Steve Martin denies Miriam Margolyes’ claim he ‘punched’ her on film set: ‘I have to object’

Margolyes recalled her experience working with the ‘horrid’ comedian in her new memoir

Isobel Lewis
Sunday 17 September 2023 13:28 BST
Miriam Margolyes reveals she 'can't walk' anymore and will 'be in wheelchair soon'

Steve Martin has denied claims that he “punched” Miriam Margolyes on the set of Little Shop of Horrors.

Writing in her second memoir Oh Miriam!: Stories from an Extraordinary Life, the famously unfiltered Harry Potter star shared her “uncomfortable” experience working with Martin on Frank Oz’s 1986 movie musical.

Martin played one of the film’s villains, sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello, while Margolyes appeared as his receptionist. In the musical number “Dentist!”, Orin punches and later slams a door in the face of his secretary, while also inflicting pain on his patients.

In her autobiography, however, Margolyes, 82, suggested that the “horrid” Martin actually “punched, slapped and knocked [her] down” during filming.

In a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter, the Only Murders in the Building star refuted Margolyes’ version of events, saying that he took “extreme caution” while filming the scene.

“When I first read Miriam Margolyes pejorative account of our scene in Little Shop of Horrors, I was surprised,” Martin, 78, said. “My memory is that we had a good communication as professional actors.

“But when it is implied that I harmed her or was in some way careless about doing the stunts, I have to object. I remember taking EXTREME caution regarding the fake punch – the same caution I would use with any similar scene.”

Steve Martin and Miriam Margolyes in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

The Independent has contacted Margolyes’s representatives and publisher for comment.

In Oh Miriam!, Margolyes described Martin as “undeniably brilliant, but horrid to me”.

“I was hit all day by doors opening in my face; repeatedly punched, slapped and knocked down by an unlovely and unapologetic Steve Martin – perhaps he was method acting – and came home grumpy with a splitting headache,” she recalled.

“Let it not be said that I have never suffered in the name of art.”

Elsewhere in Margolyes’s memoir, the actor recalled flashing an “exhausted” Martin Scorsese while working with him on 1993 film The Age of Innocence.

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You can read  11 of the book’s biggest revelations here – from Margolyes’s “most-despised” people to her encounter with a “smug” Mick Jagger.

Oh Miriam!: Stories from an Extraordinary Life is out now.

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