How ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Landed Its Stellar Guest Stars

Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, Martin Short in Only Murders in the Building
Fall Preview
Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

Talk about a killer property! Only Murders in the Building‘s Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin (above) are movin’ on up as a trio of amateur sleuths who join forces to investigate a death in their exclusive New York City apartment complex. The idea for this 10-part series came from Martin himself, also an executive producer along with his two costars.

“True crime fan is the wrong word,” says Martin, “but I’m interested…in the solving of crime.”

In the opener, the three neighbors—Charles (Martin), a former TV actor who starred on a cheesy police show, theater director Oliver (Short) and secretive millennial Mabel (Gomez)—come together after a fire drill in their building reveals what appears to be the suicide of a fellow resident. Fueled by their mutual obsession with homicide podcasts and a few clues that hint at something untoward, they set out to get to the truth about the man’s demise. On top of that, they record their own podcast about the case.

“Yes, it’s a little bit [self-referential],” admits exec producer John Hoffman, who cocreated the series with Martin. But the combination of having comedic legends starring as true crime lovers publicizing their own investigation, he adds, “seemed so rife with possibilities.”

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Comedic mystery series stars Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin.

Not to mention all the possible guest appearances by the stars’ famous friends. Among those popping up: Nathan Lane and Sting. “The headline reason [we landed the guest stars] is the three people in the show,” Hoffman says of Martin, Short and Gomez. “The minute we said what we were doing, it was much easier to have [someone] say, ‘I’d be interested.’” Guess you could say they were dying to work with them.

Only Murders in the Building, Series Premiere, Tuesday, August 31, Hulu

<>This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s 2021 Fall Preview issue. For more inside scoop on the new fall TV season, pick up the issue, on newsstands Thursday, August 26.