March 26, 2016

The Hateful Eight’s Dana Gourrier Talks Shooting with Tarantino and 65mm Film

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Written by: Chris Salce
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2015’s The Hateful Eight brought an all-star cast that included Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins and many more, into the post Civil War era in a unique crime drama mystery that can only come from the mind of Quentin Tarantino.  We had a chance to talk with one of the actors in the film, Dana Gourrier, who played Minnie Mink. In this interview, Gourrier talks what it was like shooting with Quentin Tarantino the second time around and how 65mm film affects more than just the look of the movie.

What was it like to be a part of another crazy and amazing Tarantino film?

Dana Gourrier: The first time I worked with Quentin was when I was auditioning for ‘Django’. It was almost a forty-five minute audition for the role of Betina and I gave it everything I got, it wasn’t the right fit. And he [Tarantino] said ‘Before you go, I have another character that isn’t scripted so much yet, but she will grow. Let’s just play a little bit’, and I did. Two weeks later, I found out I booked the role of Cora. It did grow. Four weeks of work turned into three months and I really developed some amazing relationships, not only with Quentin but with Bob Richardson, cast and crew. I was just behind happy to be a part of the project. So when he [Tarantino] called me up, he left me a voicemail and said he wrote a part for me, I was just like holy you know what. It was just like one of those outer body experiences where you’re like ‘Is this real?’ So I heard about this part and what happened happened with this script being leaked and it was all shutdown, so I never knew what I was missing out on because I had never read the script. So when he decided to do it and called me up, I was just like beside myself. The experience of ‘The Hateful Eight’ was very different from ‘Django’ but so similar because a lot of his crew has been with him for decades, literally. He’s very loyal in that way and he makes that evident in the way he casts for his films. He calls them [cast] his Tarantino all-stars. Everyone is kind of like a family you know. I know with some sets, they can be a little disconnected and disjointed but that’s not a Tarantino set. We are like a family, everyone respects each other equally and I believe that’s from a trickle-down effect from who’s at the helm.


This movie was shot in 65mm film to be shown on Ultra Panavision 70, did it affect the way you would normal shoot any other movie with standard film? 

Dana Gourrier: Absolutely, it affects the way that you behave in general. When we began the process, we did a stage reading, then we did a three day rehearsal process like if it was a play, for that. That was back in April of twenty fourteen. Fast forward to November of that same year, we began rehearsal process. Two weeks of rehearsal process, in a makeshift mockup of Minnie’s Haberdashery, with full on props and everything. That was just for the two week process. The reason being was because when we got into that room and when we got on that mountain, there was no time or film to be wasted. Film was extremely expensive especially in 65 mil. You just don’t want to waste it. There’s no time for mistakes. It’s too wasteful. Then shooting happened months later for me after the rehearsal process. My character [Minnie Mink] rolled her own red apple tobacco cigarettes and I would be rolling cigarettes daily, like fifty to a hundred. I was doing it anywhere I went and anywhere I had to sit and wait for anything like a car wash or having a glass of wine. I just kept the rolling paper and the tobacco on me at all times. Whenever I was still, I was rolling a cigarette. It’s that kind of work that you have to put into a project like this because there’s so much at stake. It’s a different kind of pressure, like being in a play.

(Warning: This next question contains spoilers but the answer to the question is quite hilarious)

Tarantino is known for having very unpredictable films, you don’t know who will live or who will die until the end of the film in most cases. When you found out the fate of your character Minnie, how did you feel about it?

Dana Gourrier: I was mortified (laughs). I had to catch my breathe and I was like ‘No! I wanted to make it!’ (laughs). Sorry, it was really that expressive, I yelled out loud. I was really sad about it. That chapter is such a brief moment but it’s so incredibly important. It gives you the visual aid and the name and the breath and the energy of those characters that have been spoken about for chapters. Minnie is spoken about in every chapter, so you need her. There was a lot of pressure there too. ‘People are going to be like who is this Minnie character?’ So I had to do a really good job. But when I found out about my fate, I was really sad but I wasn’t mad when I got into the room with Channing Tatum. I was like ‘honey, if I gotta go out this way, I wouldn’t want it to be by anybody but you boo,’ and he would just die laughing. We were just stupid, we were silly. He was so sweet to me and so was his lovely wife Jenna [Dewan Tatum]. They were really good people. And that’s Quentin. Quentin’s got like a no a-hole policy. You can’t come up to set with an attitude or like a weird energy. You really have to love filmmaking and you really have to love to be there. You have to have respect for filmmaking and love it as much as he does. He is like a walking talking encyclopedia. He knows every movie, every actor. Anything from like ‘Ben-Hur’ to like that Disney movie ‘Brave’.

Do you have any other projects in the works?

Dana Gourrier: Right now, I’m enjoying a great pilot season so far. I did ‘Midnight Special’, which is out in theaters right now and is written and directed by Jeff Nichols, who is an extraordinary man. I’m also doing ‘Togetherness’, an HBO series by the Duplass brothers and those guys…I can’t even begin to say enough great stuff about them, they’re very authentic people.

The Hateful Eight Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and On Demand release date: March 29.

Stay tuned to Age of the Nerd for our review of the Blu-ray combo pack.

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About the Author

Chris Salce
Chris Salce

I’m a pop culture fanatic based out of Southern California. My collection of comics and pop culture memorabilia would even impress The Collector. When I’m not busy writing about pop culture news, doing film reviews or interviewing celebs, my brother and I work on a comic book called Blood-RED (And yes, that was a cheap plug). I have a certificate of completion for a children’s storybook writing program.



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