Kurt Russell and I have something in common. We have a habit of breaking nice things we aren’t supposed to break. (Seriously, I’m a grown man, STILL not allowed in nice stores)
There’s a moment on the set of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight in which Kurt Russell’s character, the Hangman takes a guitar and smashes it in anger, because that’s kind of his thing. He’s an angry guy. Not quite as angry as the museum that loaned them the guitar though.
Head-to-toe legit; Quentin Tarantino had borrowed an “irreplaceable artifact” guitar from the 1870’s to use in the film. It was a rare Martin guitar on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum. The plan was supposedly to switch the valuable guitar with one of the several look alike guitars on set, but nobody remembered to you know, tell Kurt Russell that.
Apparently, Jennifer Jason Leigh (playing Daisy Domergue in the scene) knew he wasn’t supposed to bust the guitar to smithereens and her reaction in the scene is totally genuine, as says Mark Ulano; Oscar winning sound mixer for the film:
Tarantino was in a corner of the room with a funny curl on his lips, because he got something out of it with the performance
Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. Here’s where the drama kicks in however; there are conflicting stories on what happened during that awkward phone call to the Martin Guitar Museum, Reverb reports. It was originally reported that Martin had taken the incident like a champ, merely saying:
Do you need another one? and Can we have the pieces to display in our museum?
Whew, we’re in the clear guys. It’s like when your dad doesn’t notice that Babe Ruth signed baseball that you borrowed while he was on a business trip was merely a forgery created by his own son after he accidentally destroyed the ball in an incident with an over-sized dog. Much like in The Sandlot however, it wasn’t that easy. Dick Boak, director of the museum, archives, and special events for the company says it didn’t happen quite like that:
We were informed that it was an accident on set. 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.
Now, I’m merely playing devil’s advocate here but if it were me and Kurt Russell or someone of the like called and was like “Hey dude, your priceless item broke and we’re really sorry”, after telling him how underrated Tango and Cash was, I would have asked him what happened. You never just assume because assumption is the mother of all screw ups. I learned that from Under Siege 2. Also, if I were in Mr. Boak’s shoes I could easily understand wanting to be cool about it in the moment and then realizing I was probably in a boat load of trouble; because my companies irreplaceable guitar just got smashed into oblivion by a bearded bounty hunter. Boak continued:
We want to make sure the 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.
That’s why I never let my friends borrow my blu-rays anymore; it’s just a lose lose situation. In all seriousness, everyone knows how that feels. To actually be the loaner or the loaned and have something go awry. Not a fun situation for anybody, especially when your dealing with something important to you know, the preservation of musical history. Boak went on to say nobody is touching his stuff anymore:
As a result of the incident, the company will no longer loan guitars to movies under any circumstances.
He also says that they wanted the pieces back, not because he thought it was cool or wanted to display a punk rock masterpiece, courtesy Quentin Tarantino; but in the hopes of fixing the historical guitar:
Upon inspection of the pieces, we realized that the guitar was beyond fixing. It’s destroyed.
Well, when the hangman catches you; you hang. That was uncalled for and I apologize. Couldn’t help myself.
There you have it, GeekNation. The sad story of a piece of musical history being lost forever. At-least it was by a talented actor, making a great movie. It could have been worse; it could have been an Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel or something.
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