Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Friday, February 28, 2003

Whole lotta pictures from the movie

She liked it, she really really liked it

Bringing Down the House (Movie Review)
("B+ -- The ultimate crowd-pleasing comedy")
by Lee Tistaert
Bringing Down the House is the comedic experience you always dream for, but rarely get in return. In a sense, this is the definition of entertainment at its ultimate best.

This is one of the biggest surprises I’ve had in a long while, as I wasn’t expecting a great movie but more so just a light entertainment piece. But just a few minutes in, this flick had the giggles going already. The shock really comes considering that the theatrical preview is so brief and minimal in material that any regular filmgoer wouldn’t instantly brand it as a great funny diversion. This is one of those few great occurrences where so little is mentioned in the preview, leaving oh-so-plenty to be digested as it all comes to play. When you’re not laughing, you’re having a great time, which isn’t a frequent routine at the movies.
The film stars Steve Martin as a divorced man (Peter) who’s lonely and looking for something new and special in his life. The flick opens as Peter is chatting online with a woman named Charlene, someone who he believes to be a white blonde. Soon enough, they decide to meet up, but little does Peter know that the real Charlene is a big and aggressive black woman (Queen Latifah), also happening to be on the loose from jail. Such leads into a very humorous segment as the two get together, with Martin’s facial expressions and overall remarks only adding to the comedic power brought on my Latifah. Just when I thought the guys-night-out trio of Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Vince Vaughn (Old School) was the dream cast, Martin and Latifah prove that just because it says PG-13 in the MPAA section doesn’t mean you still can’t be hilariously funny.

Bringing Down the House asks the question of what would happen if a fish-out-of-water woman were placed into the life of an uptight and lonely older man. But it also suggests that it is usually never too late to turn your personality around if the opposite side is more hopeful, or more so, a state of mind adjustment. And while some of this may come off cheesy or corny now, believe me when I tell you that this film is so hysterical and downright fun that it doesn’t even sink in to a sappy extent. Instead of making it a soap opera feast and expecting the audience to thoroughly get into deep relations with the emotions at play (which would’ve been the very wrong route; see The Recruit, Shanghai Knights, and Daredevil), the script allows the laughs to be the experience. And boy, does this House have laughs.

A lot of the comedy revolves around Charlene winning over Peter’s family and gradually becoming a positive angle of his life, with the brief occasions of Peter’s best friend, Howie (Eugene Levy), hitting on her and attempting to fit in with the ghetto nature. In one angle, Bringing Down the House doesn’t really have a plot or a big goal to achieve in the end. And in a sense, such makes the experience feel like you’ve been in the theater for a while. But on the other hand, if you’re having a terrific time it doesn’t even matter. The fact that this comedy has no real big landmark to reach at its climax then leaves it up to the laughter and the actor chemistry to permit the experience to be really enjoyable, and boy does it succeed in that division.

Kind of like Old School, descriptions of why scenes are so laugh-out-loud funny cannot be theoretically explained in a review, as words cannot justify the real thing. The closest I can come to drawing it out is that the comedic chemistry between Steve Martin and Queen Latifah is so genuine. When you’re not wiping the half-baked tear from your eyes from chuckling so damn much, you’re grinning from the sheer fact that duos like this don’t show up all that often. While Bringing Down the House lacks the witty nature of Bowfinger’s script, this film is really not that far away from achieving such a status.

Martin brings along an innocent charm that isn’t seen all that often, and quite frankly makes you wish he had more of these projects lined up. His performance here somewhat goes back to the Father of the Bride days where older moviegoers are probably not going to be the only demographic having a blast. While not as silly natured as Bride, Bringing Down the House really appeals to most of the ages on the board. The audience in attendance at the sold-out sneak preview ranged from 15 – 55 in age, with claps and cheers even going into the air at various moments of the show; and those cheering were sometimes young adults.

I’m not a very big Queen Latifah fan, but I really adored her here. I didn’t think she was that great in Chicago, but she did well in Living Out Loud. Bringing Down lets the actress run loose with both her physical humor along with her ability at running away with the dialogue and absolutely having a ball with what she’s performing. It’s ghetto talk under the confinements of the MPAA, and if elsewhere screenwriters discovered that it’s actually possible to whip up big laughs without foul language, well, this comedy would really be one of their best evidences. If you’re turned off by the slapstick nature of the concluding gag in the trailer, please, please, please note that that’s about as stupid as it ever gets in this flick; that’s actually one of the smallest jokes in the film.

I’ve always loved Eugene Levy as a comedian, as he’s constantly held a talent of giving hilarious deadpan deliveries with his characters (American Pie 1 & 2, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman). Here, Levy supplies the usual shtick one would expect to find in a comedy of his. He’s sort of like the goofball sidekick who isn’t stupid enough to shun; he’s so enthusiastic about what he does, role wise, that the enthusiasm and easy charm rubs off the viewer so easily. Levy’s the supporting comedian you wish were around more often or at least in these types of roles. While the trailer does reveal one of the more amusing moments of his, Levy holds some truly bright spots that really bounce off well with Martin and Latifah assisting in the enjoyment factor.

Bringing Down the House is that rare film that comes along that can really surprise the hell out of someone. A simple trailer hinting at its rather goofball, silly tone, even if rather amusing, turning out to be one of the most entertaining comedies to come out for all ages in quite a long time. I wasn’t expecting to laugh on a consistent basis, but found myself having as grand of a movie-going time as I witnessed at Old School. And that really says a lot, being as though the vulgarity and foul nature of OS’s script is what makes it such a great pleasure to begin with (adding on the charisma of the cast).

Bringing Down is fine evidence that you can still be hysterical without being offensive even if it’s in a humorous fashion. This flick brings back the olden days of romantic comedies I have so missed a la Nine Months and even Mrs. Doubtfire (even if such is more of a general comedy), where not only is viewer contentment present but the crowd reactions are part of the experience. If anybody’s with a fun audience once this comedy debuts in theaters, watching Martin break out with his inner ghetto self can leave houses applauding. Bringing Down the House is the ultimate crowd-pleasing comedy to be released in many months (I can’t even remember the last flick offhand), and in the end, even if you didn’t learn anything significant, you’ll know you still had a terrific time.

Grade: B+


A veeeeeery long article on BDtH, but worth it

Peter Sanderson (STEVE MARTIN) is a divorced, straight-laced, uptight attorney who still loves his ex-wife (JEAN SMART) and can't figure out what he did wrong to make her leave him. However, Peter's trying to move on, and he's smitten with a brainy, bombshell barrister he's been chatting with on-line. However, when she comes to his house for their first face to face, she isn't refined, isn't Ivy League, and isn't even a lawyer. Instead, it's Charlene (QUEEN LATIFAH), a prison escapee who's proclaiming her innocence and wants Peter to help clear her name. But Peter wants nothing to do with her, prompting the loud and shocking Charlene to turn Peter's perfectly ordered life upside down, jeopardizing his effort to get back with his wife and woo a billion dollar client (JOAN PLOWRIGHT). In the end, our unlikely pair has the chance to put each other's lives on higher ground... if they don't end up bringing down the house. -- © Touchstone Pictures



"I'm fascinated by stories where an outsider comes into a world that seems to be on course and shakes everybody up," says David Hoberman, producer of Touchstone Pictures' new comedy, "Bringing Down the House." "In this type of film, everybody ends up growing, but not without a lot of pain, suffering and comedy in the middle." After previously seeing such similar outrageous comedies as "Ruthless People," "The Ref," and "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" to the screen, Hoberman saw similar promise for this film. And he had the perfect foil, the perfect buttoned-up casualty, in Steve Martin, who he'd previously worked with on the comedy hit "Father of the Bride."

"I think Steve was eager to get back to doing a mainstream comedy, and we were thrilled to have him," says Hoberman. "Steve is so wonderful when he plays characters who are put upon, and where he can be silly, ‘wild and crazy.'And he'd get to do all that in this film."

Martin agrees. "This was a broad physical comedy, and I hadn't done a film like that in a while. And it was outrageous – the script reminded me of something from the 1980s – sort of raunchy and freewheeling. I was excited about it."

"What I particularly connected with in our story is the idea that we are sometimes given gifts by the unlikeliest of people in the unlikeliest of forms," says Ashok Amritraj, producer of the film. "In this case, Queen Latifah gives Steve's character the permission to be, publicly, that person that he rarely lets the world see. The bottom line is that they are just magical together."

Martin found his character irresistible. "Peter Sanderson is a guy who has a very conservative lifestyle, and he's working too hard. That's driven his wife away, but he's still in love with her. So when Charlene enters his life, she turns it upside down, and ends up making him more attractive to his ex."

Martin also was attracted by the possibility of performing in a riotous, over-the-top comedy after writing more cerebral comic fare, including his play, "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," and his novella, "Shopgirl." "It's just the nature of the media that when I write, it's more cerebral, but when I act in a movie, it's more physical," he says.

Martin, who is not a computer addict or chat room participant by any means ("I stick to e-mail," he says), related to Peter on a basic level. "He's a straight guy and I'm basically a straight guy. It's great, because the straighter the guy, the funnier the scenes can become. Pure comedy is about contradictory people meeting each other," he relates.

Martin, who plays a dad to two kids in "Bringing Down the House," has come to enjoy playing dads, as he's done so brilliantly in two "Father of the Bride" films and "Parenthood." "I like the underlying sense of warmth of a dad with his kids that goes through these movies. And it's also a good source for humor because ‘the dad' is always supposed to be steadfast and strong and not make mistakes. So a lot of comedy comes out of that too."

Queen Latifah joined the cast as the unstoppable force that enters Peter's life. Hoberman was a fan of the multi-talented star. "I always thought she was really gifted; she could sing, she was funny, and I loved her in 'Living Out Loud.'"

Queen Latifah, who is also an executive producer of the film, brought a different point of view to the script. "There are a lot of controversial jokes in the film, and we'd go back and forth figuring out what was offensive, what was funny, and what was offensive but funny enough to get over-the-top," says Queen Latifah.

The actress describes her character, Charlene, as "ghetto fabulous and smart; she's just made some bad choices." She enters Peter's life like a pit bull without a leash.

Now that the two stars were on board, the production took on the important task of finding the perfect director for the material. Adam Shankman was everyone's choice.

"I think Adam brought it all together," says producer Ashok Amritraj. "We knew his rapport with the actors would bring out their best." Steve Martin felt he was in good hands with Shankman. "I saw 'The Wedding Planner' and thought it was fabulous. I could tell that Adam had a good, sharp comic sense," he says.

Shankman was elated about the project. "It's a big, broad, urban comedy with an edge, which is something a little different for me," says Shankman. "And the chance to work with Queen Latifah and Steve Martin, who's been my idol for years, was just a surreal opportunity," he enthuses.

Shankman was also interested in the heart of the story. "The dangers of online dating is our opening warning wink," he says. But the bond that forms between the mismatched pair is the eye-opener, to the director. "Peter and Charlene come from different worlds. And therefore, they behave in a certain way because of where they're from not who they are," he says. "So if you peel their outer shells away, they can relate to and teach each other a few important things about family and self respect."

One thing Shankman didn't have to do was teach either actor about comedy. "I wanted to make a real traditional Steve Martin movie, like 'All of Me' and 'Father of the Bride,'" says Shankman. "And I told Steve that I wanted him to do the really Steve Martin-y things in this film. It's all very intangible, but he's charismatic without trying. And his comic style is the blueprint for my generation's physical, high-energy humor. No one does it like Steve. Also, I think you'll see him at his suburban best in this film."

Shankman was "blown away with Queen Latifah's comedy chops," he says. "She's fearless and doesn't mind playing the fool; she allows herself to look pretty crazy in the film. And she completely keeps up with Steve. In fact, she seems much more seasoned than her comic resume belies."


The filmmakers of "Bringing Down the House" assembled an extraordinary ensemble of supporting actors to convey the story beginning with Eugene Levy as Peter's eccentric law firm colleague, Howie. Levy, who has in recent years become an audience favorite after his performances in such films as "American Pie," was delighted to play Howie. Unlike his best buddy Peter, Howie has an immediate animal attraction for Charlene. "Howie likes gals who are a little unorthodox and like to have fun, and Charlene fit that description," Levy says.

Levy was also excited about working with Steve Martin again. "We'd worked together briefly on 'Father of the Bride II,' but 'Bringing Down the House' was great because we got a chance to play with the scenes and kick around some ideas," enthuses Levy. "Eugene and Steve would often discuss different lines and the mechanics of a scene before we shot it," notes Shankman.

Queen Latifah became a sort of Henry Higgins-inreverse to her co-stars. "She taught us the street language," says Levy, "like, 'You got me straight trippin', Boo' – which I still don't have a clue about what it means."

At first, Steve Martin may also have not understood the translation of English into the street lingo that Queen Latifah was teaching him or what he was actually saying in the film sometimes. "But like me, my character, Peter, was also just copying what he'd heard somewhere. However, I got interested in finding out, for my own information, what it meant. And when it was explained to me, I thought, 'Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense.' It was a kind of cool slang," says Martin.

Queen Latifah was happy being the student to these two comic veterans. "These guys are flawless. They're the best. I'm the young one around here; I'm the junior. I'm learning so much from them.

"I was also impressed with Steve's versatility; doing a scene differently with each take," she relates. Interestingly, Martin credits actress Diane Keaton, his co-star in the two "Father of the Bride" hits, as his inspiration. "Diane was the best person I ever saw make a scene fresh and new with each take. And remembering that, I think I was a little more spontaneous on this film," he says.

Joan Plowright was cast as Mrs. Arness, the wealthy dowager client that Peter is trying to land. Plowright liked the diversity of her character. "She's a 70-year-old, rigidly conservative battle axe who becomes a little more carefree by the end of the film," describes Plowright.

The veteran actress gave high marks to her director, Shankman. "Adam creates a very relaxed atmosphere on the set. He likes a lot of input, and allows you to have a go at an idea even if it turns out to be rubbish. But he's also very careful to pull you back if it isn't what he has in mind," she says.

The stunning Missi Pyle plays Ashley, Peter's ex-sister-in-law. "Ashley is materialistic, self-centered and smart. Actually she's a geriatric gold digger," Pyle confesses. "But I also think she's a little misunderstood. She's going after these rich old men to protect herself... when her beauty fades, she might need some insurance."

Shankman was very impressed with the actress on their first meeting. "Missi walked into the room and it was like 'Twister'; everything blew up. She's got such a presence, a lot of vavoom, and her comic timing is superb," he says.

Seasoned actress Betty White's comic timing wasn't lost on Shankman either. In fact, he was so excited when she came in to meet with him for the role of Mrs. Klein, Peter's racist next-door neighbor, that the director literally knelt at her feet. "I said, 'Oh, Miss White, it would make me the happiest man on the planet if you'd act in our film.' I just knew she would be great as this smiling, cookie-baking bigot," he relates.

Steve Martin had similar adulation for White. "Betty has always been an idol for me because as a child, I used to watch her on 'The Betty White Show.' And then when I was about 20, when I was doing my act at the Troubadour nightclub in L.A., she and her husband Allen Ludden stopped me after the show and said 'Hey, we think you're funny.'And I thought, 'Wow, Betty White thinks I'm funny.' And now that I'm working with her, it's such a thrill; she's just as happy and bawdy and present as anyone you could wish for," he says.

White describes her character, Mrs. Klein, as "prissy and frank. She borders on rude really. And it never crosses her mind to think that what she's saying might offend anyone," she says. White also relates Mrs. Klein to a television icon. "My character is over the top in 'Bringing Down the House,' but it's done with fun, and the audience will take it that way. After all, Archie Bunker from 'All in the Family'was outrageous but we all had a good time with him."

Versatile actress Jean Smart was cast as Peter's long-suffering ex-wife, Kate. She was impressed by the chance to work with her co-stars. "Steve and I had met socially but never worked together before and I was thrilled. He was so kind to me and kept me laughing constantly! He's also extremely intelligent. Queen Latifah really impressed me; she's a terrific actress and gorgeous, too!"

"For Kate, it's a case of 'can't live with him, can't live without him,'" Smart says about her character. "So when she sees him start to loosen up, under Charlene's influence, she sees the reason she fell in love in the first place."

Smart also praises her director. "Adam's great. He always knows exactly what the scene needs and he's great at expressing it to you, and at the same time, he gives you the room to improvise. He is so much fun; we worked together once before so I was really looking forward to working with him again."

Other key roles in "Bringing Down the House" were filled by Kimberly J. Brown and Angus T. Jones as Peter's kids, Michael Rosenbaum as Peter's office thorn in his foot, and Steve Harris as Charlene's ex-boyfriend.

As Shankman notes, "We have a collection of wonderful actors that make each and every character ring true."


"Bringing Down the House" got underway on a beautiful tree-lined street in Pasadena, California where Charlene invades Peter's perfectly ordered house. The production then shifted to downtown L.A. for a South Central hip-hop nightclub scene where Peter insinuates himself into Charlene's world. These early sequences set the comedic tone for the duration of filming.

Julio Macat's cinematography was a key element in defining the film's overall visual style. "A lot of humor in the film grows out of the juxtaposition of Charlene's inner city environment and Peter's warmer, suburban milieu," says Macat. "In order for it to work, both worlds must look real."

Also, Macat, who is no stranger to comedies (he was the cinematographer on Shankman's first feature "The Wedding Planner"), thinks they should be photographed differently. "I light comedies fuller and richer to be able to capture the reactions of the characters. Reactions are the heart of the humor," he notes.

Production Designer Linda DeScenna proceeded in a similar fashion. From the urbanity of Charlene's sphere, to Peter's downtown corporate office, to his stylish, pristine home interior built on a Disney sound stage, "Every set reflected its purpose," she says. Completing the overall look, Costume designer, Pam Withers, who also worked with Shankman on "The Wedding Planner," collaborated with him and Queen Latifah on her unique wardrobe for "Bringing Down the House." "I wanted it loud and ghetto," states Shankman.

"We went over a lot of photos and tear sheets before we began production," says Queen Latifah. "And I'm not a little girl, you know. I'm a big, sexy woman, so you have to dress me appropriately. Also, Charlene has a specific urban hip-hop style. So we wanted to capitalize on that."

Withers concurs. "We tied up, cut up, and jazzed up her wardrobe with rhinestones, because Charlene has her own fashion flair but few resources. So she uses kitchen scissors or shoelaces to add some spice to her own ordinary clothing."

For the point in the film when Charlene – fed up with Ashley's racial slurs – engages her counterpart in a knock-down, drag-out catfight, Shankman enlisted the expertise of stunt coordinator John Medlen for the scene. The two talents had worked together on TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," so they had a built-in shorthand regarding the scene's choreography, which took three days of rehearsals and two days of shooting for the two minutes of screen time.

"Adam wanted the comedy and action to be based on their two different worlds; Charlene's street-fighting 'I'm gonna get you' moves versus Ashley's stylized, Tae-Bo technique," says Medlen.

Pyle, who is belted in Tae Kwon Do, was thrilled to have the chance to show her stuff. "Ashley thinks she can take on Charlene because she's gone to Tae Bo exercise classes 'two hours a day, five days a week,'" Pyle quips. Her real martial arts background helped her to "go the distance" during the two days of filming the fight.

Shankman brought in his dance colleagues Anne Fletcher and Chris Judd to choreograph the hip hop and dinner club scenes with Steve Martin and Queen Latifah and dozens of dancers/extras. "The idea of the scene was that Peter doesn't know this music or how to dance to it, so I showed him a few basic moves, and let him go wild," says Fletcher.

"I flipped myself around and had fun doing it," says Martin.

For the dinner club scene, Martin had to be a little more contained, yet still uncoordinated. "I'm not a dancer; I'm Mr. Clunky even when coached," says Martin. "And Queen Latifah naturally moves really well. So we weren't exactly Astaire and Rogers; we were more like Soupy Sales and Rogers. But that's the way the scene was supposed to be anyway."

Queen Latifah is not only adept on the dance floor, but also a Grammy Award-winning rap artist. She and her partner Shakim Compere will be executive producing the soundtrack for the film. "Before we started production, Adam (who has a great musical ear) and I knew we wanted music to be a real big element in this film, to give it the right momentum," says Queen Latifah. "There are night club and backyard party scenes which cry out for great hip hop songs."

Shankman concurs: "The overall feeling of the film is still a traditional Steve Martin comedy, so the score will have emotion and comic beats. But everything is going to have hip hop rhythms underneath it. To that end, Queen Latifah has a song in the film, featuring Mario Winans, called 'Do Your Thing.' Also, Queen has recorded a bonus single for the soundtrack called 'Better Than the Rest.' In addition, there are some brilliant R&B songs, ranging from Barry White's 'I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Babe,' to Kelly Price's cover of 'Ain't Nobody,' which was a hit for Chaka Khan."

Thursday, February 27, 2003

A correction

on tuesday, 25 Feb 2003, i said:

On Sunday, Steve was in Aspen. On Monday NYC. On Wednesday, NYC, the back to Aspen.

i was wrong. apparently he was in l.a. for the taping of the view on wednesday. so, on sunday, aspen. monday, nyc. wednesday morning, l.a. wednesday evening, aspen.

i was also right. the man IS peripatetic.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

An interesting article divided pretty evenly between Queen Latifah and Steve

BPI Entertainment News Wire
February 26, 2003, Wednesday 02:38 PM Eastern Time
Entertainment News
Fun 'House'
ANGELA DAWSON, Entertainment News Wire

LOS ANGELES: As host of the upcoming Academy Awards, Steve Martin vows to play no favorites among the nominees. With one exception: Best Supporting Actress candidate Queen Latifah.

Martin admits he'll be quietly rooting for the 32-year-old rapper-turned-movie star, whose performance as a singing wheeler-dealer prison matron in "Chicago" has garnered her the coveted nod. She also happens to be his co-star in the new comedy "Bringing Down the House."

"What's good for the Queen is good for Steve," says the veteran actor. Martin, 57, reveals he knew little about his co-star when he signed on to do the film but soon discovered "a warm, happy, loving person" in Queen Latifah (born Dana Owens), when they were cast as opposites whose paths cross.

"I knew who she was and I'd heard her music," says the white-haired funnyman. "But I didn't know things like she had had a talk show until we were shooting."

In the film, Martin plays Peter Sanderson, an uptight workaholic tax attorney still carrying a torch for his ex-wife, Kate (Jean Smart). Reluctantly moving on with his life, Peter meets a woman he thinks is a pretty blond attorney in an Internet chat room and invites her to his home for dinner. To his surprise, big, buxom African-American beauty Charlene Morton (Latifah) turns up on his doorstep instead. Turns out that Charlene is not really an attorney at all but a recent prison escapee looking for legal help to clear her name. Peter tries everything to drive her away, but Charlene is determined to stay put until he resolves her case.

Peter's new living arrangement doesn't sit well with his nosy neighbor, Mrs. Kline (Betty White); his finicky prospective client, Mrs. Arness (Joan Plowright); or his WASPy ex-sister-in-law Ashley (Missi Pyle). Only his colleague, Howie (Eugene Levy), seems to appreciate the beauty and wonder that is Charlene. Gradually, Peter learns to loosen up and have fun, hip-hop style.

For Queen Latifah -- her name is Arabic for "delicate and sensitive" -- the role of Charlene was a fun challenge. "I'm rebellious, like Charlene," says the actress. "I don't want to fit into other people's idea of me. Charlene's smart. I'm smart. She feels like she can be smart without having to be like anybody else. That's part of what she goes through that I can relate to. But she's a little more ghetto than me."

Like Charlene, Queen Latifah doesn't let little problems get in the way of her goals. An emergency dental procedure that morning doesn't hinder the actress from dutifully promoting her new movie.

Also like her character, she's had a few scrapes with the law. In 1996, the New Jersey-born actress was pulled over in L.A. for speeding and found to be carrying a loaded pistol and marijuana. It's something she's not proud of.

"I don't think it's sexy to have a record," she says softly. "But it happens."

She asserts that rappers and actors who boast of their criminal past are misguided. "If it's so fly, why don't they tell their kids to do it?" she asks. "It's bull----. Don't believe the hype."

Her latest arrest came in November, when she was pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving. She pleaded guilty to reckless driving earlier this year but declines to comment on whether she has completed a court-ordered alcohol treatment program.

She maintains that she was carrying the gun in her car in the earlier incident because she had previously been carjacked and feared for her safety. Still, she acknowledges she should have gotten a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

"If I had thought and done it the right way, just like if I had hired a car that other night, I wouldn't have had any problems," she says. "Sometimes it's really just about slowing down and doing things the correct way from the beginning."

Latifah is hoping to put her past transgressions behind her and focus on the positive things she wants to accomplish. Aside from being the "first lady of rap," the Grammy winner also manages other artists and has her own record label. She also serves as co-chairwoman for a financial aid program for young scholars set up to honor her brother, a police officer killed off-duty in a motorcycle accident several years ago.

Queen Latifah started out as a human beat box alongside female rapping group Ladies Fresh. She was 18 when she released her debut single, "Wrath of My Madness," in 1988. She made her film debut in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" in 1992, becoming one of the first rap artists to cross over successfully into film.

Early on, she enlisted the aid of an acting coach, who guided her through her first few films. "I knew there were things I should learn," she recalls. And one of those was "if I was going to be great, I had to have training."

Over the past decade, she's appeared in more than a dozen movies (including "House Party 2," "Living Out Loud," "The Bone Collector" and "Brown Sugar"), as well as the TV sitcom "Living Single." But it is her star-making turn as "Mama" Morton in "Chicago" that has shot her into the stratosphere. She was a Golden Globe nominee and recently named a Screen Actors Guild nominee for that performance.

"I just think it's her time," says Adam Shankman, director of "Bringing Down the House." "She's like a real person because she is a real person. That's part of the 'It' factor she has. She's not putting on anything. Her character comes out of her."

With "Bringing Down the House," Latifah is adding executive producer to her list of titles. She liked Jason Filardi's screenplay from the start, although she recognized that some changes would have to be made to get the tone of the movie just right. "We chopped a lot of the fat out and the super-offensive things from the beginning," she says.

Yet the film maintains an edginess that might leave some politically correct viewers uncomfortable, since it deals with issues of race and class in a straightforward if lighthearted way.

"Anytime you break a taboo it can produce a lot of laughs," observes Martin, who played a simpleton raised by a black family in his first movie, "The Jerk."

One funny scene is when Charlene introduces Peter to hip-hop dancing during an evening out. The image of a middle-aged white guy dancing between two voluptuous black women is inherently funny, but even more so in the hands of a physical comedy veteran like Martin.

"We are very different, but we connect on a comedic level," Latifah says of her co-star. "There's no lengths to which we won't go. We'll go all the way there. We're willing to let it go."

Anative of Waco, Texas, Martin admits he knew very little about hip-hop, or dancing to it, before making "Bringing Down the House." Nevertheless, he says with a smile, "it actually kind of works for me, because I look a little awkward doing it, which is what we wanted."

"Bringing Down the House" marks a return to mainstream comedy for Martin, who for the past decade has explored other aspects of his creativity. He's become a playwright ("Picasso at the Lapin Agile") and a best-selling author. "Pure Drivel," a collection of his witty short stories, was published in 1998. He adapted "Shopgirl," his first novella, into a screenplay, which will go into production later this year. He is also writing a second book titled "The Pleasure of My Company." His last mainstream comedy, 1999's "Bowfinger," received mixed reviews.

Anyone over 35 will remember Martin for his comedy routines on "Saturday Night Live," where he was a frequent guest host (though never a cast member) in the show's early years. He and Dan Aykroyd, playing new arrivals from Eastern Europe, had a recurring skit in which they popularized the catchphrase "We are two wild and crazy guys!" He also popularized another catchphrase, "Excuuuse me!"

Though busy preparing for his second time hosting the Oscars, Martin made a surprise cameo recently on his old show, turning up during the Weekend Update segment behind co-anchors Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon. Fallon, coincidentally, will co-star with Martin in "Shopgirl," along with Claire Danes.

Martin says he didn't realize that "Bringing Down the House" would require such physical demands when he first signed on. "It just sort of worked out that way," he notes.

During his press conference, Martin displays the quick wit that got him noticed in comedy more than three decades ago.

Asked how he chooses his roles, Martin deadpans, "Poorly."

Asked how he and his co-stars passed the time during takes, he retorts, "Intercourse."

Joking aside, Martin says he's content at this stage of his career.

"The drudgery of making a movie can only be ameliorated by the fun you have making it," he says. "Working with funny people like Queen Latifah, Eugene Levy and Adam (Shankman), make you feel like you're in a creative space and that really brings it to life."


Steve is dating Anne Stringfield, says the gossip columns

and there's a nice pic of Steve. get it while you can.
Page Six
26 Feb 2003
Steve's Squeze
THE alliance between Steve Martin and the New Yorker is getting nice and cozy. The actor-director-novelist is dating the magazine's deputy head of fact-checking, Anne Stringfield. The pair have been together since December, when Martin took the fetching journo with him to the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., says a source. Stringfield, 31, a devotee of sport fishing, has been the object of many a crush at the Conde Nast building.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

A positive review for BDtH

with a tip of the hat to CHFDigital who put me on to this.

Review: "Bringing Down the House"
By Sandra
Review Date: February 25, 2003

"Bringing Down the House," the new film from director Adam Shankman, is lively, jazzy and spirited. Although it registers as perhaps a 1 on an intellectual scale, it's just a rockin' good time at the movies.

Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is a straight-laced, white tax attorney. He is divorced from his ex-wife Kate (Jean Smart), who he still loves. Peter and Kate also have two children, Sarah (Kimberly J. Brown) and Georgey (Angus T. Jones). Sarah is becoming a rebellious teenager, and Georgey doesn't know how to read. Peter doesn't really understand how to connect with his children. We also see that Peter has become Internet pen pals with a supposed lawyer named Charlene, who uses sophisticated legal jargon. She sends Peter a picture of her, and we see that she is a tall, beautiful blonde woman. They make plans to meet at Peter's house.

Peter is bewildered when Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah) shows up at his door. Charlene is a big, sassy African-American ex-convict who claims that she is innocent. She disrupts Peter's life, but he is about to get a big client in the form of Mrs. Arness (Joan Plowright), a snooty old woman. Peter promises he will work on Charlene's case and give her a place to stay if she stays out of the way most of the time. Peter's best friend, Howie (Eugene Levy) ends up falling for Charlene, and Charlene helps Peter get in touch with his children, and helps him try to get back with his wife. But is Charlene the lovable woman she makes herself out to be or is she really a dangerous criminal?

Steve Martin is one of the most gifted comedians of all time. Although he has been much better before, Martin is a wonderful "straight" man to Queen Latifah. The scene where he goes into a ghetto club, acting like a so-called "wigger," is one of the movie's highlights. Queen Latifah finally gets a starring role in a major motion picture, after years of playing supporting characters. Coupled with the recent Oscar nomination Latifah just received for "Chicago," 2003 should be a very good year for her.

Eugene Levy, who is hilarious in everything I've ever seen him in, steals all of his scenes, despite the fact the part is underwritten. Jean Smart's role doesn't have much substance, but she looks lovely and we can understand why Peter still loves her. Kimberly J. Brown and Angus T. Jones are also OK as the kids. Joan Plowright turns in an unexpected performance as a snooty, rich old hag who ends up getting, how should I say this, "hungry" near the end of the movie. Also turning in a deliciously nasty performances are Missi Pyle and Betty White, as Kate's bitchy, gold-digging sister, and Peter's racist neighbor, respectively.

Adam Shankman improves upon his previous pictures, "The Wedding Planner" and "A Walk to Remember," by a wide margin. "Planner" was a dull romantic comedy, and it seemed Shankman had no eye for comedy whatsoever. Well, Bringing Down the House proves us wrong. This movie is a winner, and you don't see very many movies that are actually funny, as opposed to fart jokes galore, anymore. "Bringing Down the House" is a hilarious movie that deserves to be seen by many people. I guarantee it will live up to its title when seeing it at the theater. I give it an A-.


The genesis of the comedy film awards -- Steve is a midwife?

personally, i think they should call the award a Steeeeeeeeve.

The New York Times
February 25, 2003, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final
Section E; Page 8; Column 3; The Arts/Cultural Desk
When It Comes to Comedy, Awards Are No Joke

It's common knowledge in the funny business that so far as awards are concerned, comedy gets no respect.

Take the Oscars -- please! In the last 25 years only two comedies have been named best picture, a short list that starts with 1977's "Annie Hall" and ends with 1999's "Shakespeare in Love." It's enough to give a genre a complex. So it is that on Saturday at the annual United States Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo., some of the nation's funniest filmmakers will put on their own award show for their own movies, complete with the red-carpet treatment (O.K., shag carpet treatment) and nail-biting suspense. (O.K., the winners have already been notified. But what will they wear?)

Called the Comedy Film Honors and so new as not to have a nickname yet (the Commies, perhaps?), the awards are the result of what organizers call a serious -- yes, serious -- lack of appreciation for the art of the film comedy.

"If you're making good comedies, there's a very good chance you're not going to get acknowledged by your peers," said Stu Smiley, the executive director of the comedy festival. "Comedy films are fundamentally important to the success of studios, and yet for some reason they are not taken seriously in a creative light."

Of some 500 new films released last year, 25 percent were comedies, according to Studio Systems Inc., which compiles statistics and research on television and films. Of the Top 10 films at the box office in 2002, five were comedies. Yet of the nominees for best picture -- "Chicago," "Gangs of New York," "The Hours," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and "The Pianist" -- only "Chicago" could be considered vaguely comic, and it's a musical.

Mr. Smiley said he thought of the awards shortly after last year's festival and quickly signed on a group of elite comedians and filmmakers, including Steve Martin, Barry Levinson and Billy Crystal, to oversee them.
The committee came up with four categories -- best studio comedy, best independent comedy, best first- time director and the audience award -- and mailed ballots to 300 comedy writers, directors, actors and producers.

The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, especially from directors.

"People think that medicine is supposed to taste bad or it's not good for them, so it's nice to see that something somewhat pleasant can get a prize," said Chris Weitz, who directed last year's "About a Boy" with his brother Paul. "I mean, we even have a suicide attempt in our movie, and it hasn't been recognized."

Paul Weitz added, "Next time we'll put in two."

No need. As of Saturday "About a Boy" will have won the first-ever Best Studio Comedy Comedy Film Honor. Other winners are Burr Steers, the first-time director of "Igby Goes Down," and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which was cited twice, as best independent comedy and the audience award winner.

The paradox, said Chris Weitz, is that many of the high points film history have been comedies, citing the work of Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin.

"Great comedy filmmakers get their due," he said, "but only 40 years after they're dead."

More recently, Mr. Smiley said, he believed movies like "Caddyshack" (1980), "Airplane!" (1980) and "Animal House" (1978) have been overlooked in lists of "greatest films."

Peter Farrelly, the older half of the Farrelly brothers ("Dumb and Dumber," "There's Something About Mary") with his brother Bobby, concurred.

"The Zucker brothers went through their whole careers without getting an award," Mr. Farrelly said, speaking of Jerry and David Zucker, who wrote and directed "Airplane!" with James Abrahams. "I don't think they even got a star on the Walk of Fame."

The awards will cap the five-day comedy festival, which starts tomorrow. Now in its ninth year, the festival, sponsored by HBO, originally had a heavy focus on stand-up comics and sketch groups. But in recent years it has taken greater interest in filmmakers. This year's featured guests include Mike Myers, who is receiving an award from the American Film Institute, and the director Kevin Smith ("Dogma"), who will speak on freedom of speech.

Mr. Farrelly, who is on the awards executive committee, said he hoped that the festival would eventually expand its backslapping to include performance categories as well.

"I think it's kind of sad to me that a guy like Bill Murray, who I think is the best comedic actor of the last 20 years, has never gotten a major award," Mr. Farrelly said, taking a break from the set of his latest film, "Stuck on You," which features Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear as conjoined twins. "He's been as good as anyone doing the serious stuff. And he's done it over and over again."


Steve is quoted a day ahead of the actual time. Impressive.

Press Association
February 26, 2003, Wednesday 09:57 PM Eastern Time


"When it comes to romance, men go crazy. Men are the ones with the peacock feathers, the ones who have to dance around, go crazy and dress themselves, move in and lie" - Hollywood actor Steve Martin.


On Sunday, Steve was in Aspen. On Monday NYC. On Wednesday, NYC, the back to Aspen.

the man is peripatetic.

The Denver Post
February 23, 2003 Sunday 1ST EDITION
Jokers will be wild at Aspen Comedy Arts Festival
By Mark Harden Denver Post Assistant Arts Editor

Spotted in Aspen: Austin Powers, Frasier Crane, Dan Conner, Bart Simpson and Mr. Burns.

Seen on the street: moviemakers Michael Moore ('Bowling for Columbine') and Kevin Smith ('Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back')

Live from Glitter Gulch: broadcast yakkers Chris Matthews and Phil Hendrie

Walking the red carpet: Steve Martin on his way to a sneak preview of his latest flick

It'll seem to anyone passing through Aspen this week as though Hollywood has annexed the town.

Of course, a movie-star sighting isn't unusual in this ritzy ski village. But starting Wednesday, herds of glitterati will be surging down the streets, congregating in ballrooms and bars and busting up in theaters.

It happens every year when the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival convenes in Aspen, the greatest critical mass of comic talent in Colorado. This year's ninth edition runs Wednesday through Saturday.

At its core, the HBO-sponsored event is a snow-season networking opportunity for some 1,500 comics, actors, producers and entertainment executives.

'We try to draw people not only from Los Angeles but also from New York and really from around the world,' says festival executive director and founder Stu Smiley.

They'll be here to schmooze, get noticed, cut deals and check out the dozens of stage shows, sketch and standup showcases, career tributes and movie screenings slated this week. Such talents as Ray Romano, Jack Black and Camryn Manheim landed TV or movie deals after past USCAF appearances.

For the industry types, one of the big draws is Aspen itself, which has hosted the event since it began in 1995. 'It's great to be in the Rockies for a week,' says festival marketing executive Craig Minassian. 'I don't think you'll ever get someone from Hollywood to complain about a working vacation!'

The good news for us 'little people' is that these shows and screenings are open to the public, a fact well known to savvy comedy fans who flock to the USCAF each year. Some 3,500 'civilians' are expected to attend this year.

A look at the festival's highlights:

Actor/screenwriter Mike Myers will be honored at one of the festival's trademark tributes, this one to bestow the annual American Film Institute Star Award. The Canadian-born Myers, one of 'Saturday Night Live's' best-known alumni, starred in and wrote the blockbuster 'Austin Powers' series, including last year's 'Austin Powers in Goldmember,' as well as two 'Wayne's World' movies. He also provided the title character's voice in 'Shrek.' (7:30 p.m. Friday, St. Regis Hotel, Aspen Ballroom.)

Kelsey Grammer (TV's 'Frasier') and John Goodman ('Roseanne') will co-star in 'J. Edgar! The Musical,' an irreverent take on late FBI director J. Edgar Hoover's relationship with his deputy/companion Clyde Tolson. The piece, originally presented as a radio play in Southern California, was written by Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns on 'The Simpsons') and Tom Leopold. Also in the cast: Christopher Guest and Michael McKean (who, like Shearer, co-starred in 'This Is Spinal Tap') and Nancy Cartwright (Bart on 'The Simpsons'). (8:30 p.m. Wednesday, 7 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Friday, Wheeler Opera House.)

The festival will present its 'Freedom of Speech Award' to filmmaker/author/political activist Michael Moore, best known to Coloradans for making last year's Oscar-nominated documentary 'Bowling for Columbine,' which uses the 1999 killings at Columbine High School as a jumping-off point for an examination of the culture of guns and violence in America. Moore also skewered General Motors in the 1989 film 'Roger & Me.' It's the second year the festival has addressed First Amendment issues, a way, says Smiley, 'to reacquaint ourselves with people who have sacrificed for their right to express themselves.' The tribute will be hosted by Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary in the Clinton administration. (8 p.m. Thursday, St. Regis Hotel, Aspen Ballroom.)

The big-screen cyberspace comedy 'Bringing Down the House' - starring Steve Martin as a buttoned-down attorney cruising the Net who falls for what he thinks is a female lawyer, only to find out later she's a prison escapee (Queen Latifah) who aims to disrupt his life - will be one of numerous features and shorts to be screened as part of USCAF's annual film program. Martin and other cast members are expected to be on hand for the gala preview. 'House' opens in theaters March 7. (5 p.m. Friday, Wheeler Opera House.)

Another tribute will honor filmmaker/actor Kevin Smith, known for such provocative films as 'Clerks,' 'Chasing Amy,' 'Dogma' and 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,' which have sparked ire from the Catholic Church, gay and lesbian groups and movie distributors. Smith has appeared in all his films as the slacker character Silent Bob. (4 p.m. Saturday, Wheeler Opera House.)

In a rare peek at the creative process behind a hit sitcom, the writers of CBS' 'Everybody Loves Raymond' will gather in a 'writers' room' format to talk about, and demonstrate, how they put the show together. 'They're going to show you clips from the various episodes, and they'll tell you what inspired that, how they got through that process,' says Smiley, an executive producer of 'Raymond.' (2 p.m. Saturday, St. Regis Hotel, Aspen Ballroom.)

Political pundit Chris Matthews will originate his MSNBC show 'Hardball' from the festival in front of an audience (7 p.m. Wednesday, Aspen District Theatre), as will radio talk-show host and satirist Phil Hendrie, known for bantering with made-up characters voiced by Hendrie himself. (5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, St. Regis Hotel Aspen Room.) Hendrie is carried on Denver's KHOW (630-AM) and Greeley's KFKA (1310-AM).

The festival's late-night revues - at which big names like Robin Williams, Steve Martin and Billy Crystal have appeared unannounced in years past to perform randy skits - are among its most popular events. Kelsey Grammer will be this year's host. 'A lot of people will drop in,' Smiley says. 'I don't know if it'll be star-studded, but it should be a lot of fun.' (Midnight Thursday, St. Regis Aspen Ballroom.)

Giving the festival an urban flavor, the NYC Hip-Hop Theater Festival will explore the intersection of rap and comedy in a set of sketches. (9 p.m. Wednesday, 10 p.m. Friday and 2:20 p.m. Saturday, Raw Space.) And 'Showtime at Harlem' host Rudy Rush will lead an 'Urban Connection' program of street-savvy standup comedy. (1 a.m. Friday, St. Regis Aspen Room.)

For the first time, the festival will present the 'Comedy Film Honors,' an awards program recognizing big-studio and independent movies. Also, says Smiley, an audience award based on an Entertainment Weekly survey will be presented. Monty Python's Eric Idle will host. (7 p.m. Saturday, St. Regis Aspen Ballroom).

Various standup and sketch programs will feature such big names as Janeane Garofalo, Jamie Kennedy, Norm Macdonald, Joe Rogan and Julia Sweeney as well as creator-stars Bob Edenkirk and David Cross of HBO's "Mr. Show." Comedy fest 411

The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival offers a great opportunity for Coloradans to experience world-class comedy in their backyard. If you want to go, here's what you need to know:

Steve snuck on to Good Morning America this morning without telling me.

i missed it. bummer. but here's the transcript.

February 25, 2003 Tuesday

Steve Martin. Ah, how he makes us laugh. Over the years, man of many parts, as we know, writer, among other things, as well as actor. Of course, he's hosting this year's 75th Academy Awards, as well, and starring with Queen Latifah in a new movie called "Bringing Down The House," which will open a week from Friday. And in case you missed it, he also just dropped by for a cameo on "Saturday Night Live" last Saturday.


(Off Camera) Steve Martin on and off the wall.

I'm doing a cameo here now.

(Off Camera) Yes, here . . .

I'm doing an interview now.

(Off Camera) This is not a cameo. You have to . . .

Yeah, this is an, a full interview.

(Off Camera) This is a full interview.

This is, this is as big as it gets.

(Off Camera) You a very, very busy man.

No, I was busy. And now I'm just . . .

(Off Camera) Doing an interview.

. . . doing the promotional aspects of, of what I've done when I was busy.

(Off Camera) 'Cause I saw you last night. You were on Letterman.

I was on Letterman last night. Yes. Mm hmm.

(Off Camera) And, and you brought a film clip.

On what?

(Off Camera) Or two. You brought some film clips . . .

Yes. Of my bad appearances on Letterman.

(Off Camera) of your bad appearances on Letterman. Could I play one of them?

Sure. Go ahead. I didn't know you had . . .

(Off Camera) We have to play, this is Steve Martin . . .

I'm so surprised.

(Off Camera) last night. Who knew?


It's so funny. You don't even have to have a joke. All you have to do is do it.

(Off Camera) You do take a chance, Mr. Martin. You do, you do. Is it true what I, I heard someone . . .

Uh oh. Here it comes. A tough question, I can tell.

(Off Camera) This is very, yeah. It's . . .

It is true . . .

(Off Camera) I'm winding up.

Mm hmm.

(Off Camera) you know, I have to wind up like this. No. That, that a 7-year- old girl, you've always been very diffident about being in show business and the movies. A 7-year-old girl in the hotel came up to ask if you were . . .

Oh, should I tell you the story?

(Off Camera) Yeah.

Oh, it was so sweet. I was doing promotion for "Bringing Down The House", we have to mention that.

(Off Camera) Right.

And it was in the hallway of a hotel, and this sort of seven, 8-year- old girl came up to me and she was, she said, I think her mother sent her over, told her who I was, or something, and she said, are you in a movie? And I said, yes, I am. And she said, lucky.

(Off Camera) Oh, well. You know.

So sweet.

(Off Camera) What do they know . . .


(Off Camera) from talent, right? Speaking of "Bringing Down The House", which was (INAUDIBLE) .

Yes. Bringing or you, you can also, if you want to be very hip, you could say, "Bringin' Down The House".

(Off Camera) "Bringin' Down The House".

"Bringin' Down The House".

(Off Camera) You and Queen Latifah.

Queen Latifah's sensational.

(Off Camera) And, I don't just say this, 'cause I like you.

And Eugene Levy. Yeah.

(Off Camera) It is truly funny. And you go very far, as we know.

The movie goes very far. It's, I think people are a little bit shocked and surprised, but then they laugh.

(Off Camera) Right. Well, one of the things you have to do in order to help rescue her is go out into a pretty tough club.


(Off Camera) Talk the talk, walk the walk . . .

Walk the walk.

(Off Camera) and dance the dance.

Dance the dance.

(Off Camera) And we have a clip from "Bringin'" . . .

I'm still, I'm still suffering from it.

(Off Camera) "Bringin' Down The House". Let's do a clip.


I like that.

(Off Camera) What were you saying? What were . . .

But I like the, I like the line she says to me, "Can you swerve, snowman?"

(Off Camera) What were you saying?

Of course I can.

(Off Camera) Did you know what you were saying?

I knew what I was saying. I . . .

(Off Camera) Yeah.

. . . I knew, I don't remember. But, yeah, I think, I try to peep a bow-wow, I say that. It means I'm trying to find a friend.

(Off Camera) Right. And then, I was . . .

My favorite line is Eugene Levy's line, he says to Queen Latifah. He falls in love with Queen, Queen Latifah and he looks at her and he says, "You got me straight tripping, boo."

(Off Camera) Which means?

Which means I'm tripping, like I'm high, but I'm straight, because of you.

(Off Camera) Oooh, that's lovely.


(Off Camera) That's great.

Mm hmm.

(Off Camera) All right. She . . .

Did you feel a little shiver when I said that?

(Off Camera) I was, I did. I did. You got straight through me.

You're dying to walk the walk, aren't you? I can tell.

(Off Camera) No. I am . . .

Now, I'm terrible at it. I mean . . .

(Off Camera) Okay.

. . . it's part of my role.

(Off Camera) Well . . .

I could not do it. I mean, I . . .

(Off Camera) I was saying, forgive me, the two Whitest people in this, in this room.

Yes. Yes. Speak for yourself, ma'am.

(Off Camera) But, anyway, can you show me?

No, it's just this. I mean, I could not really perfect it. But there's something in this . . .

(Off Camera) The homey thing.

. . . move like this. I don't know if it's protective or, indicative or, no, no. That's really . . .

(Off Camera) And what's the arm thing?

. . . you're really, you know, just this. Yeah. No, it's the hands. But it's more of a oval, yeah. I'm so ashamed . . .

(Off Camera) And is there . . .

. . . and, and embarrassed and humiliated.

(Off Camera) is there an arm thing?

Well, I don't have it. I mean, it's just a, a kind of a, it's like you're rapping your arms around a barrel, I guess.

(Off Camera) Okay.

I don't know. This is . . .

(Off Camera) Home, home thing.

. . . this is really . . .

(Off Camera) I've got (INAUDIBLE) .

. . . we're getting a lot of tune outs, somewhere.


(Off Camera) Excuse me, can I just . . .

Uh oh. Here we go.

(Off Camera) interrupt this for a moment?

Oh. Oh, my God.

(Off Camera) You know, I got to rate that a three. That was not very good, Diane.

(Off Camera) I give it a question mark. What was that? Girlfriend, girlfriend, what was that?

(Off Camera) All right. Smarty. Give me a . . .

Well, if you're so smart, let's see you do it.

(Off Camera) Let's see you do it.

(Off Camera) No, no, no. I, 'cause I would be rate me a four. No, I can't do it.

(Off Camera) Anyway, it's called "Bringin' Down The House".

(Off Camera) As you were. As you were.

(Off Camera) It's very funny.

Very good.

(Off Camera) And it opens a week from Friday.

March 7th.

(Off Camera) March 7th.

March 7th, "Bringin' Down The House".

(Off Camera) It really is funny. And we'll see you on the Academy Awards.

Okay, great.

Other clips from previous Dave Letterman performances

i don't know how long these will be available, so check them out

included here are: singing balls, the making of steve martin's appearance, and steve and dave's gay vacation.

all extremely funny.

Steve on Letterman

tonight's appearance was steve on speed. he was really wound up. he mentioned an article that appeared some time back that said that he was always at his best on letterman, so he set up a clip that included supposed past performances that were, shall we say, subpar. the article is appended here at the end of this blog entry, and you can see a bit of the video at

check it out if for no other reason than seeing steve stand on his head on dave's guest chair.

of course i enjoyed seeing him, but what i noticed more than anything is that he does letterman only when he's prepared things, as the writer says. and it's not just his clips or bits, it's the whole performance. he knows what he's going to do. tonight it was clear that his whole performance was prepared except for the part where dave threw him a curve and broke his rhythm by asking about roger (who by the way is 8 years old). i think in a way i enjoyed that part the most. you had the stage steve and the real steve. this will probably be on reruns for those of you who missed it.

The New York Times
July 16, 2002, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final
Section G; Page 2; Column 1; Favorites
Song & Laughter; The Tao of Steve
By CARYN JAMES; Caryn James is the chief television critic of The Times.

STEVE MARTIN is the best late-night-talk-show guest ever. He walks on smiling and sincere like any other star with something to plug, but before long turns the spot into a tongue-in-cheek performance that spoofs the whole talk-show routine. He comes prepared. He makes videos. He has charts!

I would watch him anywhere, but he is never better than when he's on "Late Show With David Letterman" (a perfect match of ironic sensibilities) and was never funnier than in a four-minute-taped spoof they did a few years ago. After promoting his book of comic essays, "Pure Drivel" (his helpful chart told viewers which pages were really funny), he told Mr. Letterman that he felt awkward "after what happened last time." The men put on exaggerated embarrassed looks and the video began: "Dave and Steve's Gay Vacation."

As "I'm So Excited" plays in the background, Dave and Steve frolic on the beach, looking like the ultimate nerds in Bermuda shorts and socks. They toss a football, cast affectionate glances at each other, feed each other ice cream. But when Dave looks at another guy in a Speedo, Steve throws his beach blanket in the sand and runs away in a huff. It's so hilarious and goofy that any consideration of political correctness is wildly beside the point.

Mr. Martin has been behaving this way on talk shows for years. He once walked onto "The Tonight Show" with little brown paper sacks taped to his face and apologized for the bags under his eyes. He's a busy guy: playwright, actor, novelist. He doesn't have to go to this trouble just to get a plug. Because he does, he brings talk-show guestdom to a whole new level of insincerity.
Monday, February 24, 2003

The Hollywood Reporter liked it better

The Hollywood Reporter
February 24, 2003, Monday
'Bringing Down the House'

Hail to the Queen! Hot off her Oscar-nominated success in "Chicago," Queen Latifah gives Steve Martin a run for his considerable comic prowess in the questionably tasteful but often laugh-out-loud funny "Bringing Down the House."

A prime example of how an expert cast can elevate iffy material _ Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright and Betty White are also in on the ribald act _ the picture's racially driven humor threatens to cross a line of inappropriateness on more than one occasion, but darned if it didn't play like gangbusters at a preview screening.

With Latifah drawing a young, loyal urban audience and Martin letting loose with the kind of big physical performance he hasn't tried on in years, the Touchstone picture has a good shot at bringing down the house records as far as comedies opening during nonholiday weekends are concerned. By now, thanks to all the advance promotion, few are unfamiliar with the initial setup involving divorced tax lawyer Martin's Internet love connection with a purportedly refined, Ivy League barrister who turns out to be a fresh-from-the-big-house Queen Latifah.

Proclaiming her innocence, Latifah's Charlene Morton is determined to get Martin's Peter Sanderson to clear her name and has no plans to quit disrupting his life until he agrees to help her.

While Charlene's presence in his home is welcome news to his bored kids (Kimberly J. Brown and Angus T. Jones), it's a little trickier to explain her to his ex-wife (Jean Smart), for whom he still has considerable affection. Then there's his nosy, rampantly prejudiced neighbor (a delectably shocking Betty White) to deal with, as well as an equally politically incorrect billionairess potential client (Joan Plowright) who doesn't see anything wrong with singing old Negro spirituals around the dinner table.

Scripted by Jason Filardi, the comedy pretty much pumps its premise dry long before the final act and then tries to compensate by piling on the outrageousness.

It's certainly a promising step up for director Adam Shankman after "The Wedding Planner" and "A Walk to Remember" as he mines ample comic gold from his ready-for-anything cast.

Whenever the Queen is on the scene (she's also an executive producer), she takes it to the next level with the kind of confident, sassy and absolutely engaging performance that carries the comedy through the saggy parts.

Her energetic presence also seems to have rubbed off on Martin, who gets back some of that old "wild and crazy" mojo here after playing it a little more sober in recent years.

Levy, meanwhile, hasn't lost any of his "American Pie" street cred, playing Martin's jive-talking, freak-boy business colleague. And Plowright makes the most out of her opportunity to have a little fun with her grande dame image.

Elsewhere, White's a blast, taking on a piece of work that makes her old Sue Ann character on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" look like Mother Teresa, and Jean Smart plays it smart as Martin's still-interested but cautious ex.

And as Smart's gold-digging, Martin-dissing sister, Missi Pyle kicks it loose with a heavily choreographed, knock-down, drag-out restroom brawl with Latifah that could never be mistaken for a catfight.

Speaking of settling scores, Lalo Schifrin contributes a fittingly retro musical backdrop that accurately recalls some of those unapologetically broad, goofy comedies of the '70s and early '80s.


Variety has its say on 'Bringing Down the House'

Daily Variety
February 24, 2003, Monday
Pg. 6
Bringing Down the House

A Buena Vista release of a Touchstone Pictures presentation in association with Hyde Park Entertainment of a David Hoberman/Ashok Amritraj production. Produced by Hoberman, Amritraj. Executive producers, Jane Bartelme, Queen Latifah. Coproducer, Todd Lieberman.

Directed by Adam Shankman. Screenplay, Jason Filardi. Camera (Technicolor, Panavision widescreen), Julio Macat; editor, Jerry Greenberg; music, Lalo Schifrin; music supervisor, Michael McQuarn; production designer, Linda DeScenna; art director, Jim Nedza; set designers, Nancy Deren, Rich Romig; set decorator, Ric McElvin; costume designer, Pamela Withers-Chilton; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), David MacMillan; supervising sound editor, David Whittaker; choreographer, Anne Fletcher; associate producer, Cookie Carosella; assistant director, Daniel Silverberg; second unit director, John Medlen; second unit camera, Johnny Jensen; casting, Victoria Thomas. Reviewed at the Avco Cinema L.A., Feb. 19, 2003. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 105 MIN.

Peter Sanderson .... Steve Martin
Charlene Morton .... Queen Latifah
Howie Rottman .... Eugene Levy
Mrs. Arness .... Joan Plowright
Kate .... Jean Smart
Ashley .... Missi Pyle
Sarah Sanderson .... Kimberly J. Brown
Widow .... Steve Harris
Georgey Sanderson .... Angus T. Jones
Todd Gendler .... Michael Rosenbaum
Mrs. Kline .... Betty White

Two game stars are forced to carry the lien on their backs in "Bringing Down the House," a black-collides-with-white culture comedy that could have been a lot wilder and crazier than it is. With Steve Martin and Queen Latifah both enormously at home in their respective roles as a straight-laced corporate attorney and a brassy ex-con who upends his rigid lifestyle, there are certainly good laughs to be had. But the contrived script and bland direction prevent the film from ever developing a comic life of its own, leaving what fun there is seeming like the foundation to a rumpus room that's never finished. Commercially, Disney should have little trouble promoting the picture as an almost ideal crossover comedy, as mainstream auds on both sides of the racial aisle will be amused with the up-front way stereotypes are broached. Following nationwide sneaks this weekend, biz upon general release two weeks hence should be brisk.

For many viewers, just the prospect of seeing Martin back in the sort of broad physical comedy that made his name will be enticing enough, while Latifah's still-rising star will be given a further boost from the way her character's antics force a pasty perfectionist to loosen up and get down.

Set-up promises rooms of potential. Having developed a friendly and mildly flirtatious online relationship with a "lawyer-girl," eager divorcee Peter Sanderson (Martin) invites her over, only to open the door of his luxurious L.A. home to get an eyeful of Charlene Morton (Latifah), a black bombshell in blue denim cutoffs who's been in prison but claims she's innocent and has come to him to get her name cleared.

Completely freaked over the woman's e-mail deception, Peter kicks her out, but she returns again, and again, and again, always at the most embarrassingly inconvenient moment. It's a gambit that can be played a couple of times, but device's frequency digs a hole for the film by making Charlene's rudeness almost as annoying to the audience as it is to Peter. And it raises the question of why Peter doesn't quickly agree to meet her at a convenient time and place and quickly finish their business once and for all.

But then, of course, there wouldn't be a movie, so Charlene pulls one stunt after another ---surprising him with a raucous house party at his Hancock Park manse, crashing his lily-white country club just before an all-important meeting with a billionairess prospective client (Joan Plowright), and disrupting his proper law office. Finally, Peter breaks down and takes the imperturbable interloper out to a dinner-and-dance club, where his ex, Kate (Jean Smart) just happens to be dining with her witch of a sister, Ashley (Missi Pyle), who earlier squared off in a brutal catfight with Charlene.

Duo's "date" leads to pic's comic highlight: When they get home, raunchy Charlene challenges an enthusiastic Peter to rediscover his long-lost cojones and become king of the jungle. Sequence brings out the best in both performers, as Latifah really shakes it, taunting the uptight lawyer, demanding that he grab her mountainous breasts (which he does) and do what a man's supposed to do, while Martin gets very silly and funny with some down, and somewhat dirty, slapstick. The two work so well together one wishes first-time screenwriter Jason Filardi's material possessed a level of inspiration worthy of the two performers.

After bothering Peter so much in the first half and getting him in hot water at work, second half has Charlene proving her worth by using her street smarts to help Peter's teenage daughter out of a jam, and Peter proving himself to Charlene by finding his inner homeboy. Latter is accomplished in an over-the-top climactic scene in which Peter, clad in ghetto gear, invades a shady downtown club, adopts street talk (taught to him by guess who), does some goofy dance-floor gyrations and confronts the gangsta for whose crime Charlene did the time.

Filardi's script could have used considerably more smarts about the building and sustaining of farce. Also missing are the sorts of comedic rhythms that take amusement to the realm of hilarity; the numerous very short scenes, especially toward the film's middle, allow no time for humor to mount. Direction by Adam Shankman ("The Wedding Planner") could not be more conventional, with production values following suit.

Eugene Levy scores with one-note second banana shtick as Peter's attorney buddy whose attentions to the awesome "Congo goddess" are so unstintingly perverse that Charlene repeatedly rewards him with the sobriquet, "freak." Plowright almost seems to be auditioning for any queenly role Judi Dench might not want as she strides imperiously through her role of a Southern girl-turned-British aristocrat who riles Charlene by sentimentally singing "Is Massuh Gonna Sell Me Tomorrow?" at the dinner table, but finally unwinds with the help of some ganja at a hip hop club.

Ultimately, "Bringing Down the House" might most be remembered, at least in the short term, for the joke (prominently featured in the trailer) in which Peter's little boy, having been shown a dirty magazine by "babysitter" Charlene, asks, "Daddy, what's a rack?" "It's a country," Pop testily replies.
Sunday, February 23, 2003

NO pictures... just links

i just found out that i can't upload pics to this site without paying for hosting. it also won't let me put on links... or at least, it won't let me embed them. bummer.

guess i'll have to get rich

Just a note from SJ

there doesn't seem to be anything out there today other than personal testimonials to how funny 'Bringing Down the House' is. i wasn't able to go to the sneak, so i can't give you a first hand account.

however, remember that tomorrow night is Steve's Letterman appearance, and he will be on 'The View' on wednesday morning, abc. i don't think he's making any other appearances to tout the movie anytime soon because wednesday he's going to aspen, colorado for the comedy festival. although, the movie will be shown there in a simultaneous comedy movie festival. so i'm sure there will be some new articles within the next week.
Saturday, February 22, 2003

Another Down Under article on Underpants, Oscar, and Exes

an interesting article that takes poetic license with some of the facts... that is, it rewrites history as Steve rewrote the Underpants. to keep our facts straight, Shopgirl was published years after Pure Drivel. Pure Drivel included more than New Yorker articles. Heche was long gone from Steve's life before she took up with DeGeneres. minor details. it amazes me that reporters, with so much information to draw on, can't get simple facts right. but even so, this article has some new nuggets in it. thanks to Cleaning Wo-man who found it first and posted it on the message board. and remember as Tom Lehrer said, it's not plagiarism if you call it research -- and cite it, of course.

Sydney Morning Herald
February 22, 2003 Saturday
Metropolitan; Pg. 1
Smarty Pants
By Matt Buchanan

The curtain goes up, the undies fall down. Steve Martin's comic genius touches Sydney again.

The Underpants opens on March 5.

He's saying it, but I don't believe it. "Hosting the Oscars is kinda fun," Steve Martin says, in his highly elastic, familiar, West Coast twang. "The audience, they're people I know. They're a bunch of friends. And," he adds, "when I did it last time I really enjoyed it. I love, actually, these abbreviated TV appearances ..." This disclosure from Martin is rare indeed. Not because he seldom gives interviews, although it is true he rarely agrees to them. And it's not because Martin seems to be the only person on the planet who considers hosting the 75th Academy Awards to be more like a cosy bull session with a few pals rather than, say, a heart-freezing tightrope walk in front of multiple billions. No, it is a rare moment because we're not talking about underpants.

You see, for the past 20 minutes the subject has been set: it's been underpants, underpants, underpants and yet more underpants. Or rather, it's been The Underpants, Martin's adaptation of German playwright Carl Sternheim's 1911 farce, Die Hosen. Next month's production of the work by Sydney's Company B continues a collaboration the LA-based Martin has enjoyed with the company's director, Neil Armfield, since Armfield successfully midwifed Martin's first play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, in the mid-'90s.

And, as polite, modest, intelligent and witty as Martin has been during our conversation, he has also shown himself to be a man who likes to keep the conversation on rails. His rails. And the looming Oscars ceremony is not a scheduled stop.

Yet, here we are. And, as long we've made the detour, there is something I'd like to know about Martin and the Oscars, and it's not about hosting. It's about standing there all night watching them being given away when he's never been handed one to call his own.

"Oh, no," he says, emphatically. "They don't give Oscars to comedians."

But they do give them to comic screenwriters. What about Martin's screenplays for Bowfinger, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and The Man with Two Brains, and the well thought-of LA Story? What of his own favourite, Roxanne, a hit adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac (on which he collaborated with another Australian, director Fred Schepisi)?

"Oh, look, no, I mean. No," he says. "Me thinking about winning Oscars, it just doesn't come up. And anyway ..." there's a brief pause, an imperceptible click in the signal box as Martin realigns the track. "Hey," he says, "weren't we talking about The Underpants?"

Of course, Martin is best known as a comedian and comedic actor, successful screenplays or not. Most of us summon the same simple but vivid CV when we hear his name - the whacky, zany, arrow-through-the-head guy on stage at the Hollywood Bowl or Saturday Night Live. The snowy-haired clown with the rubbery face who made a string of early, funny, movies (The Jerk, The Lonely Guy, etc) before becoming the likeable, almost handsome lead in undemanding and faintly disappointing roles as Hollywood's favourite middle-class, muddle-headed husband and father (Parenthood, Father of the Bride, The Out-of-Towners). That is Steve Martin. At least it was.

For the past five or six years, Martin has been more prolific and successful performing not on the stage or screen - can we ever forgive him for Sgt. Bilko? - but on the page. Indeed, having renounced stand-up comedy almost entirely during the early '90s, and having scaled down his movie commitments, Martin has found himself enjoying a surging literary career.

His well-received debut novella, the bittersweet Shopgirl, was followed by Pure Drivel, a best-selling collection of humorous "miniatures" he had published in The New Yorker. The first of his two original plays, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, was a great success in Australia and did well in the US (a screen adaptation for release later this year reunited him again with Schepisi). While his theatrical follow-up, WASP, also produced by Company B, won widespread praise, if not quite the same size audience. His second novel, The Pleasure of My Company, will be published this year, just before shooting begins on the screenplay he wrote for Shopgirl (which is to star Claire Danes). All of this has led, strangely enough, to Sternheim's evidently irresistible 100-year-old Die Hosen.

"It was brought to me by the director of the Classic Stage Company in New York who knew it as a dense German play, but who thought that it had a great premise," says Martin. "Then I read it, and I felt it had potential to be ... call it ... modernised."

Sternheim's premise is indeed ripe for fooling: the bloomers of a naive young woman named Louise (to be played by Lucy Taylor in her first role with Company B) drop to her ankles as she strains to watch a passing parade, electrifying several male bystanders, two of whom, [named Cohen and Versati in Martin's adaptation], descend upon her home with a view to "renting out the spare room". Theo, her inflexible, preoccupied husband, does not recognise Versati and Cohen as suitors, and Louise glimpses a sensual life hitherto denied her.

However, whereas Die Hosen is overtly moralising, casually brutal in its treatment of women and, quite frankly, a yawn when read in translation, Martin's The Underpants hoists Sternheim into the 21st century, conjuring a spirited, comic sketch of male lust, its confounding motivations and eccentric trajectories.

"Every word's been changed, but it definitely has Sternheim's structure," Martin says. "I really liked the idea that a very small incident has such ramifications; especially an erotic incident. I also thought it just sounds funny, the idea that someone's underpants fall down in public and huge mechanics are set in motion. That something so small can arouse something in men so very deep.

"But, really, I just saw it as the complications of behaviour that the simplest sexual incident can arouse, even if it's just the peek of a breast through a sweater. For these men, the underpants falling down is an erotic event. Even saying the word 'underpants' gets us all excited."

Sure enough, the very mention of Louise's unfortunate exposure is more than enough to keep the foppish Versati fluttering and the malingering Cohen agonising until doomsday. However, despite their obvious silliness, their ardour arouses Louise and, spurred on by the lovelorn spinster Gertrude, she finds herself looking to Versati for love. Cohen, whose hypochondria is something of a talent, watches on twitchily, too meek to act, but big enough to get in Versati's way. The men are idiots, of course, but then we've all been there, haven't we?

"I think when it comes to romance, men go crazy," Martin says. "Men are the ones with the peacock feathers, the ones who have to dance around, go crazy and dress themselves, move in and lie. And also, in the play, the romantic character Versati is a perfect character because he's so swept up by the romance, but the moment it becomes real, he leaves, like many romantic people do."

The Underpants received fair to good reviews when it was performed in New York last year, although Martin did attract some determined quibbling for his jettisoning of the broad social criticism that drives much of Die Hosen and, in particular, his new ending.

"Well, the original play ended on a very sad note with Louise resigned to being with this brute for her whole life," Martin says. "And I felt like I had rewritten it much lighter, and to do that ending would be a contradiction of the first 90 per cent of the play. And it's such a fun premise, I wanted to show that the ramifications were ongoing."

Does he have any artistic reservations about tinkering with someone else's work?

"Well, I've done it many times," he laughs. "I did it with Cyrano de Bergerac. I did it with Silas Marner [which became the film A Simple Twist of Fate]. I just had to learn there was a great tradition of it, including Shakespeare, who was adapting Roman plays. So it's a part of our artistic heritage."

I mention to Martin that his collaborator, Neil Armfield, has just endured a much publicised encounter with the Beckett estate over the introduction of music into Company B's production of Waiting for Godot.

"I really like Neil," he says. "I became very friendly with him when we worked on Picasso and I think he's a great director. But with Beckett ... they're very strict about that. And that's their right to be upset about it. Eventually it falls into the public domain and that's just the way it works. But I don't blame the Beckett estate or Neil Armfield. It's just one of those struggles.

"By the way," he adds, "Neil and I have recently traded phone messages. But I haven't been able to find him. He's asked me to call him because he has a couple of questions. So, you can tell him to call me. I left my number on his machine."

Later, in Newtown, during a lunch break from rehearsing The Underpants, Armfield nods cheerfully but silently when I pass on Martin's thoughts about the artist and adaptation. As for returning Martin's phone calls, he looks at first a trifle sheepish.

"Well, I did call him," Armfield protests. "But then he rang and I wasn't there. I did leave a message the other day: 'Steve. Working on the play. It's going really well. But there are few lines and things I think, well, they could be better ... if I may be so bold as to say that.'"

Can you be so bold with Steve Martin?

"Of course you can."

But then Martin and Armfield go way back. In 1993, Martin arrived in Australia with his then wife, Victoria Tennant. Tennant was here to shoot Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, after which she dumped Martin for co-star Andrew Clarke. Martin's subsequent relationship with Anne Heche proved equally disastrous when she left him for Ellen DeGeneres. But I digress.

Martin had brought along Picasso, his first script, stashed in his luggage, and soon found himself scouting for someone to workshop it. Armfield's name was suggested.

"He didn't want to be workshopping it in America," says Armfield, who admits he was initially more "a fan rather than a fanatic" of Martin's humour.

"So I put together a group including Richard Roxburgh, Tyler Coppin, Deborah Kennedy and Shane Bourne. I remember the first day Steve Martin arrived. He swung around the corner on his bicycle and said, 'Hmm ... I smell actors.'"

It was the start of a beneficial relationship for both parties. Armfield's production was so successful the play was immediately picked up in the US by Chicago's Steppenwolf Studio Theatre. Company B, in turn, was saved from the bailiffs.

"Picasso had an incredible impact for us," says Armfield. "The more we played it, the more popular it became, and the better it got, too. It was one of the shows that turned around the fortunes of Company B; that bankrolled it. It came at the end of a year, when our future was really uncertain. But it just played and played and did really well."

Having directed all three of Martin's theatre pieces, Armfield must feel he's in a better position than most to assess his artistic development.

"That's right," Armfield says, "but so are the actors (in The Underpants). Rebecca Massey was in WASP and Paul Blackwell and Keith Robinson were in Picasso, so they have a real kind of history and feel for his work. I thought Picasso was slight when I first read it. But working on it, I realised how good it was. And that was the thing with The Underpants, too. There are great lines and stuff but it has this wonderful kind of framework for clowning, which is so great because this cast is made up of some of the best clowns in the country."

Martin hasn't quite given up on clowning himself. In April he'll be reprising his timeworn incredulous, all-at-sea, 50-something opposite Chicago's Queen Latifah in Bringing Down the House, a movie that somehow promises not to achieve all that its title urges. But you feel the new Martin, the one who prefers to talk about underpants rather than Oscars, is leading the way.

"I used to do two or three movies a year and that just beat me down," he says. "It wasn't too healthy or smart. I'd prefer to do one every two years. And the truth is, that's about how long it takes to get a good script. Making a movie is a very isolating experience that takes you away from home. But writing; I like writing. I can do it anywhere. I don't have to go anywhere to do it. I like my life now."

Friday, February 21, 2003

Info on Bringing Down the House -- some details you probably didn't get elsewhere
Greg's Preview (Greg Dean Schmitz)
Bringing Down the House (2003)
Official Site

Release Date: March 7th, 2003 (wide); (bumped up three months from June, 2003)

Title Note: (6/5/02) This hasn't been confirmed yet, but according to Dark Horizons, the title may have been changed to "Bringing Down the Houze." (6/23/02) That has been confirmed, but the "Houze" is now spelled normally. The original title was "In the Houze" (hence the DH spelling). (10/2/02) There are conflicting spellings of "House" and "Houze." (10/29/02) It's definitely "House."

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for language, sexual humor and drug material)

Distributor: Touchstone Pictures (Disney)

Title Note: (10/25/01) During its development, this project was also known as That title was probably dropped because that URL is home to a XXX hardcore porn site. is a dating service for incarcerated women. If you want to see what prison does to you, compare the photo's for Florida inmates with their actual prison mugshots (that state's "Sunshine Laws" allows access to penal records). Some of those are very scary.

Production Company: Hyde Park Entertainment (Goodbye Hello, Personal Injuries)

Cast: Queen Latifah, Steve Martin, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, Missi Pyle (Ashley), Jean Smart, Betty White, Kimberly J. Brown, Michael Ensign (Daniel Barnes), Aengus James (Mike), Angus T. Jones, Matt Lutz (Aaron Blair), Victor Webster; other cast not announced yet. This will be Queen Latifah's highest-profile starring role yet, having developed a strong resume of supporting roles in recent years.

Director: Adam Shankman (The Wedding Planner, A Walk to Remember)

Screenwriter: Jason Filardi (debut)

Premise: When a lonely guy (Martin) meets a woman (Latifah) on the Internet who happens to be in prison, she breaks out to be with him, and quickly proceeds to bring chaos and some much-needed change into his middle-class life... (Levy plays Martin's best friend; Smart plays Martin's wife)

Filming: Production started on April 19th, 2002 (pushed back two months from February, 2002; first scheduled for December, 2001) in Los Angeles on a budget of at least $20 million, and had wrapped by late October, 2002.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

And what they said about Steve as host 2 years ago... same site
Steve Martin host of the 73rd Academy Awards.
Steve Martin was the host the 73rd Academy Awards®.

"He's everything!" 73rd Academy Awards Producer Gil Cates said. "He's a movie star, he's funny, he's classy, he's literate - he'll be a wonderful host."

This has been Martin's eighth appearance on an Oscar® telecast, his first as host. Martin served as a presenter on six shows and introduced a Best Picture clip on the 69th telecast in 1997. He also participated in a gag film sequence for the 67th show in 1995.

"If you can't win 'em, join 'em," said Martin, who has not yet been nominated for an Oscar.

Martin is experiencing great success with the publication of his first novella, "Shopgirl," which is currently on the New York Times and Los Angeles Times best seller lists, and recently had its seventh printing. This past spring, Martin completed filming the black comedy "Novocaine" with Helena Bonham Carter and Laura Dern. The film is scheduled for release by Artisan Films in 2001.


From the Oscar site, their bio of Steve as host
Steve Martin
Gil Cates, producer of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' annual presentation telecast has set Steve Martin as host of the 75th Anniversary Academy Awards.

"The 75th Anniversary show is a meaningful one for the Academy, and it is wonderful to work with a host who's done it before," Cates said. "A host who's witty, clever, sharp, intelligent, quick on his feet and always on top of the unfolding action. Wait, I've forgotten something. Oh yeah, and outrageously funny. He's also a gentleman, a gentle man and a delight to work with."

This will be Martin's second appearance as Oscar® telecast host. He first served as ringleader of the live broadcast in March 2001, for the 73rd Academy Awards. In addition, Martin has served as a presenter on six shows and introduced a Best Picture clip on the 69th telecast in 1997. He also participated in a gag film sequence for the 67th show in 1995.

"I'm very pleased to be hosting the Oscars again, because fear and nausea always make me lose weight," said Martin.

Martin recently completed filming the Disney comedy "Bringing Down the House," with co-stars Queen Latifah and Eugene Levy. The film is due out this spring. He begins "Shopgirl," adapted for the screen by Martin from his own best-selling novella, in January. Along with Martin, the film will star Claire Danes and Jimmy Fallon, under the direction of Anand Tucker. His next novel, "The Pleasure of My Company," will be published next fall by Hyperion.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2002 will be presented on Sunday, March 23, 2003, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland® and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST. A half-hour arrival segment will precede the presentation ceremony at 5 p.m.

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