J.B. Smoove's Mr. Dell and Martin Starr's Mr. Harrington were comedic stand-outs in Spider-Man: Far From Home. However, they also stood out for being the most inept teachers to ever chaperone a high school field trip. That didn’t prevent them from trying again during a recent press day in support of the release of the Sony Pictures blockbuster on home media. The two spoke with CBR, during which they revealed there was a lot more of Mr. Dell and Mr. Harrington that wasn’t included in the final cut.
According to Starr, the duo did a “fair amount” of improvisation while shooting Far From Home. He and Smoove were given the “freedom to play and find new moments” throughout filming. While he also emphasized the importance of getting the story filmed, he noted the scale of the production gave them the budget and the time to find moments for “extra bonus comedy.” Unfortunately that also meant a lot of those scenes ended up on the cutting-room floor. "There's so much that we did that didn't make the movie that was really grounded but really funny," Smoove confessed.
Starr mentioned one funny running gag that was extremely close to making Far From Home's final cut, but ended up being dropped at the last moment. The idea was the brainchild of director Jon Watts. and Starr and Smoove took it and ran with it.
“Jon Watts had an idea that as we had gone on, Mr. Dell keeps thinking that [Mr. Harrington is] cursed. It became like a runner that we’d find ways to throw into different scenes,” Starr explained as Smoove chuckled. “So every hotel that [Mr. Harrington] sets up, every city that they visit, every opportunity that they have for going to the opera, like everything becomes really just about [Mr. Harrington] being cursed."
Once the Elementals show up, Mr. Dell comes to the conclusion that Mr. Harrington's curse is the reason behind that too. And eventually, after the Elementals attack again, Mr. Harrington decides Mr. Dell must be right.
Starr described what happened when Mr. Harrington attempts to take responsibility for the trouble that he believes his curse has caused: As the Elementals reign down destruction in the river, he tells the kids to go save themselves. Then he approaches the Elementals and screams, “Take me, take me!”
The moment sounds hilarious, and apparently Watts was pleased with it too. “I think… it was the last thing to get cut," Starr said. "I know Jon was fighting for it.”
Although it didn't make it onto the big screen, Starr is realistic about the reasons behind the gag's omission. “There were so many funny moments in [the movie]… that it didn’t need that," he said. "It is a funny moment but it almost kind of takes away from the intensity of the [Elemental] fight anyway.”
Despite the comedy the duo created throughout the movie, Smoove and Starr both emphasized the desire to play their roles as authentically as possible.
“I always believe in playing it real and allowing the funny to come from the real of it,” Smoove said. “Otherwise it becomes too slapsticky… I wanted to really feel like I was there not just for a European trip but I was there to do a damn job. I’m a science teacher!”
Of course, the science part of the trip in Far From Home ended up getting left by the wayside as Mr. Dell, Mr. Harrington, and the kids saw their plans go awry at every turn. And, of course, they spent a lot of time running from Elementals too.
Of those scenes, Smoove noted, “We played it as though we were just trying to keep these kids safe and get them back home to their parents, even though Peter kept disappearing here and there…”
Starr agreed, adding that even though Mr. Harrington was a klutz, “he cared for the kids.”
“I think that’s why the relationship between Mr. Dell and Mr. Harrington works so well.” Smoove observed, “We both had a purpose there.”
Of course, the two characters had very different ideas of how to do their jobs, especially while chaperoning kids in Europe. Those differences are on full display in two deleted scenes from Far From Home that feature Smoove and Starr.
Helmed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Far from Home stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, J.B. Smoove, Jacob Batalon and Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal. Spider-Man: Far From Home is available now on Digital and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD on Oct. 1.