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

Steve, Star Maker

more from our Toronto correspondent -- KMT
INTERVIEW-DC.XML&archived=FalseSteve Martin wants to become star maker
Sat Sep 10, 2005 7:34 AM ET
By Arthur Spiegelman

TORONTO (Reuters) - Self-styled "wild and crazy guy" Steve Martin has been many things in his life -- stand-up comedian, screenwriter, movie star, best-selling novelist -- and now he might become a star maker.

If the extraordinary young actress Claire Danes becomes a major star after her performance as Martin's unappreciated mistress in his new film "Shopgirl," he deserves some of the credit.

"Shopgirl," which was shown on Friday night at the Toronto Film Festival, is based on a best-selling novella by Steve Martin, with a screenplay by Steve Martin, who also produced it and plays the lead male role.

Danes, 26, plays a Saks Fifth Avenue glove saleswoman enticed into an affair with a rich man more than twice her age who gives her everything but love and she steals the picture.

"If she doesn't get an Academy Award nomination, I will kill myself," Martin said in an interview with Reuters.

Then, in a flash, he paused to consider just what he had said and backtracked a bit -- he noted that he said the same thing about Eddie Murphy who starred with him in the 1999 comedy "Bowfinger" and he did not get an Oscar nomination.

Martin, 60, of course, lived on to host the Oscars and write for the New Yorker, a couple of his many other jobs.

"I think my greatest thrill as a writer would be to provide someone with a role that launched her. People should see her talent," he said, adding that there is one nude scene in the film in which she displays more character than flesh.

"It is a nude scene with a purpose. This is not an actress walking naked across a room."

Danes plays Mirabelle Buttersworth, a lonely "shopgirl" at the Saks store in Beverly Hills who fights off boredom during the day and loneliness at night.

Martin plays a rich computer executive, Ray Porter, who woos her by buying a pair of gloves from her and then sending them to her home, along with an invitation to dinner. Soon an April-to-December affair springs up with Martin's character unable to commit himself to anything other than a sexual relationship.

Since his character is an older single man, many people are leaping to the conclusion that the man in the film is the man who created the film.

"People want to think this is my story. But it is not. it is a little bit this and a little bit that. It is a work of fiction and all the characters in the book represent the author," he said.

Martin said his real pleasure in life these days is writing. "The real joy is in constructing a sentence. But I see myself as an actor first because writing is what you do when you are ready and acting is what you do when someone else is ready," he said.

But he said he would not mind also becoming a star maker.


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