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Steve Martin Reveals the Role That Got Away and More in Audiobook

Rosemary Giles
Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre / Getty Images

Steve Martin might be one of the best-known comedy actors in the industry, but there’s so much more to him than that. The 2023 audiobook release, So Many Steves: Afternoons with Steve Martin, details the many different parts of his life and career. Not only is he (somehow) still surprised by his success, but he also shares the one role that he always wished he landed.

So Many Steves: Afternoons with Steve Martin

So Many Steves: Afternoons with Steve Martin is unique in so many ways. Rather than being a physical book, it’s only available in audio format. The way it was put together is fascinating as well. The project took place over the course of a year where Adam Gopnik, a writer for New Yorker and close friend of Martin, sat down with the actor to talk about his life and career.

Steve Martin and Martin Short posing on the red carpet in matching black formal suits.
Steve Martin (left) and Martin Short arrive at the 74th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, September 12, 2022. (Photo Credit: Chris Delmas/ AFP/ Getty Images)

It’s these recorded conversations that have been condensed into a digestible length for the listener. The pair cover a large variety of topics, everything from his early career as a magician to thinking he would once work as a philosophy professor. So Many Steves has been marketed by publisher Pushkin as “more candid than [Steve’s] ever been.” That may very well be true, leaving the listener with plenty of interesting soundbites.

Musicals, Murders, and Meryl

While he is best known for comedy, Martin revealed that it was while making the musical Bright Star that he was at his happiest. He wrote it alongside singer Edie Brickell. He was “never happier,” but also said it’s unlikely he’ll ever do another. Martin feels that “Time has run out,” as “A musical takes five years. I’m 77, so 82? I want to be [with] family. It’s hard, it’s heartbreaking, it’s fabulous, it’s fun. But I’d rather do more contained things now.”

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell pose in front of a turquoise backdrop.
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell attend the opening night of Bright Star at Ahmanson Theatre, October 20, 2017. (Photo Credit: Araya Doheny/ WireImage/ Getty Images)

His current project is Only Murders, with the third season wrapping around the same time the audiobook was released. Having worked with fellow castmate Meryl Streep before, he shared his thoughts on the legendary actress. Martin said, “She’s a delight. She has the same humor as Marty Short and I, so there’s a lot of riffing and laughing and giggling.” He revealed that she joined the project after writing to him personally asking if there was something else they could work on together.

The one that got away

Obviously, one of the main talking points in So Many Steves was the many movies that Martin has featured in. Despite this, he was quick to emphasize that they weren’t all good. By his estimates, for every 40 movies, there are five good ones. Martin said, “Even with a great director, a great writer and a great actor, it doesn’t mean you’re going to make a great movie. It’s a little bit of calculation and a lot of luck.”

Steve Martin playing the banjo at an event
BSteve Martin plays the Banjo at the press conference for ‘Pink Panther 2’ as part of the 59th Berlin Film Festival at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 13, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

He also didn’t shy away from talking about one particular role that he never got to do. According to him, the one that got away was dastardly conman Harold Hill in The Music Man (the original version was his favorite musical growing up). There was one main reason why this would never happen. “I couldn’t sing it,” he revealed.

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While he might not be a big vocalist, he is apparently an incredible banjo player. Martin has played it for most of his life, and his instrumentals are even featured on the audiobook.

Let us know what you think about Steve Martin and his dream role in the comments below!

Rosemary Giles

Rosemary Giles is a history content writer with Hive Media. She received both her bachelor of arts degree in history, and her master of arts degree in history from Western University. Her research focused on military, environmental, and Canadian history with a specific focus on the Second World War. As a student, she worked in a variety of research positions, including as an archivist. She also worked as a teaching assistant in the History Department.

Since completing her degrees, she has decided to take a step back from academia to focus her career on writing and sharing history in a more accessible way. With a passion for historical learning and historical education, her writing interests include social history, and war history, especially researching obscure facts about the Second World War. In her spare time, Rosemary enjoys spending time with her partner, her cats, and her horse, or sitting down to read a good book.