Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 1st 2015 Contents A32
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 1, 2015
LOS ANGELES---In the early 1980s, when Steve
Martin was a fledgling movie star, he recalls attend-
ing the American Film Institute s celebration of
Frank Capra and how Hollywood glitterati swirled
around the Oscar-winning filmmaker.
Martin himself will be at the centre of the cele-
bration next week, surrounded by friends and col-
leagues from a 48-year career in entertainment. Mel
Brooks will present Martin with AFI s 43rd Life
Achievement Award at a private ceremony in Hol-
lywood on June 4.
"It s such a prestigious group that they ve given
this award to, and I can t help but think, What am
I doing there? " Martin said in a recent interview.
"But, still, they gave it to me, so I m accepting it
with full pride."
The ultimate multi-hyphenate, Martin says he
never had a career plan---which seems to have worked
out well for the 69-year-old screenwriter, actor,
comedian, producer, playwright, novelist and musi-
"I always felt I was lucky to be where I was," he
One of his earliest gigs was as a writer for The
Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which led to other
TV-writing jobs. In 1979, he co-wrote and starred
in the film The Jerk, followed by Dead Men Don t
Wear Plaid and The Man with Two Brains a few
years later. And when he couldn t find a writer to
work on his idea for an updated Cyrano de Bergerac,
he decided to try it himself. The 1987 movie Roxanne
was the result.
"So that worked out, and it turned me into a
screenwriter, a solo screenwriter," he said. "There
are so many little accidents along the way that hap-
Sir Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI Board of
Trustees, called Martin "a multi-layered creative
force bound by neither convention nor caution" and
"a national treasure whose work has stuck with us
like an arrow in the head."
Martin first gained fame as a standup, not to men-
tion his breakout appearances on Saturday Night
Live in the 70s. But he came to prefer film as a
"I really like the idea, when I first started doing
it, of getting a comedy down and it doesn t have to
be repeated every night," he said. "It s on film. You
can get it right, hopefully, and you never have to
worry about it again."
Writing films inspired him to write dramas and
prose. A play he wrote "in my spare time" will open
at San Diego s Old Globe Theatre next year. Martin
also adapted his novella, Shopgirl, into the 2005 film
of the same name.
Writing and performing music has reignit-
ed his pleasure in appearing live in front of
an audience. The banjo player said there s
"a lot of comedy" in the concerts he plays
with the bluegrass band Steep Canyon
Rangers, "and it s really been fun." He also
recently performed a pair of standup shows
with pal Martin Short.
Martin recently began work on Ang Lee s
latest film, Billy Lynn s Long Halftime Walk,
and hopes to one day work with Wes Ander-
son. Meanwhile, he wrote a musical with
Edie Brickell, and the two are planning to
release an album. Martin will also be curating
a traveling art exhibit of works by Canadian
painter Lawren Harris.
But for now, he s reflecting on the anec-
dotes he plans to share at the AFI celebration,
which will air later as a special on TNT.
"It feels like I ve been through a lot in a
lot of different careers, and we re kind of
looking back," he said.
Just like he did for his honorary Oscar in
2013, Martin said he s practicing his accept-
ance speech by reading it aloud to his dog,
Steve Martin receives lifetime award
Steve Martin is an American comedian, actor, musician, writer, and producer. In the past
15 years, he's spent a lot of time playing the banjo, recording and touring with various
bluegrass acts, including Earl Scruggs, with whom he won a Grammy for Best Country
Instrumental Performance in 2002. He released his first solo music album, The Crow: New
Songs for the Five-String Banjo, in 2009, for which he won the Grammy Award for Best
Steve Martin has one of the greatest Hollywood
fictional names in this 1983 Carl Reiner comedy:
Doctor Michael Hfuhruhurr.
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