It was supposed to be switched with a dummy, but no one told Russell
Viewers of Quentin Tarantino's latest film may remember a brief musical interlude when fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) plays a prison ballad on a guitar found in the cabin in which the characters are trapped.
Angered by a threat worked into the lyrics of the final verse, bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth (Kurt Russell) grabs the guitar and smashes it off a wooden beam.
Leigh's character protests in shock - but the shock was quite genuine. Leigh knew Russell had just smashed a valuable antique.
The guitar, dating from the 1870s, was on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum. Russell was supposed to break one of the several dummy guitars on set, but that was not communicated to him during the shooting of the scene.
According to the London Independent, the museum assumed it was an on-set accident that had damaged the instrument beyond repair, not that it was part of filming.
"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,"said Dick Boak, director of the museum.
"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."
Unfortunately, the guitar was insured only to its cost value, not its full worth - but it's more than that, said Boak:
"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."