40 Lashes Less One

From The Quentin Tarantino Archives


Based on the western novel 40 Lashes Less One by Elmore Leonard, Miramax (now QT) owned the rights to the film and it was rumored since Quentin Tarantino is a big Leonard fan and his film studio owns the rights, that this would get made. The film is about two men facing death in a Yuma prison, one of them black and the other an Apache halfbreed. They are given a chance for freedom if they can hunt down and retrieve five of the most dangerous outlaws of the west. It was rumored to star Samuel L. Jackson and possibly Adam Sandler or Bruce Willis. The film was also possibly to be inspired by Papillion.


Philadelphia Inquirer - Bono and Tarantino have a few good words for Johnny Cash: "Despite his battle with the ravaging neurological disorder Shy-Drager syndrome, Johnny Cash is nearing completion of what has been a dream project - three anthologies of his music, centered on the themes of "Love", "God" and "Murder". Each disc will come with an essay. And how about this? Cash had U2's Bono pen the "God" intro, and murder-minded moviemaker Quentin Tarantino provide the "Murder" piece."

It talks about Bono's part, and then:

"Tarantino, also a longtime Cash devotee, found time to pen "Murder" in the midst of completing three script deals and - very secretively, it seems - directing his first feature since Jackie Brown. His essay parallels Cash's downtrodden gunmen and today's gansta-rap scene."

What could the film be? My best guess would be 40 Lashes (based on Elmore Leonard's Forty Lashes Less One), which was rumored to be Tarantino's next project, until the WWII film news. The Internet Movie Database still lists 40 Lashes, with a release date of 2000. As for the 3 screenplays, maybe 40 Lashes, the WWII film, and an unknown one.

It seems very strange that Quentin would have directed (and written?) a film without ANYONE hearing ANYTHING about it. This, and the three screenplays, would definitely explain why we haven't seen anything since Jackie Brown. Until it's confirmed, though, I'm just going to be taking these as rumors, especially the secret film.

  • AICN - Wednesday, May 16, 2001 - 9:35am - Tarantino Rumor Finally Debunked!!!: Hey folks, Harry here... Finally... Tarantino's publicist, Bumble Ward has addressed the rumor about the 'secret Tarantino film' rumor and said it was, "Fun, but wrong." IndieWire finally was able to nail down someone official to counter the rumor, which we all knew was untrue, but wanted to believe badly. So it is official, there will be no secret film... no 40 LASHES... no Charles Bronson, Fred Williamson.... secret Tarantino Elmore Leonard western...
  • Exclusive interview from April 2007. Click here to read the full interview
  • Tarantino.info: Five years ago there was a rumor, that you were gonna make 40 Lashes Less One, is that still up there somewhere?
  • Quentin Tarantino: Yeah it is, I actually own the rights to that novel. It's a terrific novel. I could never let go of it. I've written about, like 20 pages of the adaptation of it. But I might very well do it some time. It's the only thing that I have just kind of held on to, that I can't quite let go. I might do it some time.
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