Quentin Tarantino's latest film "The Hateful Eight," takes place in post-Civil War Wyoming, and is set to be released Christmas Day.
Thermopolis-based tannery Merlin’s Hide Out created the buffalo coats for Kurt Russell’s character in the film, and has released these epic "Big Boys" for purchase.
Merlin and Barb Heinze own the operation, which began back in 2005 out of a hobby. They’ll work with hides from any North American mammal, but Barb says they’re most famous for their buffalo hides. Annually the business sells between 400 and 500 buffalo hides.
Barb said Tarantino’s costume designer Courtney Hoffman contacted them last September about getting some hides to make coats out of. But Merlin’s is also skilled in making buffalo coats, so they were contracted to make some for Kurt Russell’s character. Hoffman says the coat has been dubbed ‘The Big Boy’ on set.
“Kurt loves his costume and a huge part of that is the Buffalo Coat- or ‘The Big Boy’ as we call it! Quentin definitely considers it one of the most iconic parts of The Hateful Eight,” Hoffman said.
“The people I worked with were absolutely phenomenal,” Barb said. While she didn’t get to speak with Tarantino or Russell, she still received their feedback. In all, she said it was “extremely thrilling” to be a small Wyoming business picked to do work for top-tier Hollywood. “It was a lot of fun.”
“The coat was a piece I originally saw in the Autry Museum Archives and was able to see it in person and look at the construction from the 1880s. It is a complicated coat because it incorporates many lengths of hides,” said Hoffman. “I began my search of finding the best person to make 8 of these coats in the country. A lot of people said it couldn’t be done, or the supply in winter hides wouldn’t be possible to accumulate- matching the furs and colors for 8 coats as closely as possible was no easy task. Barb and Merlin’s were always so friendly, so helpful and such ‘YES’ people that I knew very early on the job was theirs. Barb and the team went to great lengths to meet my design and the very quick production turnaround that film people work under. We are fast and furious and she worked around the clock to get it done.”
While this is the first foray into Hollywood for Merlin’s, Barb says it isn’t the last; she just can’t talk about the next project quite yet.
IMDB.com’s synopsis of the movie reads: “In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception.” Read more about the film here; and check out some of images of Merlin’s buffalo coat in action at Entertainment Weekly.
“I am always honored as a member of the film industry to be able to support small businesses and hard working people worldwide,” Hoffman said. “I am so proud of the work we did together and am very excited to say that the coat Merlin’s made will be featured at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage this coming winter on display with the Costumes for the film The Hateful Eight.”
The trailer heavily features Kurt Russell’s character, the Hangman. Throughout, Russell is wearing ‘The Big Boy.’