The film Traitor isn’t exactly burning up the domestic box office charts, having just passed the $12 million mark. But coming on the heels of story idea originator Steve Martin’s splendid memoir Born Standing Up, it is yet another reminder that the 63-year-old Waco, Texas native remains Hollywood’s true Renaissance Man, able to glide from one artistic endeavor to another.
Think about it for a second: over the years, Mensa member Martin has enjoyed success as a playwright, novelist, banjo player, New Yorker back page essayist, amateur magician, TV variety show writer, Oscar telecast MC, film actor, art collector, TV comedian, zeitgeist stand-up and more.
About the only thing missing is a run for SAG President, with perhaps the arrow-through-the-head prop being dusted off to symbolically represent what the studios are trying to do to actors as far as Internet and wireless device residuals are concerned.
Though Martin has taken some knocks this decade as an actor for a string of formulaic Hollywood comedies, he has never sunk to the level of Eddie Murphy’s misfires. Still, it would be nice if he found a way to finally share some screen time with fellow Late Show with David Letterman crack-up guest Bill Murray, whose work in 1986’s Little Shop of Horrors never crossed frame with Martin’s turn as a crazy dentist.
The Lifetime Awards have started to trickle in and, befitting the elastic nature of Martin’s career, come from opposite ends of the spectrum: in 2000, it was via the American Comedy Awards, while in 2004 and 2007 it was courtesy of, respectively, the American Cinematheque and the prestigious Kennedy Center. But really, no acceptance was funnier than the one Martin gave after making People Magazine’s 2003 list of the 50 Most Beautiful People.
‘It’s very hard being one of the most beautiful people,’ Martin complained. ‘Having this kind of beauty is actually a burden. Sometimes I go to a party and not one of the other 49 most beautiful people is there. That makes me feel very solitary and alone, because it means I am the most beautiful person in the room. If I’m going to a party where I know there will be “less-beautiful people,” I try to “dress down” in order to hide my beauty. But this seems to have a counter-effect of actually making me more beautiful…’
Equally hilariously, Martin’s official website currently has just six entries under the heading “Steve’s Favorite Links” while the white haired wonder shares a personal message only every six months or so. In this summer’s missive, he talked about having completed a new banjo album and promised that The Pink Panther 2, due in February, is ‘if I do say so myself, very funny.’ If we’re lucky, as funny as the notion of a website section called “Latest News” where, pre-second marriage and pre-Kennedy Center honor, the last entry is one dated November, 2006.
by Richard Horgan
9/4/2008 at 9:36:26 PM