Quentin Tarantino wants to make his next movie in Colorado.
Colorado wants that, too. This morning, the state Economic Development Commission approved $5 million in film incentives for the Tarantino Western The Hateful Eight. State film commissioner Donald Zuckerman said Tarantino is eyeing a location in Telluride for filming. "What's fabulous about this is everyone's been saying Colorado is perfect for a Western, and this is a Western," Zuckerman told the EDC commissioners.
The film's budget is $44 million -- with an estimated $25 million of that to be spent in Colorado. The moviemakers would likely hire 168 crew members in Colorado, with an estimated payroll of $15.6 million, Zuckerman said. Filming would begin in December and is expected to take a total of 49 days, with a break for the holidays.
However, the specific location that Tarantino has chosen for the film -- the Schmid Ranch just outside Telluride --- is subject to a conservation easement, Zuckerman said, and the film's backers are working to get permission from the San Miguel County commissioners to use the land. Zuckerman said that all of the structures that would be built on the land would be temporary and could be removed after filming. He said he's hopeful the county commissioners will give Tarantino the green light.
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The Hateful Eight -- the plot of which is described on imdb.com like this: "In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception" -- is the biggest movie to consider filming in Colorado since Zuckerman came on board as film commissioner in 2011. In 2012, state legislators approved a plan to attract more film projects to the state by increasing the cash rebate offered to moviemakers from 10 percent to 20 percent in order to bring it in line with competitors such as New Mexico and Utah. The legislature also created a program to back up to 20 percent of a producer's bank loan.
This year's film incentives budget started at $5 million, though there's only $3.3 million left at this point. Zuckerman explained to the commissioners that the rest of the rebate for the Tarantino movie would come out of next year's incentives budget.
The commissioners spoke in a special phone meeting this morning to consider the approval. They seemed excited, joking about who would get to be extras in the film.
"Hell of a job, Donald," one of them said.
Zuckerman's excitement was also palpable. "It's possible this will become the most important movie filmed in Colorado since True Grit in 1969," he said.
The official cast of The Hateful Eight hasn't been announced yet, but a script reading in April included Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell and Bruce Dern. The latest rumor is that Viggo Mortenson is also being considered for the film.
This past January, Tarantino claimed he was shelving The Hateful Eight because the script had been leaked online. "I'm very, very depressed," he told Deadline Hollywood. "I finished a script, a first draft, and I didn't mean to shoot it until next winter, a year from now. I gave it to six people, and apparently it's gotten out today."
In July, Tarantino reportedly told an audience at the San Diego Comic Con that he would go forward with The Hateful Eight after all. And earlier this month, several news outlets reported that the Weinstein Co. would distribute the film.
"We are incredibly excited to begin production on The Hateful Eight, as we know this picture will be as innovative, brash and of course fun as all Quentin projects prior," Harvey and Bob Weinstein said in a statement. "There is, quite simply, no other filmmaker like him, and we are as proud as ever to continue this partnership that started over twenty years ago." The Weinstein brothers have been involved in several previous Tarantino films, including Pulp Fiction, the Kill Bill movies and Django Unchained.
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Below, watch a behind-the-scenes video of a script reading of The Hateful Eight.