Steve Martin Says John Candy Brought Him to Tears With Cut ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ Speech

Martin laments how Del’s moving monologue about his life story died on the cutting room floor
Steve Martin Says John Candy Brought Him to Tears With Cut ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ Speech

During the making of Planes, Trains and AutomobilesJohn Candy delivered a monologue that made Steve Martin weep. But we only saw Del get reactions like that from Neal with his “anecdotes.”

On Friday, AppleTV+ released STEVE! (Martin) A Documentary in 2 Pieces, which tells the story of the iconic entertainer’s private and professional lives over the course of his nearly six decades of superstardom. Martin offered many relics and stories from behind the scenes of his many iconic projects to Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville during the course of the double feature, and a few of the touchingly vulnerable moments in STEVE! are enough to make even the most stoic Steve Martin fan shed a tear. Among other sensitive topics discussed in the documentary was Martin’s complicated relationship with his father, whom he says was “a little embarrassed” by his son’s unorthodox career.

But one moment in the documentary stood out as especially tender and unjustly unknown before the premiere of STEVE!. While examining the script of the hit John Hughes comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Martin reveals that, in the original version of the beloved Thanksgiving comedy, Candy’s character Del delivers a lengthy and heartfelt monologue in which he “gives the entire explanation of his life. And I was opposite him. I was weeping as he was performing it.” Martin even choked up while reading the script during the documentary.

Maybe that’s why the speech was snipped from the final cut — the editor accidentally ruined the take when they got their tears on the film.

“He had a beautiful scene,” Martin said of his late co-star Candy, who played Del Griffith, the warm, outgoing and annoyingly talkative traveling salesman with whom Martin’s character Neal Page finds himself stuck during a tumultuous trip to Chicago. Speaking of the monologue in which Del admits that he had no family to whom he’d return, Martin flipped through multiple pages of the Planes, Trains and Automobiles script in front of the camera, saying, “I’m not gonna read the speech, but it’s that long.” What remained in the final cut of the film was little more than Candy’s line, “I don’t have a home.”

The full speech is available to the public in the Planes, Trains and Automobiles screenplay, and it’s every bit as tear-jerking as Martin describes it to be. “There’s a line I loved,” Martin said of the cut speech, quoting Del, “I sort of attach myself to people from time to time, like with you, especially around the holidays. I can take it in March, July, October. But it gets hard.” Martin added with visible emotion, “And then he said, ‘This time, I couldn’t let it go.’”

“It was all cut,” Martin lamented. “I don’t know why it was cut except for tempo, and maybe you’re at the end and you don’t want to hear a long speech. It was cut down to a line or two.” Martin later reflected on his collection of old screenplays, “You pour your heart into these movies. … You’re thinking about it, you’re working hard, you’re doing it. Then two years later, it’s just another title on the video shelf, you know?”

Well, nearly 40 years later, that title in particular is still moving Martin to tears — among others. I don’t think Martin wanted to hurt me when he brought it up, but you try reading that cut speech without getting a little misty.


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