Kurt Russell accidentally smashed a priceless guitar from 1870 in The Hateful Eight

smashed guitar from hateful eight was priceless martin museum
Martin Guitar, c. 1838 (photo is not of actual guitar used in The Hateful Eight) Wikipedia
The guitar that actor Kurt Russell smashed in Quentin Tarantino’s recent spaghetti western throwback, The Hateful Eight, wasn’t some prop guitar as you might have imagined. In fact, it was an extremely valuable antique from 1870, on loan from the iconic Martin Guitar Company’s own museum.

In a particularly intimate scene in the film, Russell grabs the acoustic from the hands of actress Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character after she plays a song that displeases him, and smashes it violently against a post. On screen, viewers see a genuine reaction following the smashing of the priceless instrument from Jason Leigh — who appears extremely distraught yelling, apparently to off-set production staff, “Whoa, whoa!”

While Jason Leigh was informed of the value of the guitar before it was given to her in the scene, the provenance of the instrument was apparently not related to Russell.

The loaner guitar was supposed to be swapped for one of six doubles that were made for the film before Russell smashed it, according to an interview with Academy Award winning sound mixer Mark Ulano.

“What was supposed to happen was we were supposed to go up to that point, cut, and trade guitars and smash the double,” he said, “Well, somehow that didn’t get communicated to Kurt, so when you see that happen on the frame, Jennifer’s reaction is genuine.”

In a recent interview with Reverb magazine, Martin museum director Dick Boak said that the company was told the guitar was destroyed by an accident on set, but not precisely how it was destroyed.

“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.”

As a result of the incident, the company will no longer loan guitars to films, “under any circumstances,” said Boak. “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.”

On paper, the guitar was insured for what the Museum originally paid for it, about $40,000. But the guitar was likely worth more than that. In 2009, a Martin dating to 1930 sold at a Christie’s auction for over $500,000, though it’s not known if the destroyed guitar has been reassessed since its original purchase.

The pieces of the guitar were returned to the museum, but it was found to be beyond repair.

Movies & TV

Apple TV Plus streaming service recruits Hollywood A-listers to take on Netflix

Apple has an ambitious slate of original programming it has been developing, and now we know where we'll be able to see it. Apple confirmed its new subscription service, Apple TV Plus, and revealed some of the projects it will air.
Movies & TV

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Everything we know so far

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders as a backdrop to tell a story set in bohemian Los Angeles. Here's everything we know so far.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Deadwood, John Wick 3, Shazam, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for John Wick: Chapter 3, Deadwood, Shazam!, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Cold War, Shoplifters, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Cold War follows a tragic romance, The Inventor examines a famous fraud case, and more.
Business

Jordan Peele’s Us knocks off Captain Marvel with record-breaking opening weekend

Oscar-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele's horror movie Us crushed early estimates for its opening weekend with a $70.2 million premiere that made it one of the highest-grossing original, live-action movies of all time.
Movies & TV

Apple teases Monday’s big event with an early look into Steve Jobs Theater

Apple is gearing up for a big event on Monday where it's expected to unveil a video-streaming service. But more than 12 hours before it starts, the company has apparently already cranked up the event's livestream ...
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is minutes away: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.
Apple

Apple’s Netflix competitor Apple TV Plus headlines a barrage of new services

Apple's It's Show Time event in Cupertino, California, is officially over, with the tech giant announcing a new video-streaming service to compete with Netflix and Amazon, a new way to subscribe to paid news outlets, and more.
Home Theater

Apple’s new TV app: All of your shows, on (almost) every device you own

Apple is updating its TV App into a truly cross-platform one-stop shop for all of your movies and TV shows. It will appear on smart TVs and devices from Roku and Amazon, but there are still questions about features and price.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Yesterday’s Apple event was a whiplash-inducing parade of copycat services

Apple showed off a massive barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its Showtime event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.
Home Theater

Apple’s show time event: A whiplash-inducing bundle of copycat services

Apple unleashed a barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its latest event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.