Whoops! It turns out the guitar Kurt Russell smashed in Hateful Eight was a 145-year-old museum piece, and the folks who lent it to the film are not pleased about its destruction. Martin guitar's Dick Boak, who runs the company's museum and archive, told Reverb they won't be loaning out anymore guitars to movie productions after the incident, especially since it seems the production tried to cover up how the guitar met its demise.
"We were informed that it was an accident on set," Boak said. "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."
During a panel discussion for SSNInsider, sound-mixer Mark Ulano said Russell smashed the guitar by mistake due to a miscommunication.
"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 [Jason Leigh]’s reaction is genuine."
After reading the comments online, Boak said, "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."
Apparently everyone on set was "pretty freaked out" when Russell smashed the guitar, and Ulano suggests that Quentin Tarantino was pleased with the genuine reaction it elicited from Leigh. But that's little consolation to Boak, who said the guitar was smashed beyond the possibility of restoration.
"We want to make sure that people know that the incident was very distressing to us," Boak said. "We can’t believe that it happened. I don’t think anything can really remedy this. We’ve been remunerated for the insurance value, but it’s not about the money. It’s about the preservation of American musical history and heritage."