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Steve Martin Slams Co-Star's Claim That He Hit Her on Set

Miriam Margolyes alleges that she was "repeatedly punched, slapped, and knocked down" by the star.

Following Miriam Margolyes' startling claims about Steve Martin from their time filming the 1986 movie Little Shop of Horrors together, the actor has responded with his own account. In the horror-musical, Martin plays sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello while Margolyes appears as his dental assistant. In one scene, Orin punches his assistant and slams a door on her. In her new memoir, Oh Miriam! Stories From an Extraordinary Life, the 82-year-old claims that Martin actually hit her repeatedly during filming, calling the star "horrid."

Martin has now told a far different story about the filming of Little Shop, as has the film's director, Frank Oz. Read on to find out more.

RELATED: Oliver Stone Said Working With Richard Dreyfuss Was "The Single Worst Experience" of His Career.

Margolyes claims Martin really hit her.

Miriam Margolyes and Bill Murray in "Little Shop of Horrors"
Warner Bros.

As reported by The Independent, in her book, Margolyes writes, "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 adds, "Let it not be said that I have never suffered in the name of art." She also writes that Martin "was undeniably brilliant, but horrid to [her]."

Margolyes contrasted Martin to fellow actor Steve Buscemi, with whom she co-starred in the 1993 movie Ed and His Dead Mother. She writes that Buscemi "was unerringly sweet" and "knocked spots off Steve Martin."

Martin says he was "surprised" by what she wrote.

Steve Martin and Bill Murray in "Little Shop of Horrors"
Warner Bros.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Martin said that he was "surprised" to read what Margolyes wrote about him in her book, because he recalls using great caution in the physical comedy.

"When I first read Miriam Margolyes pejorative account of our scene in Little Shop of Horrors, I was surprised," the 78-year-old star 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."

He added that when they talked on the set, she told him that she was fine. "There was never any physical contact between her and me, accidental or otherwise, in this scene or any other we shot," he said.

The film's director defended Martin.

Frank Oz at the premiere of "Star Wars: The Rose of Skywalker" in 2019
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Martin told The Hollywood Reporter that he remembered there being several other members of the crew on set during the scene to make sure it went smoothly. The crew members included Oz, who spoke in Martin's defense in a statement of his own.

"I always rehearse physical actions in slow motion," the filmmaker said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "The scene was supposed to include a fake punch. It's puzzling what she's talking about. It's not the Steve I know or anyone knows. He's always been professional and respectful of everyone on all of my shoots."

RELATED: Michael Douglas Yelled at Her on Set Until She Cried, Former Child Actor Said.

Margolyes has called out many celebrities.

Miriam Margolyes at the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" in 2011
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Martin isn't the only star Margolyes has publicly derided, and she's famous for being extremely outspoken. (Sometimes this is in controversial ways, such as when she defended disgraced Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.) In a recent interview with The Guardian, Margolyes recalled performing alongside John Cleese on stage in the '60s. "John was a brilliant comedian in his day, but something has turned. Like milk, he's gone sour. He's an irrelevance," she said, adding that he "is a puny tadpole of a person." (Margolyes did not elaborate, but Cleese has made headlines in recent years for speaking out against political correctness. Notably, he also defended Rowling.) The actor also said she has crossed paths with Mick Jagger, whom she called a "miserable [expletive]" and "unfriendly."

Last year, Margolyes got people talking with a story about her co-star in the 1999 horror movie End of Days, Arnold Schwarzenegger. In an interview with's podcast I've Got News for You, she claimed that he purposely farted in her face during filming.

"He farted in my face. Now, I fart. Of course I do. But I don't fart in people's faces. He did it deliberately right in my face," she said.

The Romeo + Juliet actor continued, "[I]t was during the filming of End of Daysin Los Angeles. And I was playing Satan's sister, and [Schwarzenegger's character] was killing me, so he had me in a position where I couldn't escape and lying on the floor (laughs) … And he just farted. It wasn't on film, it was in one of the pauses, but I haven't forgiven him for it."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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