Quentin Tarantino has made a habit throughout his career of helping actors regain the spark, popularity, and notoriety that they had in the early years of their careers. The most famous example of this, of course, is John Travolta - who Tarantino brought back into the mainstream with Pulp Fiction - and now the Oscar-winning writer/director is ready to pull a similar move for another star with his new film, The Hateful Eight.
The Wrap has learned from its sources that Fast Times at Ridgemont High's Jennifer Jason Leigh has landed the lead female role in Tarantino's upcoming western. In the film, the actress will be playing Daisy Domergue, a woman who is wanted for murder and starts the film having been captured by a bounty hunter. The part was sought after by many notable actresses in Hollywood - including Michelle Williams, Hilary Swank, Robin Wright and Demi Moore - but ultimately it was Leigh who won Tarantino over.
During the live-reading of the Hateful Eight script at LACMA that was held earlier this year, the part of Daisy was read by Amber Tamblyn, who had a brief appearance in Tarantino's Django Unchained. While the new trade report doesn't say why Tamblyn didn't end up with the part, one can assume it has something to do with her age, given that she is more than 20 years younger than her replacement. The story notes that Jennifer Jason Leigh was actually in the audience for the live-reading, sitting next to Harvey and Bob Weinstein and producer Stacey Sher.
Based on an original script by Tarantino, The Hateful Eight is set in Wyoming during the Civil War and is largely set in one location - a habadashery where a group of people are taking shelter from a blizzard. In addition to Leigh, also set to appear in the film will be a bunch of previous Tarantino collaborators, including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins, Denis Menochet and Bruce Dern. It's also expected that the filmmaker will be filling out the rest of his cast with James Remar, James Parks, Dana Gourrier, and Zoe Bell.
Jennifer Jason Leigh may not currently have the same popularity that she possessed back in the 1980s and 1990s, but she has kept busy over the years. In addition to indie film work in titles like The Spectacular Now and Kill Your Darlings, she has also been doing a bit of TV work, having played roles in series like Weeds and Revenge. Being the female lead in a Tarantino movie can be a total game-changer, however, and it's entirely possible that this could line her up as a candidate for next year's Oscar season.
The Hateful Eight will be going into production in Colorado at the end of this year, and while no release date has been set, it's expected that the finished product will be in theaters sometime in the last half of 2015.