Reverb’s story “The Hateful Eight” Hates on Six Strings” contains information about the destruction of the priceless 145-years-old instrument that Dick Boak, director of the museum, archives and special projects for C.F. Martin & Co., says the company was not previously aware of.
In the film, John Ruth, played by Kurt Russell, grabs a guitar from Daisy Domergue, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, and smashes it, eliciting horror. However, the smashed guitar was an authentic Martin from the 1870s, on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum, rather than one of several copies on hand for the shoot.
“We were informed that it was an accident on set,” Boak says. “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.”
According to the film’s Academy Award-winning sound mixer Mark Ulano, as quoted in SSNInsider.com, the scene was to be shot up to a certain point, a cut made, the guitar swapped out for a double and for the double to 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 said, as quoted in SSNInsider.com.
As a result of the incident, the company will no longer loan guitars to movies under any circumstances.”
Further, Boak says that Martin did not offer a replacement, as stated in the SSNInsider.com. "As a result of the incident, the company will no longer loan guitars to movies under any circumstances,” Boak says.
To add insult to injury, Boak says the guitar was insured for its purchase price, which doesn’t reflect its value as an irreplaceable museum artifact. Boak also says that Martin requested that the pieces be returned for a possible restoration, not for inclusion in the Martin Museum as stated in SSNInsider.com. “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,” Boak says. “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.”