Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Monday, December 20, 2004

Steve set to kill Corpse

Yeah, I know there's already a post about moving the date of Pink Panther, but check out what Steve's competition is going to be now.

Daily Variety
December 17, 2004, Friday
NEWS; Pg. 6
MGM's 'Panther' will prowl in fall

MGM's summer will no longer be pink.

Studio moved back the release date of its "The Pink Panther" pic from July 22 to Sept. 23.

Prompting the move was Sony's decision to shift "Mask of Zorro" off the September date, which in turn was a response to Pixar and Disney moving "Cars" to summer 2006. "Zorro" will now unspool Nov. 4, the date on which "Cars" was previously to bow.

"When there was movement on the date, we saw an opportunity to move our movie to the fall and own the weekend of Sept. 23," said Chris McGurk, vice chairman and chief operating officer of MGM.

Before the switch, "Panther," starring Steve Martin as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, a role created by Peter Sellers, would have faced off against DreamWorks' Michael Bay tentpole "The Island" and New Line's Vince Vaughn comedy "The Wedding Crashers."

New date pits "Panther" against "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride."
Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Use of Art in Shopgirl

Thanks to KMT
The Shopgirl part is near the bottom in bold
Off the Canvas and Onto the Big Screen
December 19, 2004

On a brisk winter day last February, the backyard of a
fashionable West Los Angeles house was suffused with
artificial summer light. Two women - the actresses Téa
Leoni and Cloris Leachman - sat by the pool, exuding
languor beneath a striped umbrella. For the artist D. J.
Hall, a West Coast-based realist painter, the movie scene
had a déjà vu quality; it was based on an almost identical
image she had painted nearly a decade earlier. The banana
plants and agapanthus were the
same, freshly placed in the
ground to enhance the resemblance to Ms. Hall's original
image. Ms. Leoni wore the shirt that Ms. Hall's model had
worn and thumbed through a scrapbook of Matisse-inspired
images the artist had had made. Even the polyethylene foam
noodles in the pool bore her imprint: she had painted them
with designs based on desert flowers.

This tableau vivant was far from accidental. James L.
Brooks, director of the movie "Spanglish," in which this
scene figures prominently, owns Ms. Hall's painting, and
the work, he said, was his "companion" while writing the
screenplay. It "perfectly caught a certain upscale woman in
Los Angeles," he said. Such women have a facade of
prosperity and happiness, "but you can see how haunted they
are behind it."

Before Mr. Brooks hired his production designer, Ida
Random, and set decorator, Leslie A. Pope, he brought on
Ms. Hall as a consultant. "When I got the job, the first
thing Jim showed me was D. J.'s painting," Ms. Random

By the end of filming, Ms. Hall said, she was stunned by
Mr. Brooks' fidelity to her vision. "It was like seeing one
of my paintings come to life," she said.

The challenge didn't end with the scene by the pool.
Assisted by Jennifer Long, founder of Film Art LA, a
Hollywood-based company that finds and licenses artwork for
movies, television and commercials, Ms. Random and Ms. Pope
secured paintings that contribute to the emotional tone of
the movie. Increasingly, production designers have come to
view artwork as the visual equivalent of a musical score
and to rely on experts like Ms. Long to provide it. "Over
the years I've learned that paintings are critical," Ms.
Random said, "because they are usually behind the actors'
heads. If a painting is wrong, it can really throw off a

On "Spanglish," Ms. Random, Ms. Pope and Ms. Hall reviewed
every dish, glass and tablecloth used in sets for the

The artist also suggested paintings that reflect the taste
and economic status of Deborah Clasky, Ms. Leoni's
character, a sometimes unsympathetic woman whose good
intentions are marred by neurotic behavior. A Carlos
Almarez painting of a female jogger, rendered in blue
against an intense red background, comments on Deborah's
compulsive running. A still life by Janet Fish mirrors the
objects in the house: an expensive teacup, freshly cut
flowers, snapshots seemingly taken on a family trip.

For digital copies of these paintings and permission to use
them, Ms. Pope turned to Ms. Long, a former commercial
illustrator who, while working long hours as a production
designer, had no time to track the contemporary art scene
to select the right work for certain interiors. Charged
with creating a New York loft for a sneaker commercial, she
found herself desperately searching prop houses and art

Ms. Long conceived Film Art LA nine years ago to eliminate
such scrambling. "If someone asks me for a painting with a
certain type of feeling, I can pull the slides of 10
artists in five minutes," she says. She represents artists
like Charles Arnoldi, Peter Alexander and Ed Moses, and has
found artwork for more than 130 feature films, 60
television shows and 55 commercials. "When I got started,
the industry was accustomed to paying for things like
music," she recalls. Today, because of heightened awareness
that images can also be copyrighted, filmmakers have
learned to pay for art, too.

Fees for art range from $500 to $10,000, depending on the
fame of the artist, the amount of time the work is on
screen, and the size that the work appears in the movie.
Not all work is used at the size the artist made it. A
6-by-3-inch painting by Ms. Hall, for example, was blown up
to 2 by 4 feet for a wall in the Clasky house.

Breakthroughs in digital reproduction have also been a boon
to Ms. Long's business. By copying a work digitally onto
canvas - which she can do at her office - "you can put a
$30,000 piece of art on a set for a fraction of its cost,
and there's no liability if it gets damaged," she said.

Though the extensive attention to artworks may seem
extreme, "people see everything," Mr. Brooks says. In test
screenings of "Spanglish," for example, viewers fixated on
a tiny photograph in the bedroom of Deborah and John
Clasky's daughter, Bernice. The photo shows her father,
played by Adam Sandler, as a young man. But because the
likeness bore a slight resemblance to John Kerry, audiences
wanted to know why the daughter was making a political

Ms. Long has worked with equally painstaking production
designers on other film projects. "Shopgirl," adapted from
the novella by Steve Martin, drew on Ms. Long's knowledge
of contemporary art to create three fictional gallery shows
with artworks that reflect transformations in the main
character's temperament.
For background images in a bank in
"Spider-Man 2," Ms. Long tracked down and received
permission to use a social realist mural by Robert Lepper
in a classroom of a West Virginia college.

The color palette of each scene is especially crucial to
establishing the mood. "If you paint a room blue, it's
going to be a sadder room than a bright yellow room," Ms.
Random said. Because Deborah and John Clasky have a
troubled marriage, not only is their bedroom blue, but it
is also dominated by an ominous ultramarine paining. The
work, by Cynthia Evans, depicts a rigid woman, eyes clamped
shut, standing atop a wedding cake that is bracketed by
caged doves: an unambiguous totem of disharmony.

The painting was on the bedroom wall during filming, yet
Ms. Long said she does not know whether it will appear in
the finished movie. Some of her artists, like one who
recently sat in vain through "13 Going on 30" for a glimpse
of his mural, have learned the hard way that scenes can be

To avoid embarrassment, Ms. Long counsels her artists, "See
the movie first before you bring your whole family."
Saturday, December 18, 2004

Pink Panhter Open Date Pushed to Fall
Pink Panther Moves to Fall
Posted by RT-News on Friday, Dec. 17, 2004, 05:24 PM

RT-News writes: "In response to Sony's decision to move ["Legend of Zorro"] from Sept. 23 to Nov. 4, MGM has announced that they're moving "The Pink Panther" from its summer 2005 release of July 22 to Sept. 23, Variety reports. Sony's decision was prompted by Disney moving "Cars" to summer 2006. "The Pink Panther" stars Steve Martin as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, who tries to solve the murder of a soccer coach while searching for the Pink Panther diamond."
Thursday, December 16, 2004

A new article made of old info
The Detroit News
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Wild 'n' crazy guy proves his brilliance
Funnyman Steve Martin takes on 'Pink Panther' remake and film adaptation of 'Shopgirl' novella
By Wolf Schneider / Hollywood Reporter

A famous coach has been murdered and his priceless ring -- known as the Pink Panther -- stolen. The French government needs a master detective to solve the crime and recover the gem. He's not available, so they tap Inspector Jacques Clouseau, played by Steve Martin.

With the "wild and crazy guy" as his suave alter ego and the attention-grabbing "Well, excuuuuuse me!" as his careerlong mantra, Steve Martin has made a gold mine of sending up the human condition.

His journey from selling 25-cent guidebooks to Disneyland at age 11 to nabbing a reported $17.5 million paycheck for MGM's upcoming reinterpretation of "The Pink Panther" has been a natural evolution for the film star and writer, whose situational comedy and light drama draws as much on absurdist principles as it does on deeper satirical paradoxes.

By synthesizing the clever, the cerebral and the goofy with his brand of postmodern self-referential humor, Martin has won Emmy and Grammy awards, filled 20,000-seat arenas as a stand-up comic, starred in 40 feature films during a 25-year span, hosted the Academy Awards and proved his own manifesto, "Chaos in the midst of chaos isn't funny, but chaos in the midst of order is."

"This idea of jokes that keep folding in on themselves, it's his comedic process," says Kevin Kline, who appears with Martin in the recently wrapped "Panther."

"It's uniquely his; it just keeps commenting on itself and taking another turn," Kline says. "I mean, he can do slapstick, farcical acting and he can do witty repartee -- and in his writing, it spans a spectrum from low humor to high wit."

At 57, Martin proved his urban-youth appeal by slouching undercover hilariously as a stoic father who becomes an Eminem-imitating "white homeboy" opposite Queen Latifah in 2003's "Bringing Down the House," which grossed $132.5 million domestically.

Later that year, Martin made "Cheaper by the Dozen" with director Shawn Levy, who also is helming "Panther," in which Martin fills the late Peter Sellers' shoes as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau.

Levy says that while Martin can "create absurdist circumstances and play them straight...he can also take the real world and a realistic context and find the absurd therein."

Although characterized as a romantic comedy, Buena Vista's upcoming release of "Shopgirl" is as melancholy as it is trenchant. Martin also wrote the screenplay and stars in the film, based on his own best-selling novella, with Claire Danes. In telling of an affair between a listless department store employee and a wealthy older businessman, Martin writes of a philanderer who "is using the hours with her as a portal to his own need for propinquity."

"(The script) was even more strangely intimate than I had anticipated," Danes says. "It's based on an actual relationship that he had." That made for a set with a shifting emotional undertone.

"We're all so accustomed to his clownish, extroverted persona; he's not antithetical to that (in actuality), but he's very observant and thinking," Danes says. "Occasionally, he'd crack a joke, and I'd go: 'Oh, right! You're an iconic comic; you're one of the funniest people on the planet.' But we'd all forget."

Perhaps what Martin does best, then, is find humor in pain.

"I think turning angst into art -- turning existential agony into art, and yes, turning misery into art -- is very much a part of it," Levy says. "When he does that conversion, it's not just with humor -- it's with genuine humanity."

Behind it all, this humane brain is operating in overdrive.

"That's what he's aces at doing: using his brain," says Martin's "Father of the Bride" costar Diane Keaton. "He thinks more than anyone I know or am friends with, with the exception of only one other person: Woody Allen.

Martin friend Brian Grazer, who has produced four Martin movies, agrees. "He's always ahead of everybody or deeper into the truth of what's actually going on," Grazer says.

Comedy always has been Martin's calling. The 59-year-old was born in Texas, to a homemaker mother and a Baylor University drama instructor father, he grew up glued to Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis movies. By the time he graduated high school in 1963, Martin had perfected his enthusiastic delivery of, "Well, excuuuuuse me!" as well as the wearing of an "arrow through head" prop -- all of which he would use in his stand-up routines. After studying theater at UCLA, Martin during the late 1960s became a writer on CBS' "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," which led to a decade of increasing popularity as a TV comedy writer, stand-up comic and frequent guest star on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

In 1979, Martin collaborated with director Carl Reiner, who some credit with launching Martin's career.

"He and his friends had written a thing called 'Easy Money,' and David Picker, who was going to produce the picture, needed a director," Reiner says. "Steve already was a major rock-star comedian: He would sell out bowls, the big venues and ballparks doing his crazy, funny thing. The movie is based on his act: There was one line in his act -- 'I was born a poor black child' -- and from that, we built this whole movie."

"Easy Money" was retitled "The Jerk," Martin came away with a girlfriend in co-star Bernadette Peters, and Reiner guided Martin into the '80s, with three more films.

"He's got what we call 'a little curvature of the brain,"' Reiner says. "He knows the cliche and avoids it like the plague, but he can take cliches and turn them into something new Martin recalled his Texas roots for the 1986 cowboy-comedy sendup "Three Amigos" -- in which he co-stars with "SNL" cronies Chevy Chase and Martin Short. Ever adept at physical comedy, Martin twirls guns, renders rope tricks, rides horseback and executes some fancy footwork and tush-wiggling during the movie's "My Little Buttercup" sequence.

Frank Oz helmed Martin as a demented dentist in the 1986 comedy "Little Shop of Horrors" before directing Martin again in the farcical 1988 feature "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," in which Martin plays a dimwitted swindler.

Off-screen, though, Caine was surprised by Martin. "He is so schizophrenic," Caine says. "If you meet him, you think you're going to meet this wild and crazy nut case... (but) he's the quietest, most intellectual sort of computer nerd."

Caine was impressed when, after rehearsing a scene in which his character dominates, Martin told Oz: "Let's not shoot this tonight; this isn't funny enough. I'll write something for Michael."

Says Caine: "The next day, he gave me two pages of very funny dialogue to say! He'd gone to all this trouble for another actor.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Steve Essays the New Tut Exhibit

The New York Times
December 5, 2004 Sunday
Late Edition - Final
Section 4; Column 3; Editorial Desk; Pg. 13
The King and I
Steve Martin.

Steve Martin is the author of ''The Pleasure of My Company.''

IT is fitting that so many major news organizations have asked me to herald the coming to the United States of the artifacts from King Tut's tomb. After all, I'm the one who wrote the silly song about him. I stepped over the backs of many Egyptologists who wanted to write this article, but it's better that they learn their lesson now: silly song writers are powerful and vicious people who will stop at nothing to write an article about subjects they have treated in a silly way.

I know that the song ''King Tut'' has become a standard and that many people believe it has been around for three-quarters of a century and was probably written by Cole Porter or Irving Berlin. But no, I wrote it in my car while driving -- and you probably won't believe this -- I wrote it in less than 15 minutes. The song broke musical ground in that if you look at the sheet music, there are asterisks where the notes should be, because the song has no tune. You will realize this if you hum the song in your head right now. This of course angered many so-called legitimate songwriters who have to make up melodies to go with their lyrics.

It does strike me as ironic that the song has become the standard reference work on the subject of King Tut. Many of the lines in the song are now believed to be fact. In this article I should -- as a serious scholar -- set the record straight:

King Tut was not ''born in Arizona.''

He did not live in a ''condo made of stone-a.''

King Tut did not ''do the monkey,'' nor did he ''move to Babylonia.''

King Tut was not a honky.

He was not ''buried in his jammies.''

The song does, however, make a valid assertion that scholars still regard as a breakthrough: King Tut was, as explained in the song, ''an Egyptian.''

When I got a call from a high-level Egyptian museum official saying that his country was upset that my song ''King Tut'' was not being played worldwide as much as it should be, and asking me if I would endorse an American tour of the artifacts in order to increase awareness of my song, I humbly agreed. The gentleman said, ''If we thought that our exhibit would, in some way, introduce your song to even one more person, then the whole enterprise would be worth it.'' I am proud to be of service.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Steve's dulcet tones nominated for a Grammy

It's a good think KMT sent this in for your edification. I originally saw the article, but saw Bill Clinton in the headline and didn't read it.

Steve's in the middle.
Bill Clinton wins another Grammy nod
Wednesday, 08 December, 2004, 09:00
Los Angeles: Former US president Bill Clinton, movie star Steve Martin, actor John Lithgow and comedienne Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday won places alongside the world's top musicians as Grammy Award nominees.

An unlikely nominee, Clinton won his second consecutive nod for music's top awards in the best spoken word album category for the recording of his best-selling autobiography 'My Life'.

Earlier this year, the former leader won a golden gramophone statuette for lending his voice to the spoken word recording of Russian folk tale of 'Peter and the Wolf'.

Other unlikely Grammy nominees unveiled on Tuesday in Hollywood included funnyman Steve Martin, who also won a nod for best spoken word album for the recording of his novel 'The Pleasure of My Company'.

Lithgow, who starred in the hit television sitcom 'Third Rock from the Sun', won two Grammy nods, including one for best spoken word album for 'The World According To Mr. Rogers', which he shares with former 'Cagney and Lacey' star Tyne Daley and comic Lily Tomlin. Lithgow also won a nod for best spoken word album for children for 'Carnival Of The Animals'.

But, while the news for Clinton was good, former US first lady, Senator Hillary Clinton, did not repeat her Grammy nominations success of 2004, when she won a nod for best spoken word album for the reading of her autobiography 'Living History'.

The 47th annual Grammy Awards will be held in Los Angeles on February 13 next year.
Sunday, December 05, 2004

Steve to make film about Disney

The Calgary Herald (Alberta)
December 4, 2004 Saturday
Final Edition
Surprises in store for Disneyland's 50th anniversary: Celebration promises big fun for everyone
Joanne Elves, For the Calgary Herald

Travel professionals of Calgary got a sneak peek Thursday at what's in store next year when Disneyland celebrates 50 years with The Happiest Celebration on Earth.

Starting May 5, 2005 (or 05/05/05 or 50, 50, 50 backwards) Disney Resorts around the world will celebrate Walt Disney's dream of Disneyland, the original park that on a hot summer day in 1955 introduced the world to what has become a favourite family destination.

Over the past 50 years, more than 500 million guests have walked through the gates to enjoy what has become classic entertainment.

The party will continue for 18 months, representing the biggest event in the history of the Walt Disney Company, encompassing all the theme parks from around the world, including Walt Disney World in Florida, Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disney -- which isn't even finished yet. The festivities will include new shows, parades, fireworks and attractions.

Each property will celebrate in its own way, but at Disneyland, expect to see the biggest party of all.

After 50 years, every house needs a reno -- and Sleeping Beauty's castle is getting a full makeover. Royal banners, intricate stonework and crowns on five turrets will delight new and repeat visitors.

The Buzz Lightyear attraction entertaining families in Walt Disney World is opening in 2005 in Disneyland.

Unlike the original attraction, guests will pilot their own Star Cruiser through a new galaxy.

A new parade, with Tinkerbell leading a huge procession of Disney characters, will glide down Main Street.

Speaking of Tink, the new fireworks display at the castle will use new dramatic close-proximity pyrotechnics, music and lighting effects to dazzle the crowd. Best of all, Tinkerbell, after so many years of flying through the sky from the Matterhorn, will reveal a new flight path. (Shhhh, it's a secret).

Funnyman Steve Martin worked in the magic shop on Mainstreet when he was a kid, so, to honour Disney, Martin will host a historical movie about Walt himself.

In California Adventure, the sister park across the promenade, there will be a block party bash at which guests will suddenly find themselves surrounded by instant celebrations. Mickey, Minnie, Muppets, the crew from Monsters Inc. and oversized ants from A Bugs Life will drop in to dance and entertain in the usual over-the-top Disney way.

Planning to go to Disney before the May 5 kickoff? Ask your travel agent about family deals available from January through April.
Friday, December 03, 2004

More Mirabelle

December 3, 2004, Friday, FINAL EDITION
LIFE; Pg. 1E
Danes has Steve Martin's 'Shopgirl' in the bag
Donna Freydkin


Zac Posen and Prada aficionado Claire Danes steps behind the store counter in Shopgirl, the big-screen adaptation of Steve Martin's 2000 debut novella.

By day, Danes' Mirabelle sells accessories at a posh department store; by night, she watches the telly at home. But her quiet life is disrupted when she meets and falls for a womanizing millionaire played by Martin.

"It's really intimate," Danes says of the film, which has no release date set yet. "The book was inspired by an actual relationship Steve had with a woman whom I spoke with and who remains a good friend of his to this day."

So much so that she would even visit the set, Danes says. "I felt a certain responsibility towards her," Danes says. "But I haven't seen the final product. I don't know what we'll get, exactly."

She adds that the production threw Martin into "a perpetual state of deja vu, because he'd lived it."

There once was a man from Nantucket...

The New York Post
November 28, 2004 Sunday
All Editions; Pg. 15
Richard Johnson



THAT Sean Connery will receive a tribute from the King of Morocco at the Marrakech Film Festival next month, while Steve Martin will be honored at the Nantucket Film Festival in June.


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