Making movies is an intense experience, and as the cast and crew spend long hours in tense, stressful situations for months at a time, this time together can have a lasting, lingering impact. Such is the case with Quentin Tarantino’s latest, the western chamber drama The Hateful Eight, but it turns out that Kurt Russell left a weird imprint on his costar Jennifer Jason Leigh.
If you’ve seen The Hateful Eight you know that Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is up for an Oscar for her performance as outlaw Daisy Domergue, spends most of it handcuffed to Kurt Russell’s bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth. Talking to Variety, the actress explained that, while in early rehearsals this was an awkward situation they had to deal with, after a few days, they "were dancing" as if they’d been connected like this for years. In fact, it even left her with an unexpected lasting effect. She explained:
Still, when I look at my right wrist or touch my right wrist, I think of Kurt Russell.
That’s not exactly the kind of impact that you expect acting in a movie to have, but it sounds like being connected, in a very literal manner, to Kurt Russell left Jennifer Jason Leigh with a enduring sense memory, one that may stick around for a while.
Whatever the lasting effect, you probably have to assume that it was worth it. Jennifer Jason Leigh currently has 90 acting credits on her resume in a career as a performer that dates back to 1976 when she was just a teenager (she also directed The Anniversary Party in 2001). But even with all of her fantastic roles, this is her first Oscar nomination. While that’s not always the point, being recognized must feel pretty good. And she delivers one hell of a ferocious performance as well, so the acclaim is well deserved.
The Hateful Eight revolves around eight strangers who wind up snowed in at the same frontier weigh station in post-Civil War Wyoming. No one is what they seem on the surface or who they say they are, and over the course to the movie the mystery unfolds, tensions rise, and violence explodes. Set primarily in one location, in what amounts to one big room, The Hateful Eight plays out more like a play than your typical western. And more than just a western, it needles at the current climate of racial tension in America in ways you don’t expect.
Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character is a notorious outlaw being taken to Red Rock to hang, but addition to her and Kurt Russell, the cast also features Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, and Walton Goggins.