Cheering on the good guys is easy enough — but what if a movie doesn’t have any? That’s the challenge Quentin Tarantino set for himself in The Hateful Eight, his post-Civil War western about a group of misfit strangers snowbound in the middle of nowhere.

During a recent interview with EW, Tarantino and cast members Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Kurt Russell talked about creating unsavory characters that would grab — and hold — moviegoers’ attention.

“It was important that nobody that I ended up putting in Minnie’s Haberdashery, that shelter against the storm, that they all be bad guys to one degree or another,” Tarantino said. “And if you liked any of them, if you sided with any of them, if you rooted for any of them, that was your choice. And if you did root for somebody, you rooted for them despite their problems, despite their moral failings.”

Leigh and Jackson both spoke of how their characters’ motivations are shrouded in mystery. “I just loved how through a lot of the film [Daisy Domergue] says very little,” Leigh said. “And I think as an actor, there’s so much you can do silently.”

Jackson added, “When you meet Maj. [Marquis] Warren, he’s a specific guy. You know that immediately. You meet him, he’s sitting on three dead bodies in the middle of the road. But being the smartest guy in the room and knowing that something is wrong without kind of telegraphing everything to an audience about what he knows was part of the subtlety of playing that character.”

Watch the full video above. The Hateful Eight opens in select theaters on Christmas Day and wide on New Year’s Day.

The Hateful Eight
  • Movie
  • 187 minutes