Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Ah love. Steve is spending a lot of time in NYC

Daily News (New York)
February 23, 2004 Monday


HEDGE FUND: During last week's Art Dealers Association of America show, German-born real-estate magnate Aby Rosen plunked down $800,000 for one of sculptor John Chamberlain's major pieces - a 50-foot-length of painted stainless steel, titled "The Hedge."

I'm told it will decorate the lobby of Lever House, the landmarked skyscraper that Rosen owns.

Other shoppers and browsers spotted at the 7th Regiment Armory on Park Ave. were John McEnroe (hiding under a baseball cap), Steve Martin, Karenna Gore Schiff and ex-Sotheby's chairman Alfred Taubman.


Wooden actors? Who?

Independent on Sunday (London)
February 22, 2004, Sunday

Movie gossip: what goes on when the cameras stop rolling

More goofy antics this week, this time in the shape of action/fantasy adventure Looney Tunes: Back in Action (left). Joe Dante, the man who back in the '80s brought us classics such as Gremlins, this time takes on the challenge of directing Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and a whole load of other 'toons. The story goes something like this: after years of playing second fiddle to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck confronts his superiors and a Roger Rabbit-style plot ensues when Daffy demands his salary is raised to match that earned by the rabbit. Steve Martin, who plays the evil chairman of the corporation, found that acting with a load of animations was a breeze. "I thought it was going to be more difficult," he said. "It's not just like these big green screens - you can actually be on the set, with a little character that you're talking to. It's inanimate but it's talking back to you. I've worked with actors who are just as wooden." One wonders if he was referring to his co-star in this week's chart-topping comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, Ashton Kutcher. Martin got some bad reviews for his performance but Kutcher fared much worse: he's been nominated alongside Mike Myers in the Worst Actor category at this year's Razzie's.

Underpants are still falling down, falling down, falling down...

Edmonton Journal (Alberta)
February 22, 2004 Sunday Final Edition
Culture; Pg. B8
German farce given fresh, literate spin: 'The Underpants' underscores the common thread that runs through the middle class of every age
Liz Nicholls

The Underpants
Theatre: QuickChange Productions
Directed by: Chris McGregor
Adapted by: Steve Martin
Starring: Troy O'Donnell, Tracey Power, Robin Richardson, Garett Ross, Scott Walters, Colleen Wheeler
Where: Catalyst Theatre, 8529 103rd St.
Running: Through March 6

EDMONTON - "How could this happen to me?" frets a self-important minor civil servant, reviewing in advance the negative fallout on his career.

"It didn't happen to you," notes his pert young wife, whose bloomers have unaccountably fallen to her ankles during the king's parade, to her blockhead husband's great consternation.

This lingerie malfunction, which happens just before The Underpants begins, escalates in the course of Steve Martin's adaptation of a 1910 German farce by Carl Sternheim, into a comic contretemps with three doors, randy men titillated by scandal, a nosey neighbour, and a blockhead husband from whose mind sex is the farthest thing, next to a sense of humour. "You are much too attractive for a man in my position."

Sternheim's farce, the first of a six-play cycle called Comedies From the Heroic Life Of The Middle Class, was apparently a scathing satire of German bourgeois respectability and its prurient obsessions. The pleasures of Martin's adaptation lie slightly to the side of this, as the Edmonton/Vancouver co-op QuickChange demonstrates in the (mostly) entertaining production at Catalyst.

True, Theo Maske (Troy O'Donnell) gets his knickers in a twist over someone else's in classic bourgeois fashion, i.e. whilst totting up impact on his income. True, one of his prospective boarders, a barber named Cohen, has to conceal his Jewishness to rent the room ("that's Cohen with a K"). But none of this gets jackbooted in Martin's adaptation, more like tickled. Sternheim's comedies were banned by the Nazis; Martin enjoys the comic oxymoron potential in "German farce." That's the way The Underpants drops its drawers these days, with a pompous German burgher saying, "I can't change my mind; I'd have nothing to think," or Cohen's hastily improvised familiarity with the New Testament, especially the Book of St. Louis.

The fun of The Underpants is its light touch, its quixotic Martin humour vis-a-vis matters of gender, and its verbal gotcha (so to speak): dexterity in word quibbles which go the spectrum from the rude double-entendre to the goofy malapropism. The whiney hypochondriac barber (Scott Walters), for example, enters grandly, "I, sir, am your prophylactic." Later he will be outraged by Theo's epithet "it's barbaric" as a slur on barbers.

The fall of the panties, and the scandalous fallout, immediately lead to a run on the Maske's spare room: the barber, the euphoric poet (Garett Ross) who imagines he's found his muse, the busybody upstairs neighbour (Colleen Wheeler) who wants a vicarious thrill. The sexually neglected wife finds herself aroused by the desires around her.

The straight man of the comic lineup, ricocheting through Bryan Pollock's pastel art deco fun-house, is Tracey Power's Louise. She combines naivete and a certain good sense that tramples periodic bursts of excitement, in a way that anchors Chris McGregor's production. O'Donnell as the imperious, self-infatuated Theo is the monolithic comic butt of proceedings, a veritable repository of funny, humourless male certainties about modern life. Only men should have affairs. "Home is the place for passing gas." "A man does not think of polka-dots." He's a German Lady Bracknell, and in the end, he prospers.

Wheeler, who has an amazing foghorn voice as the operatic dragon neighbour, is just a hoot. You'll get a bit tired of everyone else, nutty though they are -- possibly because the actors enter in full farcical frenzy and can't quite figure out how to keep the comic buzz in the air without repeating themselves. It is, however, a problem endemic to all but the most sublime farces. The Underpants isn't in that league, but it's fun in a fresh, literate way.

Shopgirl in November?

Until now there has been no hint as to when Shopgirl would actually be released. This article says November, 2004.

Daily Variety
February 23, 2004, Monday
NEWS; Pg. 5

Hyde Park Entertainment is reteaming with its "Bringing Down the House" helmer Adam Shankman on Bill Kelly's thriller "Premonition."


Hyde Park has three pics slated for release this year. MGM's "Walking Tall" bows April 9, with two Disney pics to follow: Kate Hudson starrer "Raising Helen" on May 26 and "Shopgirl," starring Steve Martin, in November.

Monday, February 23, 2004

For the people on the subscription list

Due to a technical error on my part (quelle horreur!), the notice did not go out on the last posts. So come look at the new content -- some pics and some articles.

Sorry about that.
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Steve's cameo on SNL

Download the
RealPlayer video by right clicking and choosing "Save Target As..."

Hi Steve, what are you doing here?

STEVE MARTIN: I'm doing a cameo. I was home in bed and I thought, I'd
like to do a cameo.

FALLON: Steve, do you want to tell a
joke or something?

STEVE MARTIN: Oh no..just doing a cameo. And I think it's going well.

FEY: How long is your cameo?

STEVE MARTIN: Just regular cameo length. Just a few more seconds,
and.., there we go.

FEY: Well, great work. That was a really
good cameo.

: Ya think?


I think this is from Pennies from Heaven

big hunkin pic

Saturday, February 21, 2004

The first picture published here

the exact date of this pic is not known, but I would put it at about 1969. Zap Comics first appeared in 1967, and for a while seemed to put out about one issue a year. I cannot tell for sure, but I think this is issue 2. Robert Crumb was the artist, and Steve has talked about liking and having some of his work.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Q and A in Scotland on Steve's movies opening there now

Scottish Daily Record
February 13, 2004, Friday

STEVE MARTIN was a stand-up legend and then made some of Hollywood's funniest movies, such as Roxanne, Parenthood, The Jerk, Planes, Trains & Automobiles and The Man With Two Brains. This week he's in two movies, Cheaper By The Dozen and Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

Q WHICH is your favourite out of all the movies you've made?

A I THINK I've made around 30 movies and it's hard to pick a favourite. I had fun making Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, just the memory of making the movie. I haven't seen Parenthood for a while. Roxanne, I certainly enjoyed that.

Q DO you feel uncomfortable taking on Cheaper By The Dozen since you don't have kids?

ANO. I've played fathers so many times, it's like being one. I've had children of every age. And like I say, I get to do everything but the dirty work. Their parents have to take them home and deal with all that.

Q HAVE the values of fatherhood changed?

A CERTAINLY. In the last 20 years I think fathers seem more important. It used to be in the Fifties, of course, that the father was obligated to always be away and be gruff. Now, it's very important. They really want to share the beauties. It seems to be important. Fatherhood has taken on a more important role.

Q DID you ever think the kids' behaviour in the movie was unreasonable?

A THERE are a couple of moments when I think they should be sent to bed. But with 12 kids, you couldn't send them all to bed. You have to handcuff them to the bed frame.

Q WHAT was Ashton Kutcher like to work with?

A He was hilarious. He was so funny in this movie. And a lot of it is on the cutting room floor, because he can ad lib. I would like to work with him again.

Q DO you still have time for your music?

A PLAYING the banjo? Yes. I play almost every day. Sometimes I get together with friends. I play with Billy Connolly.

There are a few of us.


An interview with Steve you haven't read yet

The Express
February 13, 2004
Garth Pearce

STEVE MARTIN, whose on-screen image of a wild and crazy guy always hid a shy insecurity, looks remarkably sane. With distinctive white hair, neatly combed, and in a dark suit, he appears more of a businessman than comedy actor. But, at the age of 58, he announces he's going to start telling a few home truths.

He knows that he has not delivered a vintage comic movie in years. "When I meet people and hear them say, 'I love your films', I pause and ask, 'Which ones?', " he says. "There is then a silence as they search their memories. I say, 'Perhaps you saw one on television recently'.

Other actors? "I never want to insult anyone who I've worked with so end up sounding boring, " he says. "Or, sometimes, the best stories are too intimate and I cover them up. So on every film I hear myself saying, 'It was great', whether it was or not."

His own love life? "Best not to think about it, " he says. "I don't have any children and still have no idea whether I will or not. It's getting late, I know. It also takes two to tango. I am in a relationship at the moment but it's not showbusiness and she is not an actress."

Martin looks relieved at the thought. Actress relationships have ended sourly for him, from the comparatively youthful Helena Bonham Carter to Diane Keaton. Anne Heche left him for a lesbian affair with Ellen DeGeneres. And his English actress wife, Victoria Tennant, walked out in 1993 after seven years together.

Such personal problems sent Martin further into his shell. A succession of films in the Nineties such as Leap Of Faith, A Simple Twist Of Fate and The Out-Of-Towners flopped. Even his 1995 sequel to the successful 1991 film, Father Of The Bride, was a disappointment.

But the reason we are talking now in a hotel suite in the heart of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, is that Martin is back with a vengeance - with his biggest ever box-office hit.

An unlikely family movie, Cheaper By The Dozen - unlikely because Martin, father of none, is playing a harassed dad of 12 with screen wife Bonnie Hunt - has grossed GBP 70million in America in just five weeks, despite the reservations of some critics.

It has made him the hottest comedy actor in town all over again, bringing back the sort of influential clout he had with such hits as The Jerk (1979), Roxanne (1987), Planes, Trains And Automobiles (1987), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) and The Three Amigos (1986).

"I've always said that the greatest thing you can do is surprise yourself - and this is one big surprise, " he says. "At the very point I've become less nervous about the whole process of making a movie, this comes along."

A virtually unknown director, Shawn Levy, who had a hit with the comedy Just Married, put together Martin's older children with some risky casting. He brought in Tom Welling from the cult TV series Smallville, teen actress-cum-pop star Hilary Duff, and Piper Perabo, who had a lone movie success with Coyote Ugly.

But they brought a sassy respectability for American audiences, who turned it into a Christmas and New Year favourite. It helped bring Martin, who plays a football coach trying to organise his more mature family to take charge of the youngest, back into fashion.

"I don't think this will influence anyone to say, 'Let's have 12 kids, honey', " he says. "But I think it will remind parents and children of the value of families. And there are always going to be problems.

"The parents are thinking, 'Why did we do this?' The kids are saying, 'Why don't they let me do what I want?' So perhaps it worked because of the strength and importance and goodness of it. People who are struggling with families might go out a little happier."

Martin's rather droll expression and unblinking blue eyes give the impression that he really has not the faintest idea why the film has become such an enormous hit. "You are right on that one, " he admits. "I never really know if something is going to work or not."

His winning battle against shyness and insecurity to become one of the world's bestknown comedy actors has been remarkable. We first met in 1977 in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was silently pacing a bare dressing room in white suit, a guitar strapped to his body, about to perform a 20-minute stand-up slot.

On stage, he became a different creature:

smooth and confident, delivering a sort of controlled craziness that brought the house down.

He then returned to the dressing room to lapse once again into strange, edgy silence.

The back-stage talk was all about this odd comic with weird white hair, who would hardly utter a word in private. But Martin, who for so long hid behind his stage or screen image, now seems to have come to terms with what - and who - he is.

"I am not the life and soul of any party, " he admits. "I can feel people standing around, thinking, 'When is he going to be funny?' But I am very much at ease with that now. It used to be stressful and I would avoid such situations, because I would feel self-conscious.

"There is a distinct difference between what I do in front of the cameras to how I am away from them. I do the things I like to do: ride my bike, do a crossword, have lunch with a friend, perhaps do some writing in the afternoon.

"If I am with close personal friends, then I can sometimes liven up. But I do not jump around the room with strangers because I am not a natural show-off. That used to bother me because I felt it cheated people from their expectations. That is no longer the case.

I do not feel I have to apologise any more.

I think about things like, 'What is comedy?

Can it be new? Am I in a rut?' It is like a science, to me and I do not expect most people to understand it.

"I am much more excited by the turning of a phrase when I am writing, then standing up in front of a camera and performing. All films are exhausting. You think, in the end, 'Get me out of here'.

"You are also treated like a king.

There are people to drive you between work and home, people to get you food and drink all day long, people to put on your clothes and comb your hair. It is ridiculous. If people saw how we live, they would think, 'That is how I want to live'. But the truth is that I am never sure whether I am being funny in front of the camera. It leaves me thinking, 'Is this any good?'

"And even when it comes out and the film company says, 'This will work', I still don't know for sure. I have seen films which I think are great just disappear from the screen, so I sometimes doubt my judgement."

BUT there is a new twist, in the wake of Cheaper By The Dozen. The director, Levy, has set up Martin as the new Inspector Clouseau, which the late Peter Sellers turned into his most successful role.

The movie, Birth Of The Pink Panther, will start filming at the end of April. "If I was just stepping into the shoes of Peter Sellers, I would be very scared, " he says. "It is going to be different and fresh. I took a long time to decide and turned it down a couple of times. What changed my mind was when I started working on the script. I started coming up with jokes and gags that I liked."

Even so, the omens are not good.

When Italian comedy actor Roberto Benigni reprised the role 12 years ago in Son Of The Pink Panther, directed by Blake Edwards, it was a disaster.

Martin's own attempt to ape Phil Silvers as the comic army sergeant Ernest G Bilko in the 1996 film Sgt Bilko also fell well short of the original.

But Steve Martin is defiant. "If I had listened to people tell me what I could or could not do, I would never have done anything, " he says. "I have to carry on working, writing and filming and just enjoy the wonder of it."
Friday, February 13, 2004

Three articles on insider scoop with the upcoming Pink Panther

Dontcha just love snitches? Not Steve, I guess.
Friday February 13th, 2004
"Tintin"/"Panther" Rumours
Posted: Wednesday Jan. 14, 2004 11:50pm (Au-EST)

Author: Garth Franklin
Source: Capitol

Many have been wondering how the "Tintin" movie in development is going and according to French magazine Capital, it might be further along than expected.

Seems that Steven Spielberg will produce and or possibly direct not one but potentially three adaptations of the famous comic according to the mag. The "deal is nearly signed" and shooting is aiming to begin next winter for a release in 2006.

The three movies to be made apparently will be based on two of the two-part comics (the space one is considered too "old fashioned") and one using two comics with the same characters. Thus it'll be the sunken treasure adventure "The Secret of the Unicorn" and "Red Rackham's Treasure", the China/Tibet drug trade and Yeti antics of "The Blue Lotus" and "Tintin in Tibet", and my personal fave - the Incan mystery "The Seven Crystal Balls" and "Prisoners of the Sun".

Meanwhile closer to the US, regular "Birth of the Pink Panther" scooper 'Clifton Sleigh' is back with news fans hanging out for this film franchise's rebirth will probably like:

"My source claims the character of Pon-Ton, the Chinese detective and sparring partner for Inspector Clouseau that Shawn Levy claims will feature in 'Birth' was a ploy to deflect attention from negotiations with both Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat for the role of Cato. The source is adamant Cato is in the film and Pon-Ton was a joke concocted by Steve Martin in irritation over the surprising number of leaks on this project. It should also be noted that my source insists that Mr. Martin is late in delivering his rewrite making the April/May start date for shooting highly speculative at best."

Thanks to 'Antoine' & 'CS'

More on Martin & "Pink Panther"
Posted: Thursday Nov. 27, 2003 2:30am (Au-EST)
Author: Garth Franklin

'Clifton Sleigh' strikes again with more gossip on MGM's Steve Martin-led remake of the famous Peter Sellers comedy series:

"Steve Martin may be getting $5 million less than Mike Myers was commanding for "Birth of The Pink Panther" but he certainly is demonstrating plenty of muscle. First the film lost its contemporary setting and became a prequel to the original set in the early 1960s.

Then Ivan Reitman who had been at the helm of the series' revival since 1997 was sent packing and Martin brought in the producing-directing team of Bob Simmonds and Shawn Levy who he had just worked with on the remake of "Cheaper By the Dozen".

Now, the latest news is that the character of Cato (who didn't appear in the original Panther but came on board with the second, "A Shot in the Dark") has been dropped from the script entirely. This is all the more startling as the character was expanded to play a bumbling Watson to Clouseau's Holmes in both Michael Saltzman's "Pink Panther X" script and in Len Blum's "Birth" script.

Jackie Chan had been involved in talks to co-star as Cato for nearly two years and was suddenly informed his services were not required the very week that media outlets were confirming he would share top-billing with Steve Martin.

MGM has downplayed Martin's involvement with the script as merely polishing it to suit his comic sensibilities, but in actuality it seems Steve Martin demanded on radically reshaping this project if MGM wanted him to star. After six years of false starts (and a quarter of a century since the franchise was successful), MGM is in no position to argue. Martin may be The Jerk, but unlike Clouseau, he's certainly no fool".

Thanks again to 'Clifton Sleigh'

"Pink Panther" Plot Details

Posted: Thursday Feb. 12, 2004 10:50pm (Au-EST)
Author: Garth Franklin

'Clifton Sleigh' is back with a breakdown of the story for the new Steve Martin "Pink Panther" movie which doesn't appear to be a prequel at all. I'll let him explain:

"The title of the film is officially "The Mask of The Pink Panther" and it is not a prequel or a remake. This is the tenth film in the franchise and it has a contemporary setting.

Here's the plot: Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin) is a brilliant detective. He's also arrogant, disastrously clumsy, and very lucky that the mayhem he creates never harms himself. His late father's claim to fame was having recovered the treasured Pink Panther diamond several times during his career but, thus far, the current Inspector Clouseau has never been able to distinguish himself in a similar fashion.

At the same time, the Middle East is aflame over the recovery of a long- forgotton treasure: The Mask of The Pink Panther. The priceless mask is recovered in the deserts of the mythical kingdom of Lugash and the current Sultan is eager to use the ancestral treasure to pacify his troubled nation.

At the same time, Inspector Clouseau is investigating the murder of the head coach of France's star football team (soccer to the Americans). The investigation leads to a shifty Paris fashion designer (Rowland Rivron), a sexy fashion model, the bizarre Claude Balls (Howard Stern), a short-tempered Hong Kong detective called Pon- Ton (Jackie Chan), and a member of the jet-set long suspected of having a criminal background (Robert Wagner).

Along the way, Clouseau's boss (Paul Giamatti) goes insane and starts seeing the cartoon Pink Panther whenever his least favorite detective is present. Apart from Steve Martin and British comic actor Rowland Rivron, the other actors cited are not yet signed but are attached to the project.

The Jackie Chan character plays an important role in the film and is obviously being considered as a recurring character. The Howard Stern character is funny but non-essential. Paul Giamatti plays a Dreyfus-like character but there is a nice cameo for Herbert Lom if he chooses to make one final appearance as Dreyfus. Robert Wagner is intended to play George Lytton (the same character he played in the original film forty years ago).

Finally, Steve Martin's hair will be dyed black and he will wear the moustache. While he plays the original Inspector Clouseau's son he will look and sound much more like Peter Sellers than Roberto Benigni did. The film will be released July 22, 2005.

The entire series--all nine installments--will be released on DVD in the Spring of 2005 with a trailer for the new film. The box set of the five Peter Sellers classics will be off the market at that point. Fans should hold onto their Region 2 DVD box as it contains a number of extras that could not be cleared for copyright in the Region 1 box coming this April".

Thanks again to 'CS'


An interesting oldie

Steve Martin talks about his comedy past and new film `Novocaine'.(The Orange County Register)
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service; 11/16/2001; Koltnow, Barry

LOS ANGELES _ Even if you squint real hard and the lighting in the room is dim, it is hard to imagine the Steve Martin sitting across from you with an arrow through his head.

The serene, thoughtful presence that is Steve Martin today does not seem merely a more mature version of that other Steve Martin. He appears to be another person altogether.

This Steve Martin is smart, sophisticated and collects art. That Steve Martin personified stupid comedy. This Steve Martin writes plays, novels and insightful articles for The New Yorker magazine. That Steve Martin wore balloon animals. This Steve Martin is soft-spoken and articulate. That Steve Martin once entertained arena-size audiences by playing the banjo, dancing across the stage on happy feet and shouting "Excuuuuuuse meeeeeeeee!"

Martin, who plays a dentist caught in a web of murder and intrigue in the film "Novocaine," makes no excuses for that period of his life, when he became the first stand-up comic to attain rock-star status.

"First of all, stupid comedy is never out," Martin said as he reclined on a sofa in a luxury suite at a Los Angeles hotel. "It's a comedy staple. But the stand-up I was doing in the 1970s was not an accident. Actually a lot of thought went into that stupid comedy.

"It was right after the Vietnam War, and all comedy was highly political. Mostly it was left-wing-leaning comedy, and all you had to do was mention Nixon and you'd get a laugh. I felt comedy was in the doldrums, and I believed that it might be time for someone to step up and be silly and stupid.

"It's the kind of comedy I loved, anyway. I grew up on Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Jack Benny and Jerry Lewis. There was an ironic element to my comedy act back then. It had a premise; I was not just acting stupid."

Well, excuuuuuuse meeeeeeeee!

Martin, 56, said he quit the act at the height of his popularity not only to concentrate on a movie career but because he was "emotionally drained."

"At first, it was a lot of fun and a great surprise to me," he explained. "As the audiences grew from 500 to 2,000 to 5,000 to 10,000 and then 20,000, I couldn't believe it. I was having a great time, but eventually I knew I had to stop. The act was getting so big, it was about to implode.

"It was the easiest decision I've ever made. I knew it was over. Sure, it could have gone on for a while, but I wouldn't have enjoyed it. It was an act that had repeated itself over and over again. When an act repeats itself like that, it's time to move on.

"And I have never regretted that decision. I think the funniest I've ever been was just before I made it and then right after I quit doing stand-up."

Martin, born in Waco, Texas, said he was thinking about being a comic long before his family moved to Garden Grove, Calif., when he was 10. After the move, he got a summer job selling guide books at Disneyland and used to sneak into the back of the Golden Horseshoe Revue to watch headliner Wally Boag entertain audiences. He also spent a lot of time in the park's Magic Shoppe learning tricks.

In fact, Martin later incorporated his magic expertise into a comedy bit called The Great Flydini, in which he portrayed a magician who pulled objects out of his pants through his open zipper.

He attended California State University, Long Beach, as a philosophy major but already was honing his stand-up act in area comedy clubs.

"It was never about becoming rich and famous," Martin said. "Rich and famous were not even possibilities in my mind. My whole motivation was a love of comedy. I thought about a career as a philosophy teacher but realized that if I never gave comedy a try, I would wonder about it the rest of my life.

"My act was so amateurish for so long. I was small time so long that I wondered if I'd ever get out of it."

The comedy got more professional when he was hired as a writer on the groundbreaking television show "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," for which he won an Emmy. By the end of the 1960s, he stopped writing for others and started performing his own material. He admits that those years were a struggle, and it wasn't until 1975, when he changed his look (to a white suit) and his material (to mostly silly bits) that his career clicked.

Martin's career hit incredible heights before he gave it up to pursue acting. In addition to selling out arenas, his comedy albums were monster hits, and two of them, "Let's Get Small" and "A Wild and Crazy Guy," won Grammys. His single, "King Tut," was awarded a gold record.

In 1977, another side of Martin emerged when his collection of stories called "Cruel Shoes" was published. His short film "The Absent-Minded Waiter," which he wrote and starred in, was nominated for an Oscar.

He wrote and starred in Carl Reiner's film "The Jerk," then began making films that proved to be an eclectic mix of highly commercial movies ("Planes, Trains and Automobiles," "Parenthood," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "Roxanne" and "Father of the Bride") and more experimental films ("Pennies From Heaven," "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man With Two Brains" and "All of Me"). Other films, such as "Leap of Faith" and "Sgt. Bilko," fell somewhere between those categories.

Although he has won respect for some of his more daring choices, Martin said that, all things considered, he'd rather be in a commercial success.

"Great work is nothing compared to a hit," he said flatly. "You can get solace from doing great work in a play or writing a book, but movies are big business and I feel responsible if a movie doesn't make back the money it cost to make."

Martin won rave reviews for his 1998 collection of essays, "Pure Drivel," and his recent short novel, "Shopgirl," hit the best-seller lists. But he says he will continue to act.

"I keep acting because it is a physical experience; writing is not. Acting gets you outdoors and gets you together with other people. It is a social experience that is endlessly fascinating. When I'm acting, time ceases to exist. That's because I'm so focused on it. It's like being in a zone.

"In the 1980s, all I wanted to do were comedies. I did a lot of comedies hoping that some of them would be good enough to last. It was the quantity theory. Now, of course, I'm older and I don't want to work as much. I'm more careful about what I do. I read a script and I ask myself, `What's it about?' `What does it mean to me?' and `Can I keep my dignity?""

Martin said he liked the script of "Novocaine" because it was complicated ("I couldn't guess what was going to happen next") and because it had a film noir quality that he enjoys.

In the film, he plays a dentist (yes, he played a dentist in "Little Shop of Horrors," but he swears he doesn't plan to make a career of playing them) who is seduced by one of his patients (Helena Bonham Carter). She turns his safe and predictable world of gum disease, fillings and tooth decay into an unpredictable world of sex, drugs and murder.

"It's a quirky little film," Martin said. "And it only took seven weeks to shoot."

The Gourmet Poker Club

The players: America may be in the grip of poker madness but forthe Hollywood elite, casino tournaments still can't compete withthe thrills of a good home game.(A-list)

W; 2/1/2004; Cutter, Kimberly

Although there's never been any shortage of self-described 'LA-list" poker games in Hollywood, the Gourmet Poker Club may well be the only game in town that actually deserves the title. The members: Barry. Diller, Steve Martin, Johnny Carson, Neil Simon, Chew Chase, Carl Reiner, former MGM boss Dan Melnick and producer David Chasman. One night a month for the past 25 years, these men have gathered at either Martin or Melnick's Los Angeles home, dressed in matching baseball caps and blazers that bear the club crest (a king holding a fork and knife), and primed to eat a fancy dinner and play a game that is, as Melnick puts it, "mostly just an excuse for us to sit around cracking jokes and acting like complete adolescents."

Women are banned from the game (though for years, Sherry Lansing and Dawn Steele threatened to dress up in French maids' uniforms and sneak in). So are cameras--which perhaps isn't surprising when you consider that the entire group has been known to break into song at the table. The famously shy Martin sometimes tests out shriek, and Nell Simon is addressed by the group solely as "Doe." "For us, it's like psychotherapy," explains Melnick, who has produced such films as Footloose, L.A. Story and Roxanne. "Everyone gets to let their hair down." Over the years, a few guests have managed to sit in--Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Chow, Robert Evans and Sidney Poitier--but Melnick says such invitations are increasingly rare. "In the early days there was more flexibility, but it's become a pretty closed circle over time." He chuckles. "Barry started as a third chair and had to work his way up."

Melnick's powwow remains the most fabled poker night in town, but it's by no means the only one. Lately, while 50 million Americans have been busy flocking to casinos each year, and while ratings have been soaring for televised tournaments such as the Travel Channel's World Poker Tour and ESPN's World Series of Poker, Hollywood heavies like Joe Roth, Curtis Hanson, Tobey Maguire, Ed Norton and David Mamet have been discovering for themselves the joys of the home game.

"Things tend to be much more relaxed and fun when you play at someone's house," says producer Robert Evans who, throughout the Seventies, Eighties and early Nineties, hosted a game in his mythic pool house that included Chow, World Poker Tour announcer Vince Van Patten and producer David Friendly. "Of course, if the stakes get high, the game's not going to be relaxed anywhere." On his worst night, Evans recalls, he lost more than $30,000. "The trouble with poker is, you don't really need the money you win, but the money you lose hurts."

Maybe so, but that doesn't seem to be keeping too many folks away from the tables. "It" directors John Hamburg (Along Came Polly) and Todd Phillips (Old School, Starsky & Hutch) have a low-stakes home game, while when David Schwimmer and his friends ante up, the winnings can go up into the thousands. The highest of high-stakes games may be the one Larry Flynt plays with some of poker's legendary professionals, who can win or lose up to $250,000 in a night. Meanwhile, all over Hollywood, there are casual games featuring motley mixes of younger agents, actors and music-biz types: One party includes the farfetched grouping of Mimi Rogers, Don Cheadle and comedian Harvey Korman. "I think poker's coming into its own," says Chow, who grew up playing cards and still buys in for a hand of Texas Hold'em from time to time. "It used to be that only presidents and gangsters played. Truman loved poker, but nobody talked about it. Now it's much more accepted."

Indeed, though people have been playing poker in Hollywood for as long as anyone can remember, games historically tended to be discussed in hushed tones, far out of earshot of the womenfolk. "When I was young, [ABC honcho] Leonard Goldenson brought me with him to this very obsessive game that went on between Sam Goldwyn, Jack Warner and Darryl Zanuck," Melnick recalls, "and it was very weird. The stakes were huge, and they weren't nice guys. Even when they were having fun, they didn't have fun."

Some players still won't bother unless there's significant cash on the line. "Only a high-stakes game makes my adrenaline flow," says Flynt, who has relocated his fabled home game to the Hustler Casino in Gardena, California, where players have included Vivendi Universal Entertainment head Ron Meyer and pros such as Phillip Ivey and Bobby Baldwin. The games of Seven Card Stud have been known to go for 48 hours straight. "I'm in a wheelchair, so I don't get to do much mountain climbing or waterskiing," says Flynt. "This is how I get my excitement."

Among Hollywood's younger set, one of the fattest pots can usually be found at the game that wireless mogul Reagan Silber hosts monthly at his glass and steel home in Bel-Air--also referred to in certain circles as the Billionaire Boys game. Here, amid chairs upholstered in sheared apple green mink and Warhols in solid white gold frames, the players, who include venture capitalist Darin Feinstein, private investor David Scharps and hotshot entertainment lawyer Jon Moonves, have to pony up $5,000 for the buy-in alone. "Step up, players!" calls Kevin Washington, the son of Montana mogul Dermis Washington, who sits with a stack of cash totaling $15,000 beside his chips (which are monogrammed with Silber's initials). "Players, step up!"

Before the cards are dealt, Washington boasts that he once won $300,000 in a single night in Las Vegas--and slept with the money in a pillowcase tied to his ankle because he didn't trust the hotel security When asked how much he's lost in Vegas over the years, he murmurs, "probably a couple million dollars." One hand later, Washington is forced to add $8,000 to that sum. "F---, man!" says Washington, getting up from the table and storming onto the balcony, "F---, f---, f---."

"Once you've played with sizable stakes, it's tough to go back," says Silber, who along with Andy Bellin, author of the memoir Poker Nation, plans to launch CETV, a cable network entirely devoted to gaming, in January 2005. "It's like trying to date a girl you went to high school with after you've spent a week in St. Barth's with a supermodel."

Most Hollywood games, however, seem to be more about male bonding than moneymaking. Though Schwimmer (who participated in Bravo's successful Celebrity Poker Showdown last fall) is fast becoming known as a "betting celeb," he still clears his schedule each Monday night to attend the low-key home game that Titanic producer Jon Landau holds at his house in Sherman Oaks.

"It's a nice group of guys," says Schwimmer of the clique that includes Landau, Bellin, talent agency head Bob Broder, Phoenix Pictures executive vice president Matt Bierman and screenwriter Zak Penn. The mood is easygoing: A Burmese mountain dog circles the table as the guys munch on black and white cookies that Bierman brings from Canter's Dell "When you're losing, at least you have the cookies," Bierman says.

Though the pot can run up to a couple of thousand dollars, this is not a princely sum for all of the players involved. "Men like to compete," says Bierman, who is quick to add that he would never play in a game he couldn't afford to lose. 'And it's relaxing at the same time--everybody sits around and kibitzes about people in the industry and gives each other s---."

Texas Hold'em is the game of choice for Schwimmer's group, and for virtually everyone else in Hollywood these days. In Hold'em, unlike in Seven Card Stud, the hands consist mostly of community cards, dealt faceup. "Hold'em is the perfect game because you don't have to memorize cards, and the winning hand is always changing, so it's incredibly exciting," says Bellin, whose memoir chronicled his experiences in New York's underground gambling dens. (Private games are still illegal in New York City, unlike in California.) Also known as "Seven Card Crack," Hold'em is the kind of game that can quickly put a player on the road to Gamblers Anonymous.

While Schwimmer's Hold'em game is not known to have turned anyone into a compulsive bettor, its stakes have risen gradually over the years, to the point where some of the original players have dropped out. William Morris agent Todd Feldman used to sit in on an early incarnation of the game when it was being played at Guy's on Beverly Boulevard back in 1997. "This was when it was an ATM game with a $300 buy-in," says Feldman, who quit the game when the stakes got too high. "It's evolved--or devolved--into a checkbook game now." Schwimmer's oh-so-public Friends raises were undoubtedly a factor. "You couldn't help but pick up the trades and think, This guy's making a million bucks a week," says Feldman. "How the hell do I bluff him out?"

This, of course, is one of the great questions of the game. And because poker is not so much about reading the cards as it is about reading the other people at the table, the best players tend to be those who are astute observers of human behavior--which is why so many writers, actors and directors are poker naturals. "It's funny," says Friendly, "In poker, you look for 'tells'--the unusual behaviors a player will sometimes exhibit when he's bluffing--and I end up looking for them in meetings too. I can always tell if an actor is nervous or confident, which is a pretty valuable skill to have in Hollywood."

Affleck, for one, says the game's appeal is all about math and psychology: "I am interested in those two things, and it seems to be that poker is an interesting intersection of them." If the tabloids are to be believed, Affleck's frequent trips to Vegas aren't doing wonders for his relationship with J. Lo, but they are certainly helping to raise the profile of the game. "So many of my friends in the industry play and talk openly about playing," says Bellin. "A few years ago people would have said that Ben Affleck was a degenerate for going to Vegas and playing as often as he does, but now people think it's cool."

Still, for Melnick and Co., Vegas ain't got nothing on their home game. "One time we thought it would be fun to mix it up, so Barry, Steve, Doc, Johnny, Carl and I went to Vegas together to play our game there," says Melnick "What a mistake. We went to Caesars and got this huge, fancy suite, you know, with awful red-flocked wallpaper, and we ordered dinner up to the loom, but of course the food wasn't nearly as good as it was at my house. At one point we all looked at each other and said, 'This is silly, why are we here?' What can I say? Casinos just aren't our thing."

Steve paints a fire helmet for charity

Helmets & Hollywood: Stars Add Brush Strokes toFiremen's Gala.
PR Newswire; 2/10/2004

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Nicole Kidman and Steve Martin are among 30 Hollywood stars taking up their palettes for southern California's firefighters.

The "Heroes & Heroines" Gala, a valentine to the 15,000 southern Calif. firefighters who fought massive blazes last fall that leveled 750,000 acres over 100 mile plus area, is scheduled for Thurs., Feb. 26, in Beverly Hills.

Sharon Stone and Asst. Homeland Security Chief, Asa Hutchinson, will be principal participants and the film star will also be putting her paint dabs on a helmet, all 30 of which have been donated by Pittsburgh-based Cairns MSA, the country's biggest maker.

Dennis Franz, Jamie Lee Curtis, Larry and Shawn King, Enrique Iglesias, Darryl Hannah, Dolly Parton, Gary Sinise, Martina McBride and even the Los Angeles Lakers are all decorating helmets, which will be auctioned off for charities that benefit the firefighters and the 21 year-old D.A.R.E. America organization, the event's sponsor.

Quips Parton, "I'll do my best to see what kind of a mess I can make."

The posh Saks Fifth Avenue, in Beverly Hills, plans to exhibit the star decorated helmets prior to the gala.

The white fiberglass helmets retail to fire departments for over $200 each, but with the star added accessories and accompanying autographs, it's anyone's guess how much they'll go for.

A photo display of the finished helmets will also be on display at .

For more information on the "Heroes & Heroines" gala, call 818-994-4661.

Another version of Steve on kids

Culture: Comedy star turns into a mild and crazy guy; SteveMartin tells Alison Jones why comedy acting is child's play.
The Birmingham Post (England); 2/12/2004

For a man with no children Steve Martin must have something about this wild and crazy guy that simply says 'dad'.

Some of his finest hours have been spent playing the part of a loving yet endearingly hapless pater familias, in Parenthood, in Father and the Bride, even in Planes, Trains and Automobiles when he was a man just trying to get back to his family for the holidays.

Now he is facing his biggest challenge yet, as the head of a household of no less than 12 children, including Superboy himself, Tom Welling (who plays Clark Kent in the series Smallville)

'I've played fathers so many times it is like being one,' laughs Steve. 'I've had children of every age and I get to do everything but the dirty work. Their parents have to take them home and deal with all that.'

Although he has been married, to British actress Victoria Tennant from 1986 to 1994, they did not have any little Martins.

He is now in a steady relationship (with a woman who works outside show business) but remains evasive when asked whether he would like to become a father himself. Instead he contents himself with playing Uncle Steve to his nieces, nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.

Unlike WC Fields, who roundly advised actors never to work with children or animals, Steve has developed an amused tolerance for the antics of the pint sized performers.

'It's sweet and funny. They were treated like Gods - somebody walks you to the set and walks you back and 'can I get you some water'.

'The kids were bright and sunny. They wouldn't say one-liners, they were just funny. They didn't come off like professionals. They come off like kids.'

And like real kids they occasionally became bored with the repetitive process of film-making. One of the movie's out-takes includes one of the children saying 'I don't want to do it anymore'.

'That was the youngest, and who could blame them? I don't want to do it again either. I just do it.'

However, where there is a child actor there is usually a showbiz parent lurking in the background. In Steve's experience they tend to fall into one of two catagories

'I've seen parents who were putting the kids into showbusiness and they were doing it for themselves and I've also seen parents, like on this film, it was because the kids wanted to do it.

'I'm kind of against it generally but I changed my mind on this movie because they were being educated and having fun. They were still very normal and excited about everything.

'I did a movie, A Simple Twist of Fate (a modern version of the story Silas Marner about a recluse who adopts a baby girl who wanders into his house during a snowstorm). I was working with two twins. They were about three and they were delightful.

'I asked the parents 'why are your children so fabulous' and she looked surprised and said 'Well we raised them with humour' and I thought 'gee that's a great answer',

'There are so many things that you can say through humour, which, if you say directly, can be harsh.'

Steve's own family did not push him into showbusiness, rather it was a slow organic process.

'I grew up in Orange County, California, which was very new and fresh and crimeless. Disneyland had just opened and everything was sunny and bright.

'It was the perfect 50s family of four, very typical, a housewife, father working, school.

'There wasn't much for them to say about me wanting to be an actor. Showbusiness isn't a career choice. It happens. You audition at a nightclub and you either get it or you don't. It's such a slow slow process.'

He started out doing party turns such as juggling , tap-dancing, magic tricks and balloon sculpting. He also learned the banjo and occasionally plays with his friend and fellow celebrity banjo player, Billy Connolly.

After majoring in Philosophy and Theater at university he briefly considered becoming a philosophy professor before starting to write for stand-up comedians.

Eventually allowed to perform himself he became famous as an absurdest, his act a devastating parody of second rate comics.

From there he slipped into films, scoring a hit with the cult favourite The Jerk. Though seen primarily as a master of both slapstick, in films like All of Me and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and withering wit, best demonstrated by Roxanne, an update of Cyrano de Bergerac, he is also capable of tackling darker pieces, like David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner.

'I never said 'I want to be an actor'. I was interested in comedy. If I'd chosen to be an actor, I'd still be at the audition line I'm sure,' he admits candidly.

The fathers he tends to play represent a new breed of parents, more touchy feely, with the fathers expected to take an active role in the children's upbringing rather than being the distant authority figures of Steve's youth.

'In the last 20 years I think fathers have become more important. It used to be in the 50s that the father was obligated to always be away and to be gruff.

'Now they seem to want to share the beauties. Fatherhood has kind of taken on a more important role.

'Children have also changed, they are no longer seen and not heard, mindful of their elders.

'Forty years ago it would have been shocking to have these kids (in Cheaper by the Dozen) with all these opinions.

'There were a couple of moments in this film when I thought the kids should have been sent to bed for their behaviour. But with all 12 kids you probably couldn't manage sending them to bed. You'd have to handcuff them to the bed frame.'

The film also features an engaging cameo by hot young actor Ashton Kutcher, who is jointly famous for being both the much younger boyfriend of Demi Moore, and the co-creator of Punk'd a candid camera style series in which he plays practical jokes on celebrities.

'He was so funny in this movie. And a lot of it is on the cutting room floor, because he can ad lib, and ad lib,' he says generously.

'I would like to work with him again.'

However, he isn't anticipating being Punk'd by Ashton.

'No, he didn't try anything. I think he sensed it would be a bad idea!'
Sunday, February 08, 2004

An astrology article on Steve
Natori Moore's soul food astrology
Steve Martin Gets Serious
Natori Moore

Popular comic actor Steve Martin has delighted audiences for years with his laugh-inducing movie lines and agile antics. In films ranging from the zany Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid to the critically acclaimed The Jerk, to his Saturday Night Live renditions of the “Wild and Crazy Guy” and “King Tut,” Steve has often played a congenial goofball at which we can’t help but grin. As a gregarious Leo (actor, playful child) with his action planet Mars in Gemini (versatility, genius), we watch Steve’s relentless cleverness with delight. And Steve’s crowd-pleasing humor continues during his first-ever March 25, 2001 hosting of that gala Hollywood spectacle – the Academy Awards.

What Lies Beneath

[View Steve's Chart] - But there’s more to Steve Martin than meets the eye. Behind his creative craziness lies a private and thoughtful side we’re privileged to see every once in a while, and which consistently fuels his best work. Steve’s sexy yet secretive Scorpio Moon gives him perceptiveness about people’s deeper motivations –an uncanny ability to look past the surface and find inner truth. He may use this ability to get to the core motivations of the characters he plays as well. The Scorpio moon placement can be subject to misuse through jealousy, manipulation and even revenge. But soaring above these natural human inclinations to help create art that transforms and elevates others is also the prerogative of the Scorpio Moon. Steve Martin has wisely chosen this latter path.

Beauty and the Beast

Steve’s genius for intuitive psychological understanding also arises from the unique positions of the planet Venus (love) and Saturn (loss) in his birth chart. When placed near each other, or in conjunction, Venus and Saturn are difficult planetary bedfellows that may bring delays, discouragement and disappointment in love. Sometimes they are even affectionately termed “Beauty and the Beast” due to the combination of attraction and repulsion they can bring. Yet this planetary conjunction also suggests an ability to create meaning from painful lessons learned (Saturn) through artistic creations (Venus).

Additionally, Venus and Saturn in Steve’s chart are positioned in the emotionally attuned sign of Cancer. They are hidden in his Twelfth House of secrets and the subconscious mind. This gives Steve an ear for writing realistic dialogue, and once again emphasizes his ability to hear the subtleties of meaning in what people say. These Cancer placements incline him to be historically sensitive and conservation-minded, with an eye to preserving art for future generations. Steve demonstrates this through involvement with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and art community.


Saturn and Venus placed in conjunction give Steve affinity for the underdog, as well as for the sometimes awkward, bittersweet elements of love. These types of love relationships are touched on in his films Roxanne and Father of the Bride, and brought to bloom in Steve’s recently published novella, Shopgirl. From a man known principally for his light popular humor, the deep insights Steve Martin gives us in Shopgirl about the ultimate value of intimate relationships are quite stunning. Steve’s psychologically inclined Scorpio Moon here enters the picture again, as the narrative of this humorous yet insightful book asks us to look closely at the intimate balance of give and take in our own primary relationships.

As revealed on a Charlie Rose interview in October 2000, Martin began to add serious literary writing like Shopgirl to his list of pursuits at age 45 in 1990. This timing corresponds with an opposition to Saturn in Steve’s chart from the transiting planet Saturn, which signifies the awakening of his capacity to produce art for a more deep-thinking and perhaps older audience. An attentive reading of Shopgirl encourages the reader’s self-love and restructuring of relationship priorities -- one of the best teachings a person who has Venus conjunct Saturn natally, as Steve Martin does, could provide.

A Remarkable Balance

Through bringing his deeper emotional insights into expression along side his well-loved comic characters, Steve Martin displays a rare and remarkable psychological balance in a popular actor. His Scorpio and Cancer depth of feeling joins with his Leo and Gemini playfulness to make his diverse and still growing career increasingly interesting to watch.


Steve Martin
August 14, 1945
5:54 am
Waco, Texas
source: Kepler database, Birth Certificate, Rodden Rating AA

Published in Dell Horoscope August 2002

Steve talks more about Cheaper by the Dozen

Daily Post (Liverpool)
February 6, 2004, Friday
FEATURES; Pg. 30,31

STEVE Martin doesn't have kids, but he says he's played a father so many times on screen it sometimes feels like he does.

With more father figure roles than most in his repertoire of movie hits -Parenthood and Father Of The Bride to name just two - now the 58-year-old former stand up comedian is wrestling with the pressures of being a parent again.

In his new film, Cheaper By The Dozen, opening on Friday February 13, Martin is an on screen dad to a family of 12 kids.

But the actor, who was married to British actress Victoria Tennant for eight years, has managed to kept away from real fatherhood.

"I'm amazed that I still get asked to play fathers at my age," admits the white-haired actor. "I've played fathers so many times I feel like one at times."

The best part is he gets to be with the kids when they're being treated well on the film sets and loving it.

"They're excited about doing the movie and you don't have to deal with them on their down time like parents have to every day.

"I've had children of every age, and I get to do everything but the dirty work," enthuses Martin. "Their real parents have to take them home and deal with that."

In Cheaper by the Dozen, Martin is left to fend for himself and cope with the chaotic horde when screen mother, played by Bonnie Hunt, goes away to promote her book.

It's a remake of the 50s film that starred Jeanne Crain and Clifton Webb and based on the book by Ernestine GilbrethCarey.

For all the screen chaos,Martin says the comedy is "a booster film for families". It'll make any parents feel their lives are so blessed, says the Bowfinger and Bringing Down The House star.

"Ending the filming was so moving. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to do it," he says.

The 50s film focused more on the father's attempts to get control of the kids. This time the film celebrates the kids free spirits more.

"To have all these kids with all these opinions 40 years ago would probably have been shocking to the audience," Martin admits. "It's the struggle that makes it funny, and trying to contain them."

The remake also shows the changing face of the father's role, explains Martin. "It used to be in the 50s that the father was obligated to beg off and always away, now they seem to want to share the duties. Fatherhood has taken on a more important role."

Despite what we see on screen, behind the scenes everything was well co-ordinated, says Martin.

"The kids were treatedlike gods and they were so sweet and funny.

I'm kind of against kids acting generally, but I kind of changed my mind with this movie."

The kids didn't come across as actors on set and were appealingly bright and entertaining, adds Martin. "They were so sunny and every one of their personalities was so different. They came off like kids."

He also had high praise for supporting actor Ashton Kutcher, who plays the partner of the eldest daughter. "He was hilarious and a lot of it is on the cutting room floor because he can adlib and adlib."

In the original book the father dies half way through. This surprised Martin as the film's script changed this major point.

"The script came to me finished and I didn't know until half way through the movie that the father dies in the original. This is a long way from the original book."

The long-time Los Angeles resident first burst on to the big screen 25 years ago in The Jerk, trading on his stand-up wild and crazy guy' routine from the 70s.

Since then he has attempted a few more dramatic roles like Novocaine but has generally been typecast in comedy. Now Martin seems to be making a bit of a habit of remakes.

His next project is a controversial reworking of the Peter Sellers classic Pink Panther. Sellers's surviving son Martin Sellers has come out publicly saying it's a terrible idea. The actor is currently co-writing the script.

"Sellers was so perfect that I have to create a character that I'll be as comfortable inhabiting as he was," says Martin.
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

An oldie, but a goodie

Probing the agile comic mind behind 'Picasso at the LapinAgile'
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service; 4/11/1997; Carey, Lynn

SAN FRANCISCO _ Steve Martin, the performer, bears no resemblance to Steve Martin, the regular guy.

In fact, in a one-on-one situation, Steve Martin looks distinctly uncomfortable. He sits at a table on the sloping stage at San Francisco's Theater on the Square, where the play he wrote, ``Picasso at the Lapin Agile,'' is playing through April 27. He jiggles one of his crossed legs.

Martin was in town for the day because he'd promised to do interviews when ``Picasso'' opened last June, but never got around to it. Possibly his appearance here now will goose ticket sales until the show closes, but it's not something Martin is concerning himself with. ``Picasso'' is headed to 24 more cities in the next year, including London. There's also a movie being made, though a director has yet to be chosen.

So, Martin has submitted to an interview.

But there's no sign of a wild and crazy guy.

``That's just performing,'' he says of his past personas, made famous especially on ``Saturday Night Live'' in the 1970s.

What about written observations that Martin is notoriously shy?

``I think what happens is people get a little ... I don't talk too well around interviewers, and people think that's the way I am all the time.

``It's just a kind of awkward situation, you're kind of there promoting, but you kind of want to talk personally, but then you don't want to talk personally, because you know? You're always on guard.''

Martin wrote ``Picasso at the Lapin Agile'' in 1993, because, if you're Steve Martin, you just can't help wondering what would have transpired if Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein met as young men _ in the Parisian bar Picasso was known to frequent _ on the verge of their huge successes. And, if you're Steve Martin, you'll be sure to add a hip-gyrating rock 'n' roller _ a surprise visitor from the late 20th century _ to the play as well.

``Picasso'' is like a Tom Stoppard play, but with mass appeal and a lot more laughs.

``I'm not that smart, believe me. It's a perpetuated myth,'' Martin says with a quick chuckle. ``I knew the tone I wanted immediately, a kind of knockabout, serious, semi-serious thing, freewheeling.''

When he finished the play four years ago, he was beginning a new phase of his life. He was approaching 50 (he turns 52 this summer), and his marriage to actress Victoria Tennant was crumbling (they're now divorced).

``I started thinking a lot, then,'' he says of this period. ``Reading a lot. If you don't change at some point, you'll stay your same old boring self. I feel like I'm kind of at one with myself now.''

Once you reach that point in your life, he says, you set new standards.

``A new premise for doing things. So, you look more carefully at things, or make sure it's saying what you're interested in, or you could do it well. With the time it takes to make a movie, you want to make sure that the time you're giving up to make the movie is worth that movie.''

Time not spent making movies is spent in various ways, such as traveling; Martin spends summers in Tuscany, in a friend's villa.

He also spends time writing. His newest play, ``Meteor Shower,'' is being workshopped in Los Angeles next week. ``It's too complicated to talk about. I've never even seen it.''

He's also writing short articles for The New Yorker. And reading scripts.

``I won't read a script if I know what's going to happen after page 10. I already know the ending. Usually it's a boy and a girl meet or a man and a woman meet and they're angry at each other. You know pretty much they're going to be in love by the end of the movie.''

Martin tends to write his own screenplays. He just completed a new light comedy two weeks ago, which he'll star in once a studio commits to it.

``It's a crazy movie about Hollywood. It should be fun.''

Yeah? Why? ``I can't really talk about it because I have nothing to say. It's a romp. It's in `A Fish Called Wanda' genre. I loved that movie.''

Martin's favorite movies that he's made include ``L.A. Story,'' which was a whimsical love letter to the town he's lived in most of his life; ``Planes, Trains and Automobiles'' with the late John Candy; ``Roxanne,'' which he wrote and produced; ``Parenthood''; and both ``Father of the Bride'' movies.

With no actual experience at the job, Martin is one of the all-time great on-screen dads. When he moved into his home in Los Angeles, there was a large children's play structure in the back yard. One magazine article had him gazing wistfully at it.

``It's gone, now,'' he says shortly. But, someday?

Martin shakes his head. ``I'm too shy to talk about it.''

Martin appears too vulnerable with the subject to pry _ he was said to be devastated when Tennant left him, reportedly for another man _ but, on the other hand, this is a highly eligible bachelor. He's handsome, fit, smart, witty, polite, has nice friends (such as Martin Short and Tom Hanks), keeps in touch with his father, has good career prospects and, if his art collection (it includes a Richard Diebenkorn and a Franz Klein) is any indication, he's rich.

``I date,'' he says, briefly. ``It's hard.''

Martin is also humble, refusing to believe that his name on a marquee is a draw. ``It's the movie subject that interests audiences.''

Martin fell in love with comedy by watching the movies. ``Laurel and Hardy. Jerry Lewis. I didn't really like the Three Stooges.''

What he admires nowadays is the work of Eddie Murphy (''I just saw `Nutty Professor,' I was in awe'') and Jim Carrey. ``I think he's great. He's got a real physical style, very new. His characters are completely full and odd and peculiar.''

Character is something Martin admires. But, when asked if he were playing Steve Martin on the screen, what would that character be? He replies, ``I don't know! It's impossible to know.''

Yes. It is.

An interesting article on Steve the Writer

Steve Martin lonely guy.

The comedian has taken his favorite theme into new territory: the realm of literary fiction

WHEN THE EMCEE of the Seventy-third Academy Awards takes the stage in March, the audience will see something they've never seen before: a literary novelist playing host to Hollywood's navel-baring navel gazers. Will Steve Martin be out of place? Not really. While we're used to seeing him among the bejeweled in the audience, playing odd man out puts Martin in his comfort zone.

In a career of many paths--actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, essayist and, now, novelist--he has always played that character. From the "wild and crazy guy" of early Saturday Night Live to his 1979 Hollywood breakthrough, The Jerk, to all three main characters in his current hit novella, Shopgirl, Martin has earned a reputation as one of America's smarter entertainers by portraying the individual who doesn't fit in.

In the past few years, Martin has been trying harder to fit himself into the role of a writer. He says it hasn't been easy. "Believe it or not, people still come up to me and say, `I love The Jerk,'" he joked to the crowd at the National Book Awards last November (an event he has emceed for the past two years). "And I say, `But did you read my latest book?' And they say, `That's what I'm talking about.'"

Martin, whose ability to entertain relies more on an ironic distance from audiences than his ability to warmly connect with them, is well suited to the solitary craft of writing. "That's where he finds more comfort and happiness than any of the other things he does," says Morris Walker, Martin's childhood friend and the author of the "authorized" biography Steve Martin: The Magic Years. "More than making movies, more than television, writing is the thing he loves most."

Martin has been writing for decades, but until recently, it was behind the scenes. He began his showbiz career crafting routines for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Later, after SNL's glory days made him a star, Martin co-wrote The Jerk (with Carl Gottlieb and Michael Elias), a comedy about an oddball--Martin's Navin Johnson, who fervently believes he was "born a poor black child"--trying to find his place in the world. In 1987, he wrote the screenplay for Roxanne, basing the film on one of his favorite stories: Edmund Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac.

Martin actually published his first bestseller in 1977. Along with his hit albums, that era's Martin juggernaut included Cruel Shoes, a collection of mini stories in the spirit of his comedy routines: the Sein Language of its day. It was in the mid-'90s, after starring in several box-office and critical bombs, that Martin distanced himself from Hollywood to regroup, focusing on writing for a different kind of audience.

He began by writing a play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, which premiered in 1994, about the artist meeting Albert Einstein. Then he started writing short humorous essays for The New Yorker, and in 1998, he collected them in Pure Drivel. These short, deadpan takes on the oddities and inconsistencies of contemporary culture displayed the authorial distance that is Martin's trademark.

Shopgirl, Martin's first longer work of fiction, is more ambitious, if minimalist in form. It's tied to nearly all of his earlier works by the theme of isolation. Mirabelle, the title character, is a loner who works at the glove counter at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills and whose two closest friends are her cats, one of which never comes out from under the sofa when she's around. She has tentative relationships with two men: Jeremy, a comically poor communicator who believes a chance encounter at a Laundromat actually qualifies as a date, and Ray, a businessman nearly twice Mirabelle's age who courts her as a lover while maintaining an absolute determination not to fall in love. Mirabelle takes anti-depressants and drinks alone in local bars, waiting, Martin writes, for "some omniscient voice to illuminate and spotlight her, and to inform everyone that this one has value ..."

Clearly, Martin wants the reader to see that Mirabelle does have value, and that Ray and Jeremy do, too. Martin has always been at his best when he evokes empathy for his characters. There was the garish Czechoslovakian outcast who wasn't really that wild or crazy but acted that way in hopes of becoming the life of the party. And the lead in The Lonely Guy, a shy man who comes home one day to find his girlfriend in bed with her lover; he writes a book on his experiences and becomes rich and famous, but that doesn't deliver the love he craves. In the screenplay Martin wrote adapting George Eliot's Silas Marner into 1994's A Simple Twist of Fate, he played an embittered man, betrayed by his wife, who isolates himself in a small town until a child comes into his life. Over and over, Martin has created characters whom we laugh at--not with--and then finds ways for them to be embraced and accepted.

Martin's comedy can be cold, distant, sometimes mean-spirited. Even in a feel-good movie like Parenthood (1989), he doesn't generate the kind of warmth that many other stars do--that's what makes him so good in David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner (1997), which calls for icy deliberation. His empathy is under the surface: What we see is the isolation, in bold relief.

At the 2000 National Book Awards, he poked fun at the practitioners of a solitary craft being thrust onto a public stage. When the cheering ended before sixty-four-year-old poet Lucille Clifton managed to navigate her way through the crowded cluster of tables to get to the podium and accept her award, Martin dryly pointed out that "the object is to get to the stage before the applause dies out."

That line may have been spontaneous, but not much of what Martin says or does is, say those who work with him. He is exacting with his material before he presents it to his audience. Neil Baldwin, executive director of the National Book Foundation, says he and Martin have gone over the script of his book-awards appearances carefully each year they've worked together. "He's a perfectionist on the rhythm of it, certain words in and out, the whole gamut of focusing on the properties of language," Baldwin says. "He's very attuned to the nuances of language."

"He is so calculating and sagacious about everything that he does," echoes Walker. Such comments call to mind the brain surgeon Martin played in The Man With Two Brains who, after making love to his duplicitous wife for the first time, looks up at the ceiling and remarks, "Wow. I never thought it could be so ... professional."

"He is a serious writer," observes Leigh Haber, Martin's editor at Hyperion, "and I think people understand that.... I think Steve is realistic enough to know that some people will think of him [as a celebrity writer] no matter what, which is one of the reasons he works so hard to get it right."

He works hard to keep his distance, too. Martin, fifty-five, was married once (for eight years, to actress Victoria Tennant) but was divorced in 1993 and has no children. "I don't think there are very many people who are close to Steve," Walker says. Martin, who has successfully avoided the focused gaze of the public eye, has himself talked about the isolation of celebrity. He found himself paradoxically dissatisfied when fame first hit in the '70s. "I was very happy that the success was happening," he said a while back on the Charlie Rose show. "But it was so isolating and it was hard to appreciate."

As an actor playing an isolated character, Martin's distance from the audience is hard, perhaps impossible, for him to overcome. As a writer, he has the freedom both to portray his characters and reveal his own voice.

"I am so excited now that I am becoming known as a writer," Martin quipped to the literati at last fall's book awards, "for, not only has my income dropped, I am hanging out with an entirely different group of people. Unlike Billy Crystal, who hosts the Oscars, I host the National Book Awards, which means that when I go to a fancy restaurant, I am whisked by Billy's table in the center of the room and taken to a small table in the back called the writers' table, where sit people named Rokowski and Brinski and Bosnorfski, people who not only write great literature but who also have not picked up a check in twelve years."

Martin appears genuinely happier to be at that back table. But on March 25, he'll be at the very front: He is hosting the Academy Awards this year, taking over for Crystal. The match may prove ideal, with Martin attempting to deliver the perfect melange of jokes to amuse a disparate audience for four hours. This annual flirtation can be witty; it can also be mean-spirited. It's what characters do in bars when they're trying to be noticed, and to fit in.
Sunday, February 01, 2004

An interesting SNL tidbit

The New Yorker
November 3, 2003
FACT; Annals Of Entertainment; Pg. 42
ANCHOR WOMAN; Tina Fey rewrites late-night comedy.
Virginia Heffernan


On October 13, 1979, Steve Martin hosted the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live"-he played the Pope, an aspiring male model, and Carole King's boyfriend-and nearly half of all television viewers in America tuned in. The show can never expect to do so well again; last season, on average, its share was about thirteen per cent.


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