'Only Murders in the Building' star Steve Martin: 'It’s so much fun!'

Steve Martin in Only Murders in the Building
Steve Martin is on the case in Only Murders in the Building. (Image credit: Disney)

Only Murders in the Building sees Steve Martin delving into the fascinating world of true crime podcasts for a comedy whodunnit that sees him team up with old pal and frequent co-star Martin Short, as well as former teen star Selena Gomez.

The comedy-drama, airing August 31 on Hulu in the US and Star via Disney+ in the UK, see Steve as actor Charles, who was once the star of a fictional 1990s cop show, Brazzos, but is now struggling to find work. He lives in the Arconia building in New York City, and, when one of the other residents is found dead in suspicious circumstances, Charles forges an unlikely bond with two neighbors and fellow true-crime podcast enthusiasts — cash-strapped theatre director Oliver (Short) and artistic Mabel (Gomez) — as they try to crack the case and make their own podcast. But their own secrets also start to come to the fore…

Here, Steve Martin, who also co-created Only Murders in the Building, tells us more...

Only Murders in the Building sounds like it was a blast to film. What was your thinking behind it?

“I had this idea because I'm a true crime ‘fan’. I'm interested in the solving of crime, so I’ve listened to a lot of true crime podcasts. But it is one of the most unusual things I've ever done because it actually has a plot. I usually don’t do things with plots!”

Did you always intend it to be a comedy rather than a straight crime show?

“No, because it was originally conceived for older actors, and then Marty said to me, ‘Well, you're old!’ So the comedy came because of the casting, the writing and the performances. If you’d cast three serious actors, it'd be a very different show.”

Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin in Only Murders in the Building.

Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin get a shock in Only Murders in the Building. (Image credit: Disney)

We see you in several flashback scenes from when Charles was the star of Brazzos, were they a laugh to do?

“I decided, with the director, that it was very important to play it straight. Otherwise, it wouldn't be real, but the strange thing is, I played it straight and it looks like a spoof!”

What was it like working with Selena?

“I dance around the house to her music all the time! But I didn't know of her theatrical, movie or television work, so I looked it up, and I thought, 'Oh she's going to be young, she's a beginner.' But she's done more movies than I have! With Selena on screen, the show is suddenly elevated, it's more mysterious and interesting. The camera loves her, and I would say it likes me, and it's fine with Marty!”

Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin in Only Murders in the Building.

Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin have a suspicious death to investigate in Only Murders in the Building. (Image credit: Disney)

And did you enjoy reuniting with Martin after making Three Amigos and the Father of the Bride films together and doing your two-man stage tour?

“Yes, we’re friends. We just get along at a humorous level. And we don't get neurotic. We'll say, ‘You take that line, that sounds more like you.’ Then Marty will say, ‘Can I have the other line too?!’ I just think we're lucky to have this thing late in life that's so much fun.”

Where can I watch Only Murders in the Building?

The 10-part season will air in the US on Hulu and in the UK as part of the Star brand on Disney+ from Tuesday August 31. The first three episodes will be available from launch, and the rest will air weekly.

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.