You know we’re unabashed music lovers here at Paste. So when we saw The Hateful Eight and watched Kurt Russell yank a beautiful Martin guitar out of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s hands and smash it to bits, we cringed hard. Apparently, so did everyone on set except for Kurt Russell, the only one who didn’t know that he was smashing the actual antique instead of a stunt double.
“The guitar was a loaner from the Martin Guitar Museum and there were six doubles made,” explained sound mixer Mark Ulano in an interview with SSN Insider. “The guitar was from the 1870’s and was priceless. What was supposed to happen was we were supposed to go up to that point, cut, and trade guitars and smash the double. Well, somehow that didn’t get communicated to Kurt, so when you see that happen on the frame, Jennifer’s reaction is genuine.”
Gfycat gif(h/t The Independent)
Yeah, she looks pretty horrified.
Martin is understandably super pissed off, probably because they were lied to about how it happened. At first, when they believed there had been an “accident” on set, they only asked two questions, according to Ulano: “Do you need another one and can we please have all the pieces to display in our museum?”
But when Reverb picked up the real story, Martin responded quickly. “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,” Dick Boak, director of the Martin Guitar Museum, told the site. “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.”
Okay, they didn’t read the script … but this is a Tarantino movie we’re talking about. They had to know that even if the guitar weren’t fated to be smashed, it would probably have returned to them with bits of brain and gore stains that no amount of cleaning could remove.
In any case, according to Boak, Martin is done loaning out guitars for films, period. Although we join the company in their grief over the smashed guitar, we can’t deny that this was a pretty awesome way for the instrument to die.