Steve Martin on automotive rental f-bombs
For devoted followers, no Thanksgiving is full with out a serving to of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” which turns 35 on Friday.
The plight of Steve Martin’s uptight promoting govt Neal Web page – who finds himself stranded by journey delays with bathe curtain ring salesman Del Griffith (comedy legend John Sweet) and is simply attempting to get dwelling to his household turkey dinner – is crucial vacation viewing.
“Round Thanksgiving, it is type of omnipresent,” says Martin of the 1987 classic road comedy – now available in a 4K Ultra home release – that has been imbued with even more emotion after the deaths of Candy in 1994 and writer/director John Hughes in 2009.
“It is tragic,” says Martin. “I would like them to see how this film has this momentum. When it got here out, it did high-quality. Nevertheless it was virtually a much bigger hit 10 years after.”
Martin, 77, spoke to USA TODAY about insisting on shooting a car rental scene without f-bombs and the deleted scene he still misses.
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Query: “Planes” was shot over 87 frigid days in climates from Buffalo, New York, to Braidwood, Illinois. How much real travel bled into the movie?
Answer: Everything in the movie happened while shooting the movie, Missed connections, missed planes. So much moving around. We were supposed to shoot in one town, but there was no snow, so we moved everything to Buffalo. Part of the movie’s joke is that John Candy’s Del is wearing a parka while I’m wearing a suit. And it was truly 14 degrees when I’m hiking across that field after the train breaks down.
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There’s a deleted plane scene of John Candy riffing about the effects of “Psycho” on the shower ring business. How much of the movie was ad-libbing?
There was a lot of ad-libbing, because John Hughes loved it. He wouldn’t cut. These are the days of film, so you’d do a scene and hear the film run out (makes spinning noise). John and I would look into each other’s eyes like, “Will we hold going?” Then we’d have to shoot ad-lib reaction shots and the day would be extended to 16 hours. This started as a 145-page script. Eventually we realized that the movie was moving so slowly and weeks behind. John and I made an agreement: No more ad-libbing.
Did either of you break into laughter, especially during the ad-libs?
We laughed a lot. But we did the laughing part before rolling to get that out of our system as we’d work out what we were going to do. The scene in the motel bed with “these aren’t pillows” we got here up with on the set, after which we shot it.
It’s funny how comfortable you two look snuggled up in that motel bed. How was that to shoot?
We were comfortable with each other, we liked each other. He would make me laugh. It’s hard to explain why this was funny, but we were together so much that we would come onto the set and fake beat each other up. Sort of take the frustration out of lengthy days, but laughing.
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Was there ad-lib takes in Neal’s famous rental car tirade?
I did not ad-lib. There’s a certain rhythm to John’s writing. And if you start just saying the f-word anytime you want, it’s just going to fall out of whack and not be poetic.
You write in your new book, “Quantity One Is Strolling: My Life within the Films and Different Diversions,” that you simply shot that scene with out the f-bombs?
I just thought it was practical. In those days, airplanes had cleaned-up versions. I said to (Hughes), “They’ll want it for airplanes.” So we shot it. No swears. It was like, “I need a automotive proper now!” As far as I know, it never saw the light of day or an airplane.
Fast-forward to a now-classic scene. So clearly no regrets about the f-bombs pushing the movie to rated R?
No, it’s a famed scene. Mike Nichols, the great director, told me once, “In each film you do, there ought to be a scene the place you say to your self, can we try this?” That certainly applies here.
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Is there a cut scene you really miss even now?
There’s a scene at the very end where I go back to find John’s character sitting alone in the train station. That’s when the truth comes out. He doesn’t have a home, he just travels. Then he said, “I often I am high-quality. However across the holidays, I often connect myself to somebody. However this time, I could not let go.” It’s a very touching scene. I remember sitting across from John thinking, “Wow, this man is killing this.”
I was surprised the scene was trimmed way down. I never understood why and I didn’t ask John because that’s his business.
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