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''Bowfinger'' stars tell tales of Hollywood desperation

Heather Graham and Steve Martin talk about the casting couch and other Tinseltown troubles

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Steve Martin

The main characters in ”Bowfinger” are Hollywood types you’ll never see on ”Entertainment Tonight.” In this farcical look at losers trying to make it big in show business, Steve Martin is a struggling (and not particularly talented) director, and Heather Graham is the neophyte actress who quickly learns the benefits of breaking the springs on the casting couch. Graham, 29, tells EW Online she based her portrait on real-life experience. ”I knew one girl, and every time she read for a part, she would ask the casting director, ‘Can I read with you?”’ she says. ”And if it was a kissing scene, and [the casting director] was a guy, she would totally use her tongue. You almost had to admire her because she was so audacious.”

Similarly desperate, Martin’s character, Bobby Bowfinger (whose credits include ”The Yugo Story: The Practical and Affordable Car for the Eighties”), is so determined to get a powerful producer to read his next script that he borrows an expensive sports car and steals a designer suit just to get into a hip industry restaurant. Martin himself is usually the recipient of these unwanted pitches, but remembering his own early career, he tries to be supportive… to a point. ”I’ll often be eating and a script is dropped on my table. You want to treat it with respect, because you think, ‘That was me,”’ Martin, 54, says. ”So what I do is shove them back into the [potted plant] very gently.”