill is what they see.”
This means The Hateful Eight exists in the same timeline as Hitler’s cinema execution in Inglourious Basterds, the multiple arcs of Pulp Fiction, and so forth. There connections are littered throughout his filmography. Michael Madsen’s Vic Vega from Reservoir Dogs is the brother of John Travolta’s similarly named Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction (because their parents wanted to make life extra difficult). Harvey Keitel’s Mr White in Reservoir Dogs references an old acquaintance with Alabama, a woman played by Patricia Arquette in True Romance. Eli Roth’s Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz from Inglourious Basterds is the father of Saul Rubinek’s Hollywood guru Lee Donowitz (hence his war movie fixation) in True Romance.
Adding extra confusion are crossover factors, such as Red Apple cigarettes (smoked in Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill), Big Kahuna Burger (wolfed down in Reservoir Dogs and From Dusk till Dawn), and how everyone in both worlds is fluent in pop culture, full of unnecessary feet shots, and speaks the same Tarantino way. But you just have to ignore this.
So who exactly in The Hateful Eight is related to another film’s character, with the hint that it involved a scheduling conflict? As Tarantino won’t spill the goss, we’ve turned detective. In the spirit of The Hateful Eight and Who Do You Think You Are?, we’ve lined up the suspects for a research-heavy interrogation that hopefully won’t end with a Mexican standoff.
COULD IT BE SAMUEL L. JACKSON AS MAJOR MARQUIS WARREN (THE “BOUNTY HUNTER”)?
A master of swearing and scheduling, Samuel L. Jackson is Hollywood’s busiest man, rarely going a few months without a new movie. He’s also, along with Christoph Waltz, a natural in Tarantino talk, able to pronounce the dialogue crisply with great vengeance and furious anger. Subsequently, Jackson can’t be related to another character because he’s in nearly every Tarantino film. The exception is Reservoir Dogs, for which Jackson failed the audition, rather than any diary woes.
COULD IT BE KURT RUSSELL AS JOHN RUTH (“THE HANGMAN”)?
After passing the driving test in Death Proof, Kurt Russell was lined up by Tarantino for the villainous part of slave trader Ace Woody in Django Unchained. If you don’t remember Russell in Django, it’s because he dropped out in pre-production, and if you don’t remember Ace Woody, it’s because the character was merged with Walton Goggins’ Billy Crash. Considering the shared time period of The Hateful Eight and Django, it’s feasible that Ruth and Crash are racist relatives, or at least part of a pen-pal scheme between frustrated bigots.
COULD IT BE WALTON GOGGINS AS SHERIFF CHRIS MANNIX (“THE SHERIFF”)?
Tarantino learned of Walton Goggins through The Shield (yeah, Tarantino watches trashy cable cop dramas) and cast him in Django Unchained. Maybe Goggins’ sheriff is also related to his villain in Django, in the same century, with some Winklevoss twin action going on?
Verdict: Unlikely, but we hope so.
COULD IT BE JENNIFER JASON LEIGH AS DAISY DOMERGUE (“THE PRISONER”)?
Leigh was on Tarantino’s cast wishlist for Pulp Fiction’s Honey Bunny, but otherwise hasn’t been linked to his other films. Strangely, her Hateful Eight part was written for Jennifer Lawrence, who was too busy with Joy and Hunger Games. Expect Tarantino’s next film to include J-Law’s as a Domergue descendant.
COULD IT BE DEMIÁN BICHIR AS BOB (“THE MEXICAN”)?
Bichir hadn’t been linked with Tarantino before. And while Tarantino scripts are packed with Mexican standoffs, the Mexican characters are less frequent.
COULD IT BE MICHAEL MADSEN AS JOE GAGE (“THE COW PUNCHER”)?
Another Tarantino regular, Madsen was cast as Travolta’s Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, but dropped out for Wyatt Earp (which he probably regrets to this day). If related, that would make Madsen an ancestor of the Vega brothers, which is very plausible, as he already plays a Vega brother in Reservoir Dogs and has some shared DNA – in the way that if you existed in multiple centuries, you would share DNA as you are the same person, and this existential crisis is what drives you to a life of violent crime.
COULD IT BE BRUCE DERN AS GENERAL SANFORD SMITHERS (“THE CONFEDERATE”)?
Dern was picked as the guilty suspect of accidentally leaking the screenplay in 2013, but the “Old Man” from Django has otherwise only lately been circling the Tarantino universe.
COULD IT BE TIM ROTH AS OSWALDO MOBRAY (“THE LITTLE MAN”)
Roth is so closely linked to Tarantino, but before Hateful the pair hadn’t collaborated since Pulp Fiction. That wasn’t always the plan, as Roth had a part in Inglourious Basterds but was too busy with some show called Lie to Me. What was the role? It wasn’t Hitler, and it wasn’t B.J. Novak’s so-called “The Little Man” either. The clue comes from Roth’s character Oswaldo Mobray, whose name sounds so fake even a spambot could do better. But it’s revealed midway – don’t read on if afraid of spoilers – that Oswaldo’s real name is English Pete Hicox, who shares a surname with Michael Fassbender’s Archie Hicox in Inglourious Basterds. And yes, that’s the role Roth was signed up for. It all makes sense, the stars are aligned, and Tarantino is an evil genius who not-so-secretly controls our many universes.
Verdict: Yes , the link is Roth. Hopefully there’ll be a spinoff to this revelation involving time travel.