Anyone familiar with Quentin Tarantino movies knows there’s a lot of blood, a lot of gore, and usually a lot of destruction. Furniture gets shot up and windows are smashed on a frequent basis, so it’s really no surprise that a prop used in Tarantino’s latest film, The Hateful Eight, was destroyed inadvertently by actor Kurt Russell.
The prop was a one-of-a-kind Martin six-string guitar, on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum for the movie. The antique dates back to 1870.
In the scene, Russell’s character, Hangman, grabs the guitar from Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and smashes it to pieces. It turns out that Russell thought it was a copy, not an original.
Needless to say, the Martin museum is not happy.
“We were informed that it was an accident on set,” [museum director Dick] Boak said to Reverb. “We assumed that a scaffolding or something fell on it. We understand that things happen, but at the same time we can’t take this lightly. All this about the guitar being smashed being written into the script and that somebody just didn’t tell the actor, this is all new information to us. We didn’t know anything about the script or Kurt Russell not being told that it was a priceless, irreplaceable artifact from the Martin Museum.”
The Hateful Eight sound mixer Mark Ulano said that Leigh’s horrified onscreen reaction to the destruction of the guitar is “genuine.”
This incident seems to have far-reaching effects, too, at least in terms of Martin antique guitars being used in future movies.
“As a result of the incident, the company will no longer loan guitars to movies under any circumstances,” said Boak.
The guitar was insured for its purchase price, and the museum has been reimbursed. The museum says its value can never be replaced with money.
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