In a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Quentin Tarantino was asked about the provocative nature of the script for “The Hateful Eight” and specifically how it deals with racial tensions. Tarantino knew that he would be dealing with that to some degree but wasn’t sure just how extreme it would get:
“It’s sprinkled in just during the hot-house environment of writing this piece. I felt that by throwing a black cavalry officer in the middle of this mix and knowing that I was going to have a Southern general and, like, the son of Quantrill in this mix, I’d be kicking a can that deals with these issues. How much that can would be kicked and how much would spill out, I didn’t know.”
Tarantino is a writer that’s not rigid in his process, preferring to leave aspects of his stories up to the viewer’s interpretation, whether it’s the briefcase in “Pulp Fiction” or the fate of Mr. Pink in “Reservoir Dogs.” In the case of “The Hateful Eight,” Tarantino left the specific period of the film for the audience to decide, but the director nonetheless set it after the Civil War. The timeliness of its characters and the vitriol spat out by some of the more troubling and racist characters in the film would, unfortunately, speak to the political climate at the time of the film’s release.