Steve Martin cuts us down a peg or two with his sharp wit, he’s currently playing Inspector Jacques Clouseau in Pink Panther 2
Steve Martin has one very impressive CV, he’s hosted popular US show ‘Saturday Night Live’ more times than anyone else, he’s been a musician, a stand-up comedian, a box-office magnet, a magician, an author and a host at the Academy awards. Pin-pointing the defining moment in his career is not easy but one role we do fondly remember is Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Stepping into Peter Sellers shoes should not have been an easy task but Martin did it with style and humour and it was enough to green light a sequel to this newly reinvented Pink Panther franchise.
Q: Hi Steve, great movie, we enjoyed it. STEVE MARTIN: Thanks…Where were you for the last one?
Q: Why is Inspector Jacques Clouseau such a beloved character? SM: Because I’m playing him!
Q: Ha! There’s a famous quote from your father, that says you’re no Charlie Chaplin. But are you by any chance channelling Chaplin in this movie, and with a dash of Harold Lloyd? SM: Um, may I have your name? Well, I was just watching Charlie Chaplin the other night and I felt, what a pretender I am. But it’s just something I do. I didn’t really study up on anything. But I do appreciated those films. Sorry if I’m longwinded!
Q: You take jabs at the media in the movie in the film. How sick of us are you! SM: Well, we did use a Norman Mailer line. It’s when he said, ‘if I made a comment after I said ‘no comment,’ I’d look like an ass, wouldn’t I!’ But I don’t have a problem with the press. I have a problem with negative press. You know, we’re all sensitive. But I know you would never do that!
Q: Do you think getting the girl at the end of the movie, is going to change Clouseau in some fundamental way? SM: *laughs* I have to tell you, that every movie I’ve done that ends with me at a wedding or holding a baby, has been a hit! But I think it’s a great thing to use. It’s happy and nice. And if we ever do a third, it would obviously open with our honeymoon. You know, I try to take her across the threshold, and she’s wearing arm pads and a helmet!
Q: You reteam with Lily Tomlin for the first time in since 1984’s ‘All Of Me’. What’s it like to get together again, after being away from her for so long? SM: It’s like you’re finishing a sentence you started twenty years ago. You know, life is like that. So it was very easy to work with her.
Q: With so many stunts in this movie, do you think action films are in your future? SM: You know, I’ve always dreamed of doing an action movie, because I imagine they’d be shooting a car chase for days while I’d be sitting at home relaxing. Then I’d come in and get behind the wheel, and go, what?! Then I’d go home and have dinner and go to plays, and come back two days later to say, I told you so! It doesn’t work out that way, actually. But the hardest thing for me in this movie, was acting like you’re running when you’re really running in place on a board attached to that moving car. But don’t tell anybody!
Q: Did you get hurt at all? SM: I only got hurt emotionally!
Q: Speaking of which, what was it like to be in that love triangle in the movie, with those two gorgeous women? SM: Well, Emily Mortimer is such a delight. She’s real…candy! And she’s also funny in life, she has a great sense of humour. And, Aishwarya Rai, I didn’t know when I came in, that she’s a big star back home who can’t walk down the street. Which I’m jealous of!
Q: You’re also a musical performer, what’s your worst experience in this side of your career? SM: We opened up in Greenwich Village in NY, and nobody came! And I told the owner, you don’t have to pay me. He said, no, no. Let’s try another night. And the next night, nobody came either. And…I left!
Q: At what point did you decide you were ready to put out an album? SM: It was when I realized I had enough songs. I had fifteen songs, and that’s enough for a record. And I thought, if I don’t do it now, my fingers might slow down. And I might forget the songs. So we quickly got some people together to do the record. It was really fun.
Q: How about your recent autobiography, What was the challenge writing it? SM: The biggest challenge was remembering!
Q: Will you write another volume for your autobiography? SM: No! By now, it’s all just anecdotal, and there’s no story. And you could replace my name, with anybody else’s in the movie business.
Q: You seem so humble for a big star. SM: Comedy makes you humble. Because there are so many opportunities to miss, and strike out.
Q: What’s the big thrill of comedy? SM: In any other profession, you end up wearing a suit and sitting behind a desk. But you make it in show business, you end up in a clown suit riding on an elephant!
Q: Do you think there’s something about acting that keeps you young? SM: Yeah, acting keeps me alert to people, and life. I don’t know, there’s something about going to work early in the morning, and having to stay alert and concentrated. Maybe that keeps your mind alive. And of course, there’s makeup!
Q: You’re such a popular entertainer. But what entertains you personally? SM: Obviously I like to listen to a lot of banjo music. But I joke with my wife, because the shows we fall asleep to on TV are like, Forensic Files. You know, ‘the head was cut off and buried.’ But the guy has such a soothing voice, that he puts you to sleep!
Q: Finally, What’s the worst part of being famous? SM: I want celebrity when I want it, and I don’t want celebrity when I don’t want it. It’s absolutely true. And that should have been funny!
The Pink Panther 2 is at Irish cinemas everywhere now