“He knew that I could, in his words, ‘act the … out of it’ and I’m not afraid to take a risk in terms of acting” Jennifer Jason Leigh on Quentin Tarantino
It seems that at least one actor gets nominated for a standout performance in every Quentin Tarantino movie. For The Hateful Eight, that actor is Jennifer Jason Leigh, who spends most of the film getting abused by the vicious male characters and cackling through her broken teeth. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Leigh speaks about her first-even Oscar nomination, the leeway Tarantino gave her with her role, and
Though most actors tend to try to play it cool about being nominated for an Oscar, Leigh admits that her first-ever nomination means a lot to her. She says, “The nomination from something that is so lovely to happen in my life, especially this time in my life. It’s kind of phenomenal. It also keeps the movie alive for me and it keeps all of those connections still happening like it’s not over yet. That’s nice because I’m really not ready to let go of the movie.”
One aspect of her Hateful Eight role that Leigh is particularly proud of is that Tarantino gave her the freedom to find the character on her own. She reveals, “He knew that I could, in his words, ‘act the … out of it’ and I’m not afraid to take a risk in terms of acting. He wanted us to find her very slowly and so really there was no reaching, but that I would own Daisy in such a way, know her so well that I could do sort of anything.” She adds that the fact that Daisy doesn’t talk much until the last third of the movie worked to her advantage because in real life she is a bit reserved. She explains, “That’s something that’s easy for me because I don’t like talking that much. I like talking with my friends, obviously, and my family, but I play things very close to the chest and I’m very private.”
Other challenges for Leigh was the part where Daisy plays guitar — because Leigh didn’t know how to play guitar. She confesses, “I think it’s one of the most brilliant things he did for me as an actress was to give me this task that was kind of insurmountable. I mean I’d never even held a guitar before.”
It was obviously worth it to learn — Leigh is one of the favorites in the Best Supporting Actress category, and might end up cackling her way to an Oscar.