Speaking at a post-screening Q&A with Christopher Nolan in Los Angeles, Tarantino explained how most of the music Ennio Morricone contributed to The Hateful Eight was not actually written for the film.
“I had a little voice in my head saying, ‘This material deserved an original score.’ And I’ve never thought that way before, I’ve never had that voice before. I didn’t ever want to trust a composer with the soul of my movie,” Tarantino said about his decision to contact Morricone.
When the pair first met it became apparent that the legendary composer wouldn’t have enough time to write a new score for the film. It had already been shot and the music was required in one month’s time. “And he’s like, ‘This is not going to work. I’m working with Giuseppe Tornatore, and he just finished shooting the other day, and I’ve got to do his score, this is not going to work. I was told a lot of things that weren’t correct, and I’m really sorry.’”
Tarantino was so compelled by Morricone’s pitch for the film’s theme that he suggested using music from Morricone’s score for The Thing. As much of the music written for John Carpenter’s 1982 classic never ended up in the film, Tarantino’s idea was more than plausible.
“[Morricone said] ‘I wrote a whole orchestra score [for The Thing], and I wrote a whole synthesizer score, because I knew that was what [John Carpenter] was used to’,” explained Tarantino, paraphrasing the composer. “’I gave him everything, and the only thing [Carpenter] used in the entire movie was the synthesizer main title [track].’ So basically, if you stay away from the synthesizer main title, all that music that’s on the soundtrack album has never been used in a movie ever. So, [Morricone] goes, ‘What I can do is I’ll write the theme… and with the other Thing pieces of music, now you have your original score that’s never been used in a movie before.’”
Morricone was originally set to compose a 10-minute theme track but ended up writing 25 minutes of new music for the film. “And so with that,” Tarantino said, “and the unused Thing portions that I used, [I’ve got] my original score.”
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