Movie accidents happen all the time and can lead to incredible reactions from co-stars, which is what happened when Kurt Russell smashed a $40,000 guitar while filming Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. The "eighth" film by the acclaimed director, The Hateful Eight is based around a group of untrustworthy strangers trapped in a house together in the middle of a snowstorm.
The film brought together a vast collection of talent, which has become par for the course with Tarantino movies. Russell stars as bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth, who is transporting his latest prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to her death sentence. When they are stuck with the likes of fellow bounty hunters, the town sheriff, and more, the odd assortment of characters must find a way to pass the time. Chess, reading, and conversation are all options that transpire, but so is music.
During one scene, Daisy is shown playing the guitar and singing along. After listening to her song for a while, John asks if there's another verse - and she indulges him. When she's done singing, however, John suddenly snatches the musical instrument from her grips and smashes it against a nearby pole. Daisy is shocked by this action, but not just because of what John did. As it turns out, the reaction that Jennifer Jason Leigh gives at that moment is genuine because her co-star just smashed a rare, expensive, 150 year-old Martin guitar and not one of the many duplicates made for the film. See this real reaction in the latest Screen Rant video featured at the top of this post.
The guitar was one way that Tarantino wanted to bring a sense of realism to The Hateful Eight. He convinced the Martin Guitar Museum to lend him and the production the one-of-a-kind Martin guitar for this scene alone. The plan was for Jennifer Jason Leigh to play the guitar for this scene, cut so that a duplicate could be put in its place, and then for Russell to destroy it. However, it appears no one told Russell about this plan, so he went through the full scene and destroyed the guitar that was valued at $40,000.
If Russell was never told about the plan for how this scene was going to be filmed, then it is impossible to blame him for destroying the real guitar. Speaking to Billboard about the tragic destruction of the antique guitar, Leigh said "I don’t think Quentin knew that it was the [vintage instrument], either" - which would explain why the director didn't call cut. While this may be a costly mistake to make, this piece of trivia will make you look at the scene differently the next time The Hateful Eight is on. It's impossible not to see Jennifer Jason Leigh's genuine reaction and disbelief over what Kurt Russell just did/