Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Friday, July 29, 2005

A romantic tidbit of gossip

Gawker is a NY based gossip site focussed on Manhattan. This article refers to a contest they're running, with a sideways mention of Anne, Steve's squeeze(?).
The Semiotics of Gawker Hotties Nominations
July 27, 2005

An anonymous 4 Times Square [Conde Nast building]denizen with far too much time on his hands — don’t they all have too much time on their hands? — deciphers for us the situational realities underlying the Women of Conde Nast nominations:

You said: “We’ve noticed a strong tilt toward New Yorker folks.” The reason: the only straight men in the building work at either Wired, Vanity Fair or the New Yorker. About three people work for Wired, so forget them. Of the 15-20 or so straight men at VF, half are older, married or don’t read Gawker, and the rest are too lazy to vote. Then there’s the elevator factor. Both the New Yorker and VF are cloistered in the 17-26 bank, which means we have very little contact with actual Conde Nast hotties, most of whom work in the 4-16 bank (all the fashion books). Sure we have a handful of literary hotties, including a certain fact-checker at the NYer who once dated Steve Martin, but on the whole, these are not the droids you’re looking for. The only contact us south-bank straight men have with actual, Lucky-reading, pointy-shoed “hotties” is in the cafeteria. I’m sure every guy has his cafeteria crush — but very few of us actually know names or mags to put to the faces. For instance, there’s one stunning asian-ish girl I’ve seen every other day for years, and I’m only half-sure at this point if she works for House & Garden.

Duly noted.

Oscar buzz for Shopgirl?
Tidbits are buried in the larger article.
Hollywood's biggest desi producer
Arthur J PaisJuly 29, 2005 21:31 IST

His friends and admirers call him the Maharajah of Hollywood.

And, at the moment, you can easily say Ashok Amritraj is much envied. He has recently inked a major deal with 20th Century Fox that will let him set up a mini studio on the Fox premises and make about 20 films in the next five years. Each of these films will cost about $1 billion.

"I feel I have just started the second phase of my career," says the former tennis champion with his characteristic deep laugh.

"I am just another producer who loves the movies," he continues, chuckling harder. "Now, as I enter my 25th year in Hollywood, I look forward to the next chapter."

Known for his fiscal conservatism, which he says he learned from his parents, Amritraj has made mostly medium budget films ($25-$35 million). So, even when some of his films like Original Sin tanked at the box office, they did not lose much money. The chances are many of them, like Original Sin, will recover their investment and make profits through foreign runs and ancillary sales.

"Hollywood can be an unforgiving place," he often says. "Believe me, you must always think hard about being fiscally responsible and shun extravagant deals. Ethics and integrity still matter here, no matter what some people think or how they behave."

One of Hollywood's most prolific and successful independent producers, he has produced or executive produced 90 films that have grossed over $1 billion worldwide. Among his early hits was Double Impact (1991) with Columbia Pictures, which was the first major film produced by an Indian to gross over $100 million.

His other films include the heartfelt emotional drama Moonlight Mile (Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon); the sophisticated crime comedy, Bandits (Bruce Willis, Kate Blanchett); and his biggest hit, Bringing Down The House (Steve Martin, Queen Latifah).

Martin also leads the cast of Shopgirl, based on the novella he wrote about three years ago. The book became a huge bestseller. Shopgirl premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival in September along with another Amritraj co-production, Dreamer, which stars Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning.

"And guess what," says Amritraj, "both films will be released on the same day in October by different distributors. Disney will release Shopgirl while DreamWorks opens Dreamer."

Dreamer, the story of a father and daughter and an injured horse, says Amritraj, is his gift to his daughter Priya who, like Dakota, is 11 years old.

The script had a boy but perhaps, in a nod to Priya, the he became a she and the fabulous Dakota landed the part.

Amritraj says he was initially nervous when he heard both films were to open on October 21. "But I guess the audiences will be different," he surmises. "Shopgirl is a sophisticated emotional comedy while Dreamer is an inspirational tale aimed at families."

Many of his films, including Bandits, have been nominated for major awards in Britain and the USA. Now, with a big Oscar buzz for Shopgirl, he thinks it is time for his films to get a string of Oscar nominations. "These are the kind of films I will be making for 20th Century Fox," he says.

Amritraj also has very good deals with Disney, which will continue for another three years, and with MGM. But the first look deal with Fox gives him much bigger clout and flexibility and allows him to make at least four films a year.

"Flexibility has always been a key in the movie marketplace but, with Hollywood films acquiring more and more viewers across the globe, flexibility is becoming even more crucial," he explains. Studios, he says, love producers who bring in projects from different genres. A mixed slate of films also helps the studios reduce the risk factor.

Included in the 35 to 40 movie projects Amritraj has been developing is The Other End Of The Line, which will be shot extensively in India and is a love story set against the backdrop of the IT world. The film will be cast next month.

"The most important task right now is to cast a terrific Indian actress and a leading Hollywood actor," he says. But he is not considering the popular Aishwarya Rai, whose earliest films including the Amritraj-produced Jeans. For one, she has many assignments. "But you can never say never in this business," he says.

Making the film in India and taking it to worldwide audiences is a matter of pride for Amritraj. "Never mind the years I have spent in Hollywood, I have always tried to remain connected with India," he says.

"Over the last 24 years I have always thought of myself as India's ambassador to Hollywood," he continues. "I feel honoured to have succeeded in breaking down various barriers that existed and in opening the door for future generations of Indian producers, directors and stars who are passionate and disciplined about making it in Hollywood."

Amritraj also says the reality of his life has far exceeded the dreams he had as a kid growing up in Chennai. Despite having made films for the big Hollywood studios, he is still in awe of the older studios, he says.

"I remember my student days in Chennai," he continues. "Watching movies between classes and tennis matches, often with my tennis racquet in hand. I don't remember how many times I saw 20th Century Fox's Cleopatra at the Sapphire Theatre in Chennai or the number of times I enjoyed the James Bond movies, made by MGM, at Anand."

Today, he is making films for these very companies.
Sunday, July 24, 2005

More info on the Mark Twain Prize presentation

no word on what the tickets cost.
Hanks, Keaton, Reiner, Short, Simon and Tomlin to Salute Steve Martin; PBS to Broadcast in Fall
By Andrew Gans
24 Jul 2005

As previously announced, actor-comedian-playwright Steve Martin will receive the Kennedy Center's eighth annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Oct. 23 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.

Among those now scheduled to salute the versatile performer are Dave Barry, Larry David, Tom Hanks, Diane Keaton, Lorne Michaels, Randy Newman, Carl Reiner, Martin Short, Paul Simon and Lily Tomlin. The evening will be taped for broadcast on PBS stations nationwide Nov. 9 at 9 PM ET.

The Mark Twain Prize, according to press notes, recognizes "people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said 'against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.'"

Martin follows previous recipients Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin and Lorne Michaels.

In a recent statement Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said, "The Kennedy Center is pleased to give Steve the Mark Twain Prize for an extraordinary career. His creations, be they on stage, on film or in a book, have created a collective memory of humor and joy for all Americans."

Awards recipient Martin countered, "I think Mark Twain is a great guy and I can’t wait to meet him."

Steve Martin wrote and starred in such films as "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man with Two Brains," "Roxanne," "L.A. Story" and "Bowfinger." His plays include Picasso at the Lapin Agile and The Underpants, and he also published the novellas "Shopgirl" and "The Pleasure of My Company."

Tickets for the evening will go on sale Aug. 10 by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. For more information, visit
Saturday, July 23, 2005

Yeah, but you weren't capable of following up, were ya?

National Post (f/k/a The Financial Post) (Canada)
July 23, 2005 Saturday
Toronto Edition
TORONTO; Scene; Pg. TO8
Just don't call them Debbie: Plus, the wonders of Miss Universe
Shinan Govani, National Post

Oh, and I simply must tell you...

Father of the Pooch Steve Martin, whose dog, Roger, has been very sick while in Toronto -- you also read it here first -- has posted a message on his official Web site that Roger is "back to his old self," i.e. chasing tennis balls around. A few weeks ago, the distressed funnyman was spotted at the Yonge-Davenport-area Veterinary Emergency Clinic with his very best friend, a 10-year-old Labrador retriever...


26th anniversary dvd of The Jerk

National Post (f/k/a The Financial Post) (Canada)
July 23, 2005 Saturday
Toronto Edition
Screwball sensibility and sensitivity: Steve Martin has a strong legacy but not an Oscar nomination
Chris Knight, National Post

It's hard to believe it's been 26 years since standup comedian Steve Martin first had a starring role in a motion picture -- but easy to remember, because the aptly named 26th anniversary edition of The Jerk hits shelves this Tuesday.

As rags to riches stories go, openings don't come much better than "I was born a poor black child." Martin plays Navin R. Johnson, growing up in the South, feeling out of place because he's the only one in his family without rhythm, until his mother pulls him aside and reveals that he is not her natural child. Navin's reaction: "You mean I'm going to stay this colour?"

The Jerk (the French-Canadian title, oddly, is Un Vrai Schnock) works as well as it does because, while Martin acts like a total buffoon, everyone and everything else in the movie is completely straight, from love interest Bernadette Peters, to Jackie Mason as a gas station owner who gives Navin his first job, to director Carl Reiner playing himself. Navin's invention, the Opti-Grab (an ugly handle that makes it easier to don and doff your glasses), causes Reiner to go cockeyed, with tragic results to his filmmaking career.

Reiner's own career was helped a great deal by The Jerk: He went on to direct Martin in the brilliant noir parody Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and a bit of insanity called The Man With Two Brains. The Jerk heralded the kind of non-sequitur comedy soon to be seen in Airplane!, Top Secret! and a number of other exclamatory titles by Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers.

Whether sitting in his Cup 'o Pizza decorated home, screaming "The new phone book's here!" (Navin is convinced having his name in print means he's going places) or chasing a tiny runaway train, there is no situation Martin can't bend into a comedic shape. It's no wonder he got his start making balloon animals.

The bonus features on the disc highlight the film's screwball sensibility as well as its sensitive side. In the zany category are the lost filmstrips of Father Carlos Las Vegas de Cordova: Father Carlos asks Navin for money to combat the Latin American scourge of cat juggling; the bonus material shows that he also had at his disposal footage of fish teasing (tapping on the glass, pretending to feed them with empty food containers), verbal plant abuse and the heinous crime of dressing small dogs in cute but undignified costumes.

Strangely sweet is a scene in which Martin and Peters sing an old love song, Tonight You Belong to Me, accompanied by Martin on ukulele and Peters on cornet. The disc includes a quick ukulele lesson in case you want to master the chords and play along at home. Martin makes it look easy, but his many talents include a mastery of small stringed instruments; he once won a Grammy for his banjo playing.

Since The Jerk he has had success as a novelist (Shopgirl, The Pleasure of My Company), playwright (Picasso at the Lapin Agile), New Yorker contributor, art collector and screenwriter (he co-wrote The Jerk with Carl Gottlieb, and penned L.A. Story and Bowfinger, among others). But his acting career has had more than its share of duds, and last year he was nominated for a Razzie Award in the worst actor category for roles in Bringing Down the House, Cheaper By the Dozen and Looney Tunes: Back in Action. He didn't win, but he's also never been nominated for an Oscar, although he did host the ceremonies once. The release of The Pink Panther, in which he stars as Inspector Clouseau, has been delayed several times; not a good sign in Hollywood.

Still, Martin, who turns 60 this year, has a strong legacy, often when playing alongside fellow comics as in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (John Candy), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Michael Caine) and All of Me (Lily Tomlin). In 1991 he worked with Martin Short in Father of the Bride, which was just released (a year early, but who's counting?) in a 15th-anniversary edition that includes among its extras a Steve-Martin-Short interview, in which the two stars ad-lib Short's supposed heavy drinking, short temper and his role as the bride. It's pure lunacy -- the kind we can expect from Martin, maybe not every time out, but often enough to keep us happy.
Friday, July 22, 2005

Who will perform for Steve

The New York Times
July 22, 2005 Friday
Late Edition - Final
Section E; PT1; Column 1; Movies, Performing Arts/Weekend Desk; Arts, Briefly; Pg. 5
Compiled by Lawrence Van Gelder


****The lineup that salutes Steve Martin when he receives the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize in Washington on Oct. 23 will include Dave Barry, Larry David, Tom Hanks, Diane Keaton, Lorne Michaels, Randy Newman, Carl Reiner, Martin Short, Paul Simon and Lily Tomlin. The ceremony will be broadcast on PBS on Nov. 9.

Now we know which of Steve's peeps takes care of Roger

Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada)
July 22, 2005 Friday Final Edition
She loves Hollywood North; The talk
Suzanne Bourret

Dahlings, can you imagine five days with Antonio Banderas? Or hanging out with Steve Martin, Eugene Levy and Kiefer Sutherland?

Retired secondary school teacher Marlene Castura probably wouldn't argue that breathing the same air with Hollywood honchos, as a background actor, sure beats sitting around the teachers' lunch room.

She has been zombie lurking through the alleys off Hamilton's John Street in the pouring rain, she endured frigid winds while performing in a gravel pit north of Toronto and she stood in a club scene for more than 12 hours on a concrete floor in high heels. Not entirely glamorous, but Marlene loves the work because it's interesting and varied and she rarely does the same thing twice.

"I have had wonderful jobs. I would have paid to watch Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger dance their hearts out in the movie, Chicago. Instead, they were paying me to be background. It was a thrill when Richard Gere told us on his last day on set that he had never had so much fun as on this film. We all felt the same."

Marlene worked four days on the Steve Martin and Eugene Levy film, Cheaper By The Dozen 2, before it moved up to cottage country for six weeks.

"Steve Martin is actually a low-key, quiet and unassuming kind of guy. However, when the cameras roll, he is so animated, energetic and alive. His yellow Lab, on set, too, was lovingly cared for by Steve's driver. Eugene is also low-key, but when the cameras roll, he is hilarious." And what were the background actors doing? Imagine, she says, getting paid for having fun sailing, canoeing, rowing, throwing Frisbees and playing soccer.

After that, Marlene was on the set of Take The Lead, with Banderas, at The Royal York Hotel. She finds that as many films wrap up in the Toronto area, new films are starting.

Marlene says the initial thrill for background actors is the first time they see a star on set.

"It's as if that individual has stepped off a page in a magazine onto the set."

They all have a good look checking out their height and size and are usually amazed at how slim the actors are.

"Gene Hackman is very tall and Kate Hudson is very tiny."

She says once the actor starts to work you see the concentration, the skill and the dedication that makes that person a star. Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Richard Gere and Bruce Willis are all a presence, having star appeal.

But at times, she says it can be difficult to concentrate.

"I was in Tottenham on set in The History of Violence. We were shoppers in a mall when Harris did something which caught my eye. For a moment or two I lost focus and simply watched him as if I were watching him on screen. This trance was broken when I locked eyes with the director, David Cronenberg. This was a no-no for a background actor. We are not spectators. It never happened to me before or since. I attribute it to the intensity of Harris's acting style, which stops people in their tracks."

The thrill, she says, is never knowing what is around the corner. She has to be available around the clock and often rises at 3:30 a.m. to get to Toronto early. She always leaves two hours before call time to ensure she's prompt on the set.

It's a real adventure because she never really knows until she gets a phone call where she'll be going or what she'll be doing.

Marlene has always enjoyed going to movies and says she has been inspired by good films. And now she can observe how films are made.

"There are fascinating techniques used in scenes that look so realistic on screen, yet are filmed so differently than you would imagine. I've seen how vehicles are blown up and how a truck plows into zombie extras who are running toward it without anyone getting hurt."

And she has seen stunts go wrong.

"I stood by a property manager as he watched in horror as three police cruisers driven by stunt drivers unexpectedly collided. No one was hurt. When someone asked whether they owned the cars, he said, 'We do now.'"

The night she played a zombie for the sci-fi film, Resident Evil, was memorable. They were lumbering through areas they had never been before and were attacking and bringing down soldiers and parachutists who were firing blanks at them.

"Can you imagine running toward soldiers shooting at you? In reality, we wanted to flee, but the director turned us around to face the guns and kept us moving forward."

All this was done in pouring rain, but Marlene wore a garbage bag under her clothing to prevent being soaked.

If you think life in Hollywood North sounds like a fun retirement project, you're right.

Says Marlene: "Retirement can and should be a lot of fun ... you can explore any avenue you always wanted to try. Like any stage in life, you should go for it."

Friday, July 08, 2005

Listen! An encouraging word

The Advertiser
July 7, 2005 Thursday
Devil's Advocate Arguing against popular opinion;
Martin will be a better Clouseau than Sellers

FOR starters, nerdy comic Peter Sellers was a self-centred mummy's boy with no personality and some awful films to his name. And he didn't even like Inspector Clouseau, the bumbling role he's best remembered for.

On the other hand, the perpetually grey yet evergreen Steve Martin has adopted the mac and accent of Clouseau for a new Pink Panther prequel. That should finally show up Sellers for the hack he was.

Besides Martin's amazing ability to consistently hold film-goers from the 1970s up to today - when has he ever lost his audience? - his track record with remakes is long and impressive.

Forget critical tirades - that's just jealousy. Forget woeful box office results - that's human error. Having been in about 10 remakes (he showed up Spencer Tracy in the Father of the Bride upgrades), Martin has always got the better of the material he's ripping off. Look out, Sellers.

And the reason Martin's Pink Panther has been pushed to a March, 2006, release, instead of its original September, 2005, launch, can only be due to smear campaigns run by Sellers' freaks.
Monday, July 04, 2005

For those who want to watch Steve eat

The Toronto Star
July 3, 2005 Sunday
Exposing extensive bodies of work

Side dish

Steve Martin, here filming Cheaper by the Dozen 2, has been a regular at Opus on Prince Arthur, as has producer Kevin Wallace, here prepping The Lord of the Rings musical.


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