Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Steve's Father Figure Role Is Child's Play

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Steve's Father Figure Role Is Child's Play

Article excerpt

Byline: By Robin Walker

Robin Walker talks to Hollywood's favourite father figure Steve Martin about his latest paternal role.

Steve Martin doesn't have kids but he says he's played a father so many times on screen it sometimes feels like he does.

With more father figure roles than most in his repertoire of movie hits - Parenthood and Father Of The Bride to name just two - the 58-year-old former stand-up comedian is wrestling again with the pressures of being a parent.

In his new film, Cheaper By The Dozen, Martin is an on-screen dad to a family of 12 kids.

But the actor, who was married to British actress Victoria Tennant for eight years, has managed to stay away from real fatherhood.

"I'm amazed that I still get asked to play fathers at my age," admits the white-haired actor. "I've played fathers so many times I feel like one at times."

The best part, he says, is that he gets to be with the kids when they're being treated well on the film sets and loving it.

"They're excited about doing the movie and you don't have to deal with them on their down time like parents have to every day.

"I've had children of every age, and I get to do everything but the dirty work," enthuses Martin. "Their real parents have to take them home and deal with that."

In Cheaper by the Dozen, Martin is left to fend for himself and cope with the chaotic horde while their screen mother is away promoting her book.

It's based on the book by Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and a remake of the 50s film that starred Jeanne Crain and Clifton Webb.

For all the screen chaos, Martin says the comedy is "a booster film for families" - making any parents feel their lives are so blessed:

"Ending the filming was so moving. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to do it."

The 50s film focused more on the father's bid to win control of the children. This time the film celebrates their free spirits: "To have all these kids with all these opinions 40 years ago would probably have been shocking to the audience. …

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