Jennifer Jason Leigh on The Hateful Eight and why her character is one of the toughest in the room
EVERYONE’S talking about The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s new Golden Globe-nominated Western. And Daisy Domergue, the only woman trapped in a room full of violent men, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. As a woman wanted for murder and chained to a bounty hunter (Kurt Russell), her intense physical performance has already got her a Golden Globe nomination. The actress, 53 tells us about her rapport with co-star Russell and why Tarantino is such a great director:
What did you first see in the Hateful script?
It’s such a fabulous role. The funny thing is, I picked up the script from (casting director) Victoria Thomas’s office and went home and read it. It was missing the last chapter, intentionally, because Quentin didn’t want anyone to know. A day or two later, I went to his house to audition. We talked for a while and he handed me the last chapter and said, “Take your time and read it. I’ll come back.” When I started reading it, I was stunned because that’s where Daisy, who has not said very much up until this point, cuts loose. I wanted the part so badly. I knew I just had to throw myself into it. He came back, sat beside me and we read.
He reads all the other parts?
Yeah! He’s in it with you. It’s so easy to give it your all because he’s giving his all. You don’t feel like you’re being judged or watched; you feel like you’re engaged with someone in this incredible writing. It was so freeing and so much fun.
How did you and Kurt (Russell)develop your rapport?
I know I could never have given the performance I did if it hadn’t been with Kurt Russell. He’s just the best dance partner on the planet. I’ve done some stunts, but not a lot. But he’s done a lot and he really knows what he’s doing. I never had to anticipate anything because he’s so good. So I could play whatever the moment was, and pretty much forget that a fist was going to be coming into my face.
The violence against Daisy is seemingly justified by the fact that she’s a murderous criminal. What’s your perspective?
My thing is that Daisy is one of the toughest people in the room. I never felt like I was the woman in the group. Nobody cleaned up their language or their stories around me. Daisy is in no way a victim. She’s the prisoner, but she’s not a victim.
Scheduled to release on Janauary 15, 2016.