Movies - TV
Steve Martin And John Candy's Improv Got Out Of Hand On Planes, Trains, And Automobiles
By J. GABRIEL WARE
Ad-libbing is imaginative, spontaneous, and it’s an important part of working as a comedian. Considering that filmmaker John Hughes had no problem letting his actors ad-lib, working with him was ideal for comics, like Steve Martin and John Candy, whose ad-libbing on the set of Hughes’ “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” quickly got out of hand.
The issue with ad-libbing is that it’s difficult to film if you’re using only one camera as they were for “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.” The one-shot technique focuses on just one actor as he talks to the other, and then shooting the same scene focusing on the other actor. If you ad-lib, you need to position or constantly move the camera to catch each actor’s response.
As Martin recalled, “It was getting ridiculous, covering everything fifty times if we ad-libbed. This would go on and on and was happening in very different circumstances — like in an outdoor car… It was literally freezing… All this ad-libbing was making the camera crew swing around us in the camera car again and again. Candy and I finally agreed not to ad-lib anymore.”