Quentin Tarantino and Ennio Morricone worked on multiple iconic projects together, ranging from Kill Bill to Django Unchained. While Tarantino had incorporated Morricone’s pre-existing music into his cinematic projects on multiple occasions, he asked the maestro to compose an original score for him for one particular film – The Hateful Eight.
At the time, Morricone hadn’t made a complete western score in 34 years and he was genuinely confused about Tarantino’s request for an original soundtrack since the filmmaker had developed a reputation for using iconic songs. Tarantino wasn’t even sure whether Morricone would agree but the Italian composer accepted the challenge.
Back in 2013, the music visionary had criticised Tarantino’s use of music in his films and claimed that his placement of songs actually lacked coherence. Morricone had declared that he wouldn’t want to work on any future projects directed by Tarantino but when he learn more about The Hateful Eight, he changed his mind.
Tarantino was also unsure about using an original soundtrack but he gave in to the desire: “I finally broke down. And it was the maestro that made me break down. I didn’t know if it was going to work out, but I felt I owed it to myself and I owed it to him to investigate it. To explore that idea. Only to find out that he felt the same way – he wasn’t sure if it was necessarily the right thing.”
Tarantino’s 2015 revisionist western garnered a lot of acclaim for its treatment of the conventions of the genre, featuring an engaging premise involving eight strangers whose paths intersect during a blizzard. Set in the time period following the Civil War in America, the film’s cinematography and its use of arthouse action delighted fans.
When asked about his thought process, Morricone had revealed that he had been extremely “nervous” about the project due to what he had seen. According to the composer, he had a lot of apprehensions about an original soundtrack “because I thought he deserved something very special for what he had done [with the film]”.
Morricone was blown away by the film: “I have been impressed and even shocked by the violence of some of his sequences… but after giving a second thought to that I realised that yes, we are shocked by the horror of this violence but, if we think of the victims of this violence we realise that Tarantino’s position is always on the side of the underclass.”