The Martin Guitar Museum has vowed never to loan guitars to movies ever again, after a six-string from the 1870s was smashed to pieces on the set of The Hateful Eight.
If you’ve seen the film you may remember prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) strumming melancholically on the antique Martin in Minnie’s Haberdashery, only for John Ruth (Kurt Russell) to grab it from her and smash it on a beam.
“We were informed that it was an accident on set,” said Dick Boak, director of the museum. “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 film’s sound mixer Mark Ulano told SSNInsider the scene was supposed to be shot up to a certain point before cutting, with the guitar being swapped out for a double which would then be smashed.
“Well, somehow that didn’t get communicated to Kurt, so when you see that happen on the frame, Jennifer’s reaction is genuine,” Ulano explained.
To make matters worse, the guitar was only insured for its purchase price – significantly lower than its value as a museum artefact.
“Upon inspection of the pieces, we realized that the guitar was beyond fixing,” Boak said. “It’s destroyed.”
“We want to make sure that people know that the incident was very distressing to us.
“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.
“As a result of the incident, the company will no longer loan guitars to movies under any circumstances.”