Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Steve: My Three Movies
The Daily News of Los Angeles
September 18, 2005 Sunday
U; Pg. U9
PROLIFIC? WELL, EXCUUUUUUSE HIM
How much Steve Martin can you stand?
"Now I've got three movies coming out in five months, and each one radically different from the other," says the star of October release "Shopgirl," December's "Cheaper by the Dozen" sequel and next February's "Pink Panther" remake.
"It'll be interesting to see how sick of me everyone gets."
Of the three, "Shopgirl" is the most Martin-esque. Based on the veteran funnyman's best-selling first novel, it stars Claire Danes as Saks Fifth Avenue glove seller Mirabelle and Martin as Ray Porter, the wealthy older man who competes for her heart.
Martin also produced the film and wrote its screenplay, though he initially had no intention of appearing in the movie.
"I really thought Tom Hanks would be the perfect guy," he says. "But, he's busy. So I thought, well, I'm gonna be standing around the set anyway and I'll probably be wearing makeup, so I might as well be in the movie."
It turned out to be a job like none the wild-and-crazy-guy ever played before.
"There's an actors exercise, which I've never done in my life, of writing out three or four pages of information about the character," he notes.
"Well, I'd already written 150, so not only could I play Ray Porter, I could play Mirabelle, I know her so well."
Martin didn't think that his bittersweet book would ever become a movie. Too internalized, its emotions too complex, he reckoned. Maybe a play, like his highly successful "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." But then visual ideas for "Shopgirl" came to him.
"My task was to stay true to my own work, and yet because the screenplay was my work, I had the right to change things necessarily," he says of the process.
As for all of this extracurricular fiction and play writing, Martin says that, despite his busy moviemaking schedule, there's always time to fill creatively.
"It keeps me interested. I can't think of anything worse than just sitting around waiting for the next script to come through the door. And I guess it's just my nature. None of this is new. I wrote my first screenplay in 1979 and I've done it periodically through the years, put pixel to screen and manage to come up with something."