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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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!