Today, talking with Philadelphia Fox affiliate Fox 59 (via First Showing), Kurt Russell dropped this quote when discussing his upcoming projects:
"I've got a Tarantino project called THE HATEFUL EIGHT that looks like it may go somewhere around the beginning of the year."
This goes against the previous word, which was that filming on THE HATEFUL EIGHT would get going in November, but it confirms that Russell's casting is all-but-locked. The general wisdom is that QT is trying to replicate the incredible roster he culled together for his live-read back in April, which included Russell, as well as Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and James Remar.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT is an ensemble piece, but Russell's character is quite central to the proceedings, and the actor went places with the role onstage that we haven't really seen him go onscreen. Bounty hunter John Ruth is a vicious bastard who doesn't hesitate before drawing down on helpless strangers or mercilessly beating the female prisoner in his custody; not exactly Wyatt Earp behavior. His is perhaps the most crucial casting, and if, for some reason, Tarantino is unable to get the rest of his guys back together for the movie, at least his John Ruth is almost surely going to be just as badass and iconic as he originally envisioned.
If HATEFUL EIGHT shoots early next year, there's a slight chance we'll see it before the end of 2015, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.