Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Saturday, September 10, 2005

Nice article based on the Shopgirl news conference

KMT again.
Toronto Sun
Steve smartin'
Film funnyman feels some pain in Shopgirl

Steve Martin looks for divine guidance at yesterday's festival press conference for his new movie Shopgirl. (Veronica Henri, SUN)

A SAD clown. Who ever heard of such a thing?

Steve Martin and friends from his movie Shopgirl met the Film Festival press at the Sutton Place Hotel yesterday, where Martin opined that what the world needs now is some "down" time.

"This is one of the few movies I can remember in a very long time that ends sad. It's actually very brave of Disney -- a large, large, company -- to release a movie that is, if not sad, at least melancholy," Martin said.

At this point, leading lady Claire Danes turned to Martin and snapped facetiously, "Do you want ANYONE to see this movie?"

"Just joking," she said. But an unfazed Martin went on, "I'm not afraid of that at all. The experience of being moved is a very powerful one."

'Tis true folks. Accidentally spilling his glass of water on the dais was about as close as Martin is going to get to broad comedy at this Festival.

Shopgirl -- which he cagily and uncomfortably admits "did happen to me, some parts to other people" -- was written, produced and co-stars Martin as the fiftysomething lover of a twentysomething L.A. salesgirl at Sacks in Beverly Hills (Anand Tucker directs). Danes is the girl fresh from Vermont who has to choose between the noncommittal older man and a madly-in-love geeky guy her own age (Jason Schwartzman).

"I forget what he was referencing," the 60-year-old Martin said, "but a friend of mine ... a quite smart, educated person ... said that in the 19th Century, older men often mentored young women as one of the mores of growing up. I think it's not an L.A. phenomenon, it's an everywhere phenomenon. All the smart people say, 'Age doesn't really matter, it's what works.'

"And that's what this story's about. If we were the same age, there's no story. This is what it's about, the slight mismatch of desires, the misunderstandings, the effort of, I believe, every character in the film to be good and be honest -- and yet pain still happens."

There's some comic relief in the movie, mostly courtesy of Schwartzman, who characterized that assignment as "kind of like being asked to play drums on a Keith Moon album. You're like, 'Shouldn't you, Keith Moon, be playing drums?'

But if you really want the funny, you'll have to wait for Cheaper By The Dozen 2, which Martin just wrapped in T.O. with Bonnie Hunt and Hilary Duff. Although Martin reports his serious movie persona and his comedic one are already clashing.

"Fox wanted to promote Cheaper By The Dozen 2 -- which is coming out in December -- with the tagline "America's Favourite Dad." I said 'Look, I have a movie coming out where I'm having sex with a 26-year-old girl. You cannot call me America's Favourite Dad. It's not fair to my career.

"Plus, I just turned 60. I'm not going to be America's favourite dad much longer. I'm going to be America's favourite dead.

"The thing is, the way I perceive myself is different from the way others perceive me. Most people see an actor through the movie poster. They don't even see the movie, and you're defined by the poster. But in my head, Planes, Trains and Automobiles was a very emotional movie. Father Of The Bride had a lot of dramatic scenes. Roxanne and L.A. Story, a lot of romantic scenes.

"So I think I've established that my career jumps around a lot -- if anybody's paying attention."

And lest Shopgirl lead you to read melancholy in his own life, Martin says, "Right now I'm recovering from Cheaper By The Dozen 2, I'm searching for peace and quiet. Otherwise, everything in my life is good and satisfying."


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