Steve Martin"I've had people come up to me and say, 'We want to remake 'The Jerk' with so and so.' And I say, 'Fine.'"

Steve Martin has packed arenas with his stand-up comedy acts, appeared on 'Saturday Night Live' so many times people actually think he was at some point a member of the cast (he wasn't), and headlined some of the funniest films of the last 30 years -- 'The Jerk,' 'Three Amigos,' 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' and 'Parenthood,' to name a few. And that's just the tip of the very titanic (and hilarious) iceberg that is his career.

Now, at the ripe young age of 63, he continues to challenge himself, taking on physical comedy with his second turn as Inspector Clouseau in 'The Pink Panther 2' and releasing his very own banjo music CD in the span of two weeks.

The comedic legend reveals whether he's game for a third 'Pink Panther' flick, how he'd feel about a remake of 'The Jerk' and why 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' is his own favorite Steve Martin film.



Steve MartinSteve Martin has packed arenas with his stand-up comedy acts, appeared on 'Saturday Night Live' so many times people actually think he was at some point a member of the cast (he wasn't), and headlined some of the funniest films of the last 30 years -- 'The Jerk,' 'Three Amigos,' 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' and 'Parenthood,' to name a few. And that's just the tip of the very titanic (and hilarious) iceberg that is his career.

Now, at the ripe young age of 63, he continues to challenge himself, taking on physical comedy with his second turn as Inspector Clouseau in 'The Pink Panther 2' and releasing his very own banjo music CD in the span of two weeks.

The comedic legend reveals whether he's game for a third 'Pink Panther' flick, how he'd feel about a remake of 'The Jerk' and why 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' is his own favorite Steve Martin film. -- By Tom DiChiara

1. To a lot of people, the original Peter Sellers 'Pink Panther' movies are sacred. Was there any trepidation on your part about stepping into the role of Clouseau?

Well, of course. I also did 'Father of the Bride,' and that turned out to be one of my most popular films -- and that was a remake, too. There is [trepidation] until you find an ally, like my pal Shawn Levy, who I just worked with and we really liked each other. He was interested. And it's sort of like a molecule that's attracting electrons around it [laughs], and it gets the ball rolling and you overcome the fears. You know, movies always are open to being remade because times change so much, and the tempo of movies changes. I think of it like a James Bond. They can have different actors play the same role. ... I've had people come up to me and say, "We want to remake 'The Jerk' with so and so." And I say, "Fine." It just doesn't bother me. It's an honor actually.

Steve Martin Photos

    Actor Steve Martin appears at a new conference for his movie "The Pink Panther 2," Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, in New York. The film opens on Feb. 6. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

    AP

    Actor Steve Martin appears at a news conference for their movie "The Pink Panther 2" Friday, Jan. 23, 2009 in New York. The film opens Feb. 6. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

    AP

    Actors Steve Martin, left, and Jean Reno appear at a news conference for their movie "The Pink Panther 2" Friday, Jan. 23, 2009 in New York. The film opens Feb. 6. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

    AP

    Actors Steve Martin, left, and Jean Reno appear at a news conference for their movie "The Pink Panther 2" Friday, Jan. 23, 2009 in New York. The film opens Feb. 6. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

    AP

    Actor Steve Martin speaks at a new conference for his movie "The Pink Panther 2," Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, in New York. The film opens on Feb. 6. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

    AP

    Actors Rita Moreno, Denzel Washington, Steve Martin, Keanu Reeves, Shirley MacLaine, Mike Myers, Jodie Foster, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Connery, Cameron Diaz, Jim Carrey and Annette Bening arrive at the AFI Night at the Movies presented by TARGET at the Arclight Theater on October 1, 2008 in Hollywood, California.

    Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com

    Actors Rita Moreno, Denzel Washington, Steve Martin, Keanu Reeves, Shirley MacLaine, Mike Myers, Jodie Foster, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Connery, Cameron Diaz, Jim Carrey and Annette Bening arrive at the AFI Night at the Movies presented by TARGET at the Arclight Theater on October 1, 2008 in Hollywood, California.

    Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com

    HOLLYWOOD - OCTOBER 01: Actor Steve Martin and Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Sony Corporation Sir Howard Stringer attend the after party for AFI's Night At The Movies presented by Target held at Citrus on October 1, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for AFI) *** Local Caption *** Steve Martin;Sir Howard Stringer

    Getty Images for AFI

    HOLLYWOOD - OCTOBER 01: Actor Steve Martin presents during AFI's Night At The Movies presented by Target held at ArcLight Cinemas on October 1, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images for AFI) *** Local Caption *** Steve Martin

    Getty Images for AFI

    HOLLYWOOD - OCTOBER 01: (L-R) AFI President & CEO, AFI Bob Gazzale, Director Edward Zwick, Chairman and CEO, Sony Corporation, Chair AFI Board of Directors Sir Howard Stringer, Director Jay Roach, actors Rita Moreno, Denzel Washington, Steve Martin, Keanu Reeves, Shirley MacLaine, Mike Myers, Jodie Foster, Dustin Hoffman, Sir Sean Connery, Cameron Diaz, Jim Carrey and Annette Bening pose for a group photo during AFI's Night At The Movies presented by Target held at ArcLight Cinemas on October 1, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for AFI) *** Local Caption *** Bob Gazzale;Edward Zwick;Sir Howard Stringer;Jay Roach;Denzel Washington;Rita Moreno;Keanu Reeves;Steve Martin;Mike Myers;Shirley MacLaine;Jodie Foster;Dustin Hoffman;Sir Sean Connery;Cameron Diaz;Jim Carrey;Annette Bening

    Getty Images for AFI



2. What drew you to the 'Pink Panther' films? And, if this does well, are you up for a third?

Oh absolutely. I hope so because I love to play it. It's a delight to work on it, write it, everything. ... I think [what drew me to] it was the opportunity to do physical gags. You know, it's hard to find vehicles for that, especially when you're over 60. I think there are definitely a lot of vehicles for a younger person. I think these movies serve the audience like those great Pixar animated films, only we have people in them. We can kind of be exaggerated and emotional at the same time. I just really like it. It suits me perfectly.

3. Of all the movies you've done, which is your favorite? And who's been your favorite person to work with?

Well, 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' is a good one because it not only turned out, I think, to be a really funny movie but it was also a delight to shoot. We were in the South of France, working with Glenne Headly and Michael Caine and Frank Oz the director -- who were just fun. We were laughing on the set all the time in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. That was a real fun movie to shoot. ... Usually it's a personal relationship [that makes someone fun to work with] -- like Marty Short or something like that. But I'm very excited on a professional level to be starting a film in March with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. It's untitled so it's hard to talk about, but it's [a comedy directed by] Nancy Meyers. It's a real honor to work with those two people. I loved working with Alec Baldwin on '30 Rock.' We get along really well I think. And I'd love to be directed by Mike Nichols. I was once. We did a play on Broadway -- 'Waiting for Godot.'

'The Pink Panther 2' Trailer





4. In addition to acting, you're also an accomplished screenwriter and author. Are you writing anything right now?

I do have something I'm writing, but actually the next biggest thing is my banjo record, which [came] out January 27. I wrote all the songs, and I'm playing the banjo. It's called 'The Crow,' and it'll be exclusive to Amazon for the first 90 days. You can actually go on Amazon and take a look at it and hear samples of the tunes. I've been playing since I was 17 and -- it's hard to describe -- but it's a serious musical record. It's got Dolly Parton singing, Vince Gill, a few other bluegrass singers, Irish singers. It's really the most exciting thing -- well, second to 'Pink Panther,' of course.

5. What do you consider the single biggest thrill of your career?

That's hard. That's hard because, you know, the thrills keep coming. For instance, if my banjo record did well, I would be thrilled. If 'Pink Panther 2' did well, I would be thrilled -- or if it was received well. Show business is a collection of thrills, highs and lows. It's really hard to pick, after being in show business for 40 years, what that might be without insulting a bunch of people [laughs]. Nothing comes to mind except that it's been a great career.