Steve Martin, actor and comedian
Together with Martin Short and Selena Gómez, form a crazy trio to solve crimes in the comic series ‘Only murders in the building’
Almost four decades after ‘Domestic life’, Steve Martin returns to the small screen with a series to suit him, this time helped by John Hoffman, producer of ‘Grace and Frankie’, and which they have titled ‘Only murders in the building ‘. The production is set in an old fictional apartment estate on New York’s Upper West Side. Called The Arconia, this is where the forgotten stars of film, rock and television live.
Their relative isolation will be parked when a murder in the building brings them closer, some as grieving neighbors, others as suspects and three in particular as amateur investigators who take advantage of the murder to podcast a homegrown criminal serial. Those three are Charles, a television star from a long-time crime show played by Steve Martin; Oliver, a Broadway director played by Martin Short, and Mabel, a young newcomer to the building played by Selena Gomez.
Martin and Short, who have made a career together in Hollywood with films such as ‘Three friends’, received almost 550,000 euros for each episode of the ten that make up the series. Martin is also the co-creator of a fiction inspired by his own interest in real crimes. When a fourth tenant of The Arconia dies in strange circumstances they decide to solve the mystery and record a ‘podcast’ around the investigation. To complicate matters a bit, none of the three is entirely honest with the rest. An authentic genius that is broadcast on Disney + and that the platform has been delivering week by week since last August 31. Steve Martin is the big star of the new series.
-You have become the genius of traditional comedy and parody. Are there few left in Hollywood at your height?
-I don’t know whether to offend me because you call me old or congratulate you for calling me a genius (laughs). My interest in comedy shows started when I started to be successful. Artists are insecure beings with a living fear of the possibility of failing and not being hired again. There is nothing worse than falling in love with this world and being punished with oblivion.
-Did you decide to make a parody of a mystery series?
-Actually, the director and I thought it was important to script like a real series but, doing it like that, we got a parody. Jokes aside, it is true that I am obsessed with true crime stories, I admit it. In fact, there is a fashion among lovers of the genre to understand the lives of the victims and know who they are. I prefer stories that tell how the mysteries of crimes are unraveled, that drives me crazy.
-The series generates many laughs due to the ineptitude of the protagonists as criminalists, although little by little they discover the mystery.
-I think that’s the most important thing in the series, we take the plot seriously and not the characters. The lonely lives of these three leads is what really ends up elevating the comedy.
-Is it true that you spend hours listening to a podcast about real crimes?
-Yes it’s correct. That’s why I had the idea that the protagonists wanted to create a podcast. But that’s audio and we are doing a television series. I think they are two different animals because on television you have the images and in an audio you have to give the audience much more details. It’s an art. I’ve listened to a lot of crime podcasts writing this series, although I also played a lot of rap songs.
-And did you listen to the songs of your partner Selena Gómez?
-The truth, I did not know much about her. I did not know his cinema or his television series, but I have danced many times at my house with his music. I’ve been doing it for years. When they told me that she was going to be part of the team, I went looking for her on the internet and I thought she was too young to have such a long career.
«Originality and fame»
-You wrote your memoirs ten years ago. How would you explain your career?
-I did stand-up comedy for 18 years. Ten of those years I spent learning, four years refining, and four years with great success. I was looking for comic originality and fame fell on me like a piano from a window. My trajectory has been slower than heroic. I did not fight bravely against the skeptics, but took gradual steps sprinkled with intuition. He was not talented by nature. I did not sing, or dance, or act well, but I did not give up my efforts to work. I was not self-destructive, although I almost destroyed myself. In the end, I walked away from ‘stand-up’ with a tired turn of the head and never looked back.
-What do you keep from those years?
-The details of this crucial part of my professional life, which inevitably touches my personal life, explain why I got up and why I walked away from it. In a sense, my memoirs are not an autobiography, but a biography where I wrote about someone I knew. My life sometimes seems like someone else is living it and I feel like a curious spectator or someone trying to remember a dream.