What is the furthest length you’ve gone to in pursuit of artistic authenticity? Nicking your dad’s black cashmere scarf for that 2K6 Windows movie-maker hood video was pretty mental, true. Raiding SportsDirect for ankle-socks, batty riding velvet shorts and a whistle for your ‘supply P.E teacher’ Halloween costume showed clarity of vision, no doubt. Congratulations, you are an artist. But whilst you may be an artist, Quentin Tarantino is an auteur. Quentin Tarantino is an auteur because he loans priceless musical artefacts in the pursuit of authenticity, only for them to be destroyed on set.
The bald facts are that during filming of The Hateful Eight, Tarantino loaned a 150-year-old Martin guitar for filming and it was smashed into splintered fragments by a frothing, very much up for it, Kurt Russell. The offending scene is the one when character Daisy Domergue (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) starts warbling over the still intact instrument and John Ruth (Russell’s character) decides he’s heard enough of her noise. In a slice of bitter, and soon-to-be infinitely memed, irony, he actually says, “Music time’s over,” before belting the guitar into pieces against a solid oak support. "We were informed that it was an accident on set," said Dick Boak, director of the Martin Guitar Museum. "We assumed that a scaffolding or something fell on it." Presumably, he then saw this.
According to the film's sound mixer, Mark Ulano, the guitar was supposed to be swapped out for a dummy before it was savagely murdered, but it seems Kurt Russell is so method he just couldn't stop. This is obviously incredibly shit news for Martin, who lent the seemingly priceless guitar for filming with the reasonable expectation that it wouldn’t be returned as a mess of masking-taped up splinters and a "Whoops, sorry lads" note. Reports suggest that they took it fairly well though, remarking: "As a result of the incident, the company will no longer loan guitars to movies under any circumstances.” I think it's gonna blow over guys.
So it transpires that Jennifer Leigh’s reaction of horror isn’t genius acting, but the genuine grimace of a person who has seen a slice of musical history senselessly destroyed before their eyes in the name of Kurt Russell’s improbable late career renaissance. I guess that's the sort of authenticity Tarantino was going for.
Next week on Noisey, Tarantino loans and destroys only recovered violin from Titanic on set of new Tim Roth film about men who kill people.
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