Why do Steve Martin, Selena Gomez and Martin Short work together? It's a mystery.

Arouse the comedy of Steve Martin and Martin Short is usually a simple proposition: you just put the two together. Even as they looked...


Arouse the comedy of Steve Martin and Martin Short is usually a simple proposition: you just put the two together. Even as they looked back on their years of friendship and collaboration in a video interview earlier this summer, they couldn’t help but fall into a familiar rhythm of loving zinging and zetz.

When Martin got caught up in a moment of soul-searching – “If I could talk about myself just for a second,” he said ostentatiously – his on-screen partner saw the opening given to him .

“I wouldn’t know otherwise,” Short interjected quickly.

Moments later, Short offered a glimpse into his own work – “Throughout my career I’ve satirized narcissism,” he said – and it was time for revenge.

Martin replied, “Other than you, this is not satire.

They can do this kind of repartee in their sleep. But what if you take these veteran performers out of their comfort zone and put them in a TV series playing squeaky, washed-out showmen? What if they teamed up with a third actor who is by no means a member of their demographic cohort, like, say, Selena Gomez? What if the series was not just a send-off of New York’s ruthless life arc, but also a murder mystery?

This is the unlikely but strangely effective premise of “Only the murders in the building” which debuts Tuesday on Hulu. The series, in which Gomez, Short and Martin play mismatched residents of a Beaux-Arts building, brought together by the death of a neighbor, is a comedic thriller that also raises another, more fundamental question: how this show came to be. did he exist?

The answer turns out to be not a computer algorithm or a game of darts, but a development process that took place over several years. Its end result is a series that brought Gomez, the actress and pop singer, back to television for her first scripted show since her breakthrough in the early 2000s. on “Wizards of Waverly Place” – and cast Martin in his first continuous televised role.

Making “Only Murders in the Building” was a process of discovery for its three protagonists, one that showed Short and Martin that their well-honed routine had room for new tricks and new teammates, and also that Gomez could. to cope. with his two seasoned co-stars.

As Gomez explained in a separate phone interview, playing alongside Short and Martin was a naturally daunting task. “They don’t know what to expect from a 29-year-old woman, and they don’t know much about me,” she said. “We were getting to know each other. “

But she arrived with her own ironic sensibility and genuine enthusiasm for the detective genre and, like her character, forged a surprising connection with her partners.

“In real life, if I had met two older men who were interested in solving mysteries, I would totally bond with them in the same way,” she said.

The central vanity of the series is one that Martin nurtured for many years. He said he designed it at a party whose host suggested he write something for three other guests he described only as “older Broadway actors.”

As Martin recalls: “The idea came almost immediately, that they lived in a building and that they were all interested in crime. But they didn’t have the energy to go downtown, so they only committed murders in the building.

Martin, now 76, is a cultural eclectic whose production includes cartoons, Broadway shows and banjo music. (Full disclosure: He also provided blurb for one of my books released in 2018.) In his narrative, he had no interest in making the series himself until the 71-year-old short suggests they could play it together.

“Marty said, ‘You know you’re old, we could do it,’” Martin said.

But the path to their twinning in the series was more elaborate. For a while, Martin was courted by television producers like Dan Fogelman, the creator of shows as the mainstay of NBC’s “This Is Us”.

When Fogelman and his production partner, Jess Rosenthal, landed a meeting lunch with Martin a few years ago, they hoped for a memorable encounter with one of their comedy heroes, but expected few tangible results.

“I don’t think Steve is operating from a location, what’s a vehicle that I can create for myself?” said Fogelman. “He thinks, ‘What’s an idea that I find funny or interesting? Then somebody probably has to get him to do it himself.

But Martin said he noticed he felt nostalgic for the familiarity of an on-camera production dating back to the making of “It is complicated,” Nancy Meyers’ 2009 romantic comedy in which he co-starred with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin.

When that movie was finished Martin said, “I didn’t really have the nostalgia to come back to the movie, basically. I longed to work with people. Getting to play and sometimes come up with story ideas and dialogue for something someone else was in charge of, he said, was “the perfect level of contribution without it being your whole life.” .

Towards the end of the lunch meeting with Fogelman and Rosenthal, Martin came up with his idea of ​​what would become “Only Murders in the Building”. After some coaxing, he indicated that he could appear there if Short did too.

Although he and Martin are now inseparable peers, Short still had vivid memories of his feeling of inferiority when they met in the 1986 Western Satire. “Three Amigos!”

Appearing alongside Martin and Chevy Chase in her first movie role, “I was the Cheap Amigo,” Short said. “Like, Carrot Top has passed by, and now who are we going to?”

Despite a creditable resume that included stints on “SCTV” and “Saturday Night Live,” Short said he was impressed with Martin. “For the first two weeks I had to pretend to be myself by being relaxed,” he said. But during the shoot, he said, “we laughed a lot and played Scrabble a lot.”

Thirty-five years later, the Hulu series features them as Charles (Martin), a vaguely famous actor in a long-ago televised crime drama, and Oliver (Short), a once-sexy Broadway director who longs always another shot in the spotlight. .

John Hoffman, who is the showrunner of “Only Murders in the Building” and shares credit with Martin for creating the series, said the crux of the series was not the age of its main cast but the idea of ​​“three lonely people who find a sense of connection. Noting his previous work on the Netflix comedy ‘Grace and Frankie,’ Hoffman said,“ In this show there was already a lot about aging and the issues that are attached to it. I said very consciously, I don’t want to start over.

Even so, as Hoffman and his colleagues planned the new show, they were hesitant to make its three main characters too similar. Recalling those conversations, Hoffman said, “Don’t we want an alien in their world? The thing you don’t expect, doesn’t it make sense? “

Their solution was to have Charles and Oliver forge a difficult alliance with a third character, Mabel: a sarcastic young woman who doesn’t quite say how she can live in their apartment building or why she is so interested in central crime. Of the history. Fogelman said Gomez was an archetype that the producers used when sketching the character – and later learned to their surprise that she was genuinely interested in the role.

Gomez, who is a fan of psychological thrillers and attended Crimecon, an actual rally dedicated to solving cold cases, said she felt some kinship with Mabel. “I’m not that dark,” she said. She thought about it and added, “Actually, you know, maybe I am.” But I’m not as intense as her.

There was some trepidation ahead of the show’s first table reading, which was held via video conference and was the first time its three stars had performed together. But at his conclusion, “There were phone calls between Steve, Marty, Dan and me,” Hoffman said. “We were just crazy about Selena.”

Gomez was executive producer of the Netflix teen drama “13 reasons why” and host of the HBO Max cooking show “Séléna + Chef”; his filmography includes the crime thriller Harmony Korine “Spring breakers” and Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy “The dead don’t die.” Still, she said she expected working on “Only Murders in the Building” would present its own challenges.

“You can kind of say that in the first episode, where I feel like I’m a little bit shy,” she said. “You can also see throughout the season how I have become looser and more comfortable.”

While filming for the series took place in New York City this past winter and spring, Gomez said, she learned to stop idolizing Short and Martin as older statesmen and to open to them in a human and daily way.

“They’re like my crazy uncles,” she said. “They have been great at giving advice, even about my personal life. I would ask them all the questions girls ask, like, “So when was the first time you fell in love?” I asked them about boys and dating. They were like, ‘Well, make sure he’s nice.’ They were so adorable.

Short and Martin both praised Gomez for his comedic chops and his ability to downsize their cocky, flippant characters.

Martin compared the dynamics to the famous scene from Katz’s Delicatessen from “When Harry Met Sally …”, whose punchline “I’ll have what she has” is delivered by an observer interpreted by Estelle Reiner.

“Two people can have a scene, but the laughter comes when it goes to a third person watching,” he said. “Selena can really do that. She has this posture, like, “Are you two children?”

Meanwhile, Short and Martin found themselves spending even more time together during the making of the series, on set, and on trips home, where they shared a car ride and exchanged gossip. “It was during Covid so we had no options,” Short said.

“We were in each other’s bubble,” Martin added.

Considering the unusual leap that “Only Murders in the Building” represents for each of its stars, they all try to strike the right balance between caring about her success and acting nonchalantly about her prospects.

Martin quoted a saying he attributed to his friend and fellow actor Richard E. Grant, saying, “You put your heart and soul into something, your dreams, your high hopes. Then later you realize it’s just another title on the shelf.

When Short heard this, he could barely contain himself. “That’s an optimistic thought,” he said sarcastically. “Do you know what else is going on after all?” You laugh, you love your kids, you have a stroke, and you die.

Martin adopted a tone of exaggerated grandeur when he replied, “You’re welcome. “



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Newsrust - US Top News: Why do Steve Martin, Selena Gomez and Martin Short work together? It's a mystery.
Why do Steve Martin, Selena Gomez and Martin Short work together? It's a mystery.
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