Quentin Tarantino Suing Gawker over THE HATEFUL EIGHT Script Leak

     January 27, 2014


If things had gone as planned, we’d probably be itching for the next update on Quentin Tarantino’s excellently titled new film The Hateful Eight right now while the filmmaker worked on building his cast and tweaking his script.  Instead, Tarantino has opted not to make The Hateful Eight his next film after an early draft of his script—which he provided to a handful of people in confidence—was leaked to internal channels by an agent.  Things have only gotten worse since Tarantino addressed the leak, as the script was published online late last week.  Now the filmmaker is taking legal action against Gawker Media, which posted a link to download the leaked script under a headline titled “Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script.”  Hit the jump to read on.

quentin-tarantino-the-hateful-eightThe folks over at Deadline report that Tarantino has filed a lawsuit against Gawker Media for copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement.  Here’s how Tarantino’s complaint reads:

Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s right to make a buck. This time they’ve gone too far. Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that Plaintiff’s screenplay may have been circulating in Hollywood without his permission, Gawker Media crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire screenplay illegally. Their headline boasts, ‘Here is the leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script’ — here, not someplace else, but ‘here’ on the Gawker website. The article then contains multiple direct links for downloading the entire screenplay through a conveniently anonymous URL by simply clicking button-links on the Gawker page, and brazenly encourages Gawker visitors to read the screenplay illegally with an invitation to ‘enjoy’ it. There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of Plaintiff’s copyright in the screenplay, and its conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity.

Seeing as how Tarantino has one of the best track records of any living director (arguably, he has yet to make a “bad” film), this whole thing is just upsetting.  The prospect of seeing QT delve into the Western genre once again—with possibly Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen in tow, no less—was incredibly promising, especially since it was so close to coming to fruition.  The filmmaker does indeed have a habit of letting his screenplays land online so that fans can read the source material before he digs into turning it into a film, but in the case of The Hateful Eight this was an early draft that was never intended for public consumption; he planned on approaching his actors, having conversations about the characters, and digging into another draft of the script before moving forward.

Hopefully this whole issue can be settled soon, after which we can get back to looking forward to Tarantino’s next project.

  • Steven Ray Morris

    I hope he wins.

    • The Flobbit

      I was more hoping for some samurai-sword/flamethrower action, with Tarantino assaulting the Gawker Media headquarters with Tim Roth and Christoph Waltz by his side, leaving a trail of death, destruction, and burnt corpses.

      “I am that one director in ten thousand!”

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    It just sucks all around. All in the name of making a cheap $ for leaking shit that didn’t belong to them. I hope Tarentino sues the shit out of Gawker. It’ no wonder why studios like Marvel and DC have to invest millions of dollars to ensure that secracy regarding their films. All it takes is one jack ass to steal someone else’s property, before completion and w out paying for it, (X:Men Origins Wolverine) and post it on the internet causing millions in dollars of loss revenue.

    • Person

      This situation is so ridiculous. His scripts ALWAYS leak, and on top of that, he was on a late-night show around the time Basterds came out and was making fun of the GI Joe movie because they were so scared of their script leaking and he LOVES having people read his screenplays because he’s so proud of them. I love QT to death but this is just asinine, he can still go ahead and make the movie. Regardless of who actually has read it, it’ll be a mere fraction of the normal moviegoing public who would see the movie with fresh eyes in theaters whenever it got released.

      Not tryna stick up for Gawker — what they did was wrong — but QT’s reaction to all this is the definition of “overreaction.”

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        It should be left up to the artist to decide what they want to share w their audience. It’s why I find it insulting when things get posted up without their approval. It’s about respecting their wishes on how they want to present their vision to us. If QT’s script was someting that he wanted to let us read early as he did w Basterds than that’s by his own choosing, this however was not, as it was also still in early stages w his 1st draft.

      • Person

        I understand that he feels betrayed and I’m not saying he shouldn’t be upset / trying to seek out the culprit. I just really don’t think this is any reason to cancel making the movie in the first place.

        If it’s just a first draft that will go through changes before production, that makes this even more insane. It’ll be even further from the finished product than if it was the actual production script.

        Gawker and Dern’s agent (who was the most likely suspect last I read) should be held accountable. And QT should also make his movie. Hopefully he’s just emotional about it now but will eventually end up making it. Not tryna have another six year gap between QT movies a la Jackie Brown to Kill Bill….

      • James

        Scripts usually leaking DURING PRODUCTION of a film. This leak happened after he gave out only a few copies to the principal actors he was considering to cast. It was literally only in the early script stage, not even pre-production had begun. But one of the actor’s agents read it and someone on their teams copied it. That is incredibly shameful and practically on Shia Labeouf level of shittiness.

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        Agreed. Fun fact: he’s now going by the name Shia LaDouche.

      • The Dude Abides

        Shia LaButtfuck is also acceptable

    • Aquartertoseven

      How was money lost? I bet 0.1% or less of film goers read scripts before the film is out, most people aren’t that stupid. And that still doesn’t mean that they won’t see it. Origins made loads of money.

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        There was an article a few years back stating that Fox believes that they lost around $15M – $20M from the leaked film. It was shared on sites, like Limewire, over a million times weeks before it was released. Usually when films are available online it’s at least after the film has arrived in theaters. Not sure how accurate the article was as they could have inflated their numbers but either way I’m sure it cost them $.

      • Lex Walker

        That $15m-$20M is entirely hypothetical and made up. What really lost them money is poor word of mouth. The film was horrible, people who saw it said so to people they knew, so fewer people went. The download argument only works if they know for sure that everyone who downloaded would have bought a ticket.

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        Yea I honestly have know clue how they came up such numbers, it was probably a cop out for the crappy film underperforming, and most of the lost revenue was claimed to be over seas where most of the leaks were happening (Russia and China I believe). But I will stand by my claim that when films are pirated it does hurt the films returns (whether boxoffice or DVD) but by how much is anyone’s guess.

      • Lex Walker

        Studios are infamous for creative accounting, so no doubt the figure was drafted to help drive down their estimated publicly declared profits so they could deprive non-Studio producers of additional profit. Also, it looks better when Fox tries to use it in court against people arrested for using torrents.

      • Mark Tornits

        (I am a Tarantino supporter but i don’ quite get this) Gawker was just posting a link to an external site with the pdf, if there is proof that Gawker uploaded the pdf and scanned the document and turned it into a digital file then… ok maybe there is a some type of real legal action that can take place because this becomes some type of conspiracy.

        Since this is not a leak of a completed film and in turn it will never be a film (by Tarantino’s own admission)- the most that can be done to Gawker is demand to cease and desist. Which is a shame because someone should be held accountable.

  • Kevin

    Killing the messenger? He should lose.

    • Aquartertoseven

      The messenger would be whoever gave the script to the site, so one of the agents.

      • Kevin

        I was correct the first time. That phrase means that someone blames the wrong person, in this case Gawker. Did they do something wrong? Yes. Are they primarily responsible for leaking the script? No.

      • Aquartertoseven

        They shouldn’t have published it, they had no right.

      • Kevin

        They’re a news site. They can post a link to prove their story.

  • Ozzy

    I want to know who leaked the script. Who is Madsen’s agent, who is Dern’s agent? It was either of them.

  • Daniel Ronczkowski

    Good for QT, I hope he wins.

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  • eternalozzie

    He’s a hack … his 10 fans are the only ones who care.

    • Bo

      Excellent and right on. He’s being a bit of a drama queen here and sucking in the fools. Who cares? Who knows why he’s doing this? He’s sure getting a lot of attention. That he still craves it after all the money and fame he has is exactly why I’ve never cared for him or his work. It reeks of that kind of low-level mentality. Waste of time. Hated that I laughed and enjoyed Django…lol…

  • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

    I read the script and its fucking good.

  • John

    “I like the fact that people like my shit, and that they go out of their way to find it and read it.”

    Those were Tarantino’s words, verbatim. So why is he suing Gawker over this?

  • Nico

    Ugh! Just watch… now we all get to see adozen upcoming crappy copies of his original cowboy movie idea , done by other directors. Yuck.

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  • Jay

    Even if this was just a first or rough draft, he still has to go about getting the money to make it. Sure, it has been getting pretty good reviews for the script, but its now out and he could very well be the last person to make ‘this’ movie despite being the original author. I’ve not read it, but… who is to say that other writers will not crib ideas/themes/action beats for their ‘own’ work that will inturn, make QT look like being a copycat/hack?

    As for the Wolverine movie being leaked. It is a bit unfair for people to judge that movie based upon the devastatingly rough cut that was uploaded. Most of the visual effects weren’t even complete with wires still visible for most of the action scenes. While it was a stinker regardless, how many of the people who ‘reviewed’ and commented towards their friends about seeing it in that unfinished state didn’t sway people from not seeing it? With the increasing budgets, you’ve got to get a great opening weekend if you want to even entertain the idea of making some money, so yeah… negative reviews on an unfinished product do hurt their bottom line, regardless of the lackluster movie that was finally released.

    There is nothing scarier than putting yourself out there for others to judge, when that opportunity is taken away from you to do it on your terms, when you feel like its ready and a good time, it can feel like someone is harming you.

    Not to mention that Gawker more than likely saw an uptick in ad revenue based upon their ‘story’…

  • herpderp

    Gawker is a blog website not journalism. I hope Tarantino wins and I dont even like the guy. Gawker and the sister sites are full of twats.

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