“It was certainly a challenge,” admits Fred Raskin during our recent webcam chat (watch below) about editing Quentin Tarantino’s epic western “The Hateful Eight.” He takes us through the arduous task of constructing a compelling narrative based around eight main characters — a collection of killers, bounty hunters, liars, and thieves — trapped inside one room on a cold and snowy night.
Raskin, who started as an assistant editor on Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” before cutting “Django Unchained," explains his process. “You have to establish a lot of different characters, and you have to establish the situation in which they all find themselves. Not only the situation that they find themselves in, but the situation in the world at the time the movie takes place. "
As he clarifies, he wanted to show "how all of these characters have been devastated by the Civil War, what it’s impact has been on all of them, and making sure that is very clearly established in the early part of the movie was key in making sure that the last part of the movie actually works.”
One of his biggest challenges was the flow of a film that runs 187 minutes. “The pace of a Tarantino movie is dictated by the footage that he’s shot and the screenplay that he’s written,” says Raskin. As for his contribution, “I generally boil everything down to story, character, atmosphere. If something in the movie is not contributing to one of those three things, it probably isn’t necessary. So there were a number of things that we jettisoned.”
Raskin received a BAFTA nomination for his work on “Django,” as well as an American Cinema Editors bid for “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
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"The Hateful Eight " photo credit: The Weinstein Company