Credit: Andrew Cooper

A random theater audience got a lot more than they bargained for at a screening of The Hateful Eight on Wednesday night.

Director Quentin Tarantino showed up to surprise an unsuspecting Alamo Drafthouse Cinema crowd in Austin, Texas, and joined Alamo founder and CEO Tim League for a post-show Q&A. “You guys are the lucky ones!” League declared to the stunned audience at the only theater in the city equipped for Hateful Eight‘s preferred 70mm format.

Tarantino’s frequent Austin-based collaborator, writer-director Robert Rodriguez, joined the duo on stage and asked The Hateful Eight director about his inspiration for the new film. “I was depressed and angry about a couple things,” Tarantino said. “I had never written a script when I was depressed and angry before. And I think you can kind of tell when watching it … I wrote this, and I felt a lot better!”

The director confirmed the story started as a sequel to his last Western, Django Unchained before he realized it would be a mistake to have even one character whom the audience could trust in the new film. “Django in White Hell was the name of it,” Tarantino said. “All of a sudden it hit me the only thing wrong [with the story] was Django. There should be no moral center. I thought it should be a room of bad guys, and you can’t trust a word anybody says.”

A member of the audience asked the director, who recently has been in the spotlight for criticizing police brutality, what he was trying to say about racial issues with this story.

“The thing about Westerns that I have to offer is that race has been ignored in Westerns,” Tarantino said. “They deal with Indians … [but they otherwise] bend over backwards to ignore it. We weren’t trying to make a relevant movie. But the problems with America back then haven’t been dealt with yet.”

Credit: Alamo Drafthouse
The Hateful Eight
  • Movie
  • R
  • 187 minutes
  • Quentin Tarantino