In a world overrun by technology and watched over by the internet, it seems that nothing is safe from the dreaded public leak — not even a script from high-profile director Quentin Tarantino.
Leaks of information, music, movies and more have become so commonplace that most people don’t even think twice when they hear about the latest pop-culture phenomenon being spread around the internet well before its release date. It’s even been speculated that some celebrities — namely musicians — leak their own content online to generate hype for a new release.
Such does not appear to be the case with Hollywood legend Tarantino, who has cancelled his upcoming film Hateful Eight after the script was leaked online in mid-January.
According to the Django Unchained director, he shared his script with only six people — one of whom must have given it to another agent. Tarantino was unaware his script had even leaked until his own agent started receiving calls about castings and auditions for the film.
Tarantino did not have plans to start filming until at least next winter, but it now looks as if Hateful Eight will remain off the big screen for the foreseeable future.
Although Tarantino’s outrage has been causing a storm online, Hateful Eight is certainly not the first film to be affected by a leaked script.
Going as far back as 1941’s Citizen Kane, leaked scripts have been affecting films for decades with or without the help of the internet.
Although there is an assumption that leaking a script online can be something of a promotional stunt, history has proven that in the majority of cases the effects of a leaked script are generally negative and lead to panic among the film’s creators.
In the early days of the internet, when the script for Scream 2 was leaked online while the movie was still in production, writer Kevin Williamson was forced to frantically re-write the screenplay to change the ending.
Bill Condon’s 2013 film The Fifth Estate on Wikileaks also faced a script leak, and it became the subject of severe criticisms before reaching theatres. Whether or not this situation had a direct impact on the film’s poor box office performance is unknown, but it certainly makes a person speculate.
Perhaps having a script leaked can be likened to wanting to share a brilliant surprise with a friend, only to discover that same friend heard about your plans from somewhere else.
It has been suggested that Tarantino may be overreacting, but the truth is he is not. The Hateful Eight screenplay was his property, his own written words, and he trusted just a handful of people with that work. One of those people that he put his faith in sold him out.
Tarantino has every right to feel betrayed; hopefully all of the noise he is making can help bring to light the gravity of his and many other writers’ unfortunate situations.
Graphic: Mike Tremblay