Tarantino showcases first Hateful 8 footage at Comic-Con

Quentin Tarantino and the cast of his eighth full-length feature stopped by Hall H today at San Diego Comic-Con. The mere presence of The Hateful 8 at the con is somewhat remarkable considering the early script leak that nearly sent the movie off the rails.

"What pissed me off about what happened with the leak," Tarantino told the crowd, "is that once I finish the script I’m ready for production. With this one, I wasn’t there yet. There were certain plot threads I wasn’t ready to tie up yet, but I knew I had a few more drafts to go. So even though I yelled and screamed, I continued doing what I planned to do. The third draft is the one that we wound up shooting," he added, referring to his process of hashing out the finer details in later revisions.

On the basis of the first seven minutes of footage offered up, we very nearly missed out on a bloody snow-capped western. And while the Hall H exclusive has yet to hit the web, here's the rundown. Set in the wintry post-Civil War climate of Wyoming, a mixed bunch gather at Mimi's Haberdashery -- but we've got a sneaking suspicion needlework ain't on the menu. Instead we're introduced to the titular bunch; Samuel L. Jackson as The Bounty Hunter, Kurt Russell as The Hangman, Jennifer Jason Leigh as The Prisoner, Demian Bichir as The Mexican, Bruce Dern as The Confederate, Tim Roth as The Little Man, Walter Goggins as The Sheriff and Michael Madsen as.... The Cow-Puncher. It's a tense scene, aided by some stellar score work, and a mysterious plot point: someone's not who they say they are.

Rounding out the specially-edited footage came the film's badass tagline: “If you’re looking for revenge, take a number.” The teaser appeared in 70MM, a testament to Tarantino's commitment to celluloid which he hopes as many fans as possible will able to experience during the film's limited roadshow run. That event kicks off in December (in the US only at this point) and offers folks the chance to see it in glorious 70MM.

“We were just looking for really cool scope 70mm,” Tarantino said, referring to the decision to shoot on Ultra Panavision. “Then we found this, which is the biggest format available, aside from that Grand Canyon stuff at Disney World. It’s not like they used lenses like this on Ben-Hur, they used these lenses on Ben-Hur. These are the lenses that shot Ben-Hur. These are the same lenses they used.” Pick thine jaw up from the floor (no, you really should - there's even bigger reveals to come.)

With the cast - excluding Jackson, who popped up during a brief Panavision introductory video - all up on stage, the Q&A commenced. A lot of the cast had chance to shower their director with praise. “I mean this sincerely and I think the great actors sitting here would agree: I would wish that everyone has the opportunity to work with Quentin once. It’s a circus you want to be a part of," said Russell. "Quentin has greatest attention to detail as any director who ever lived. If he had a rival it would only be Luchino Visconti," said Bruce Dern, before adding, "I fit in because the kid [Tarantino] grew up watching me being a jerk on television."

Tarantino then took time to field a series of questions, starting with his shift into a new genre. “I actually feel that when it comes to Westerns, at least nowadays, you have to make three Westerns to call yourself a Western director. Otherwise you’re a dabbler. But I will eventually make a third Western so I can officially call myself a Western director.” And when the little matter of a trilogy-closer came up? "Never say never to Kill Bill 3,” he said. “Uma [Thurman] would really like to do it. We talk about it every once in a while. Vernita’s daughter just needs to get a little older.”

Interestingly enough, this led to chatter about a previous statement by the helmer; that he's happy to retire at ten movies. Sounds like he may have had a change of heart after his experience on Hateful 8: "I might say to hell with that and make it to 15. We'll see.” Finishing up that portion of the panel, he was asked to list his favourite self-penned moment. The scene in the French farmhouse in Inglourious Basterds nabbed his top spot, previously held by the Sicilian speech in True Romance.

As the panel wrapped up, it turns out that the best was saved for last. The final announcement from the director could earn Hateful 8 the 'best panel' honour at this year's Comic-Con -- Ennio Morricone will score the movie. Just while you let that sink in, allow us to reiterate the enormity of this. The legendary Italian composer, whose inimitable work can be heard in some of the most pioneering Westerns, will score his first movie in 40 years.

Bravissimo, QT.

The Hateful Eight opens in select US theaters on December 25, followed by a worldwide release on January 8, 2016.

For more great film and TV news, head to our movie channel or subscribe to Total Film.