Nuggets of wisdom from the world’s funniest man
There have been cameos, there have been supporting roles, and there have been lead roles in offbeat fare like St. Vincent. but believe it or not, it’s been over a decade since bill Murray toplined an out-and-out comedy. That was Wes anderson’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, and if that’s still a little too arch for you, then it’s been an astonishing 19 years since The Man Who Knew Too Little. That’s a long time for the funniest man in the world not to be plying his trade. but Murray the mirth-maker is back this month in barry Levinson’s Rock The Kasbah, in which he plays a failed rock promoter on an eventful tour of afghanistan.
With afghanistan unavailable, Empire went to the movie’s set in Marrakech, where we saw first-hand the full effects of the Murricane. It’s not every day you interview a man who’s straddling an inflatable alligator in a swimming pool, but then, it’s not every day you interview bill Murray. “Well, are you coming in?” he asks, splashing Empire gently. Well, are you?
He’s Pleased about his Comedy Comeback
“I missed doing it. I think if you can be funny you should be funny. but there just aren’t that many scripts that are funny. I just do what I like, there’s no plan. I thought this movie was going to be a bit more serious, but it’s going to be easily, insanely funny. I had no idea how many comic opportunities the script had. We’re just able to do crazy stuff.”
He doesn’t Like Agents
Some time in the noughties Murray dismissed his agents. Famously, the only way to get in touch with him is via a secret phone number. “I remember just once being in my house trying to relax and the phone rang, like, 75 times. It was my agent’s office. The fact that there is someone dedicated to driving you nuts like that, why would you have that?”
Here’s another way to reach him...
Through friends. In particular, Mitch Glazer, the writer of Scrooged and Rock The Kasbah, has become known as The Guy Who Can Get Your Script To Bill Murray: “It’s a bad piece of luck for him. He gets contacted by just horrible people. It happened because Sofia Coppola and he are friends. She wanted me to do her movie (Lost In Translation) and Mitch convinced me to go and meet her and talk to her. The result of that is that people started thinking that the way to get to me was to ask him. But we don’t like to advertise that because he’s going to start asking for a piece.”
He has a musical side
Soon after Empire got to set, we overheard Murray and friends singing a Roy Orbison track. “We’ve always got music playing in the make-up trailers. Whenever there’s time, we sing. It’s important to keep musical, to keep lyrical. There’s something about rock ’n’ roll that’s fun.”
He has one regret
In his Zombieland cameo, Murray declared he had no regrets. “Well, maybe Garfield.” Turns out there is another. “The only movie I really ever wanted to do was The Year Of Living Dangerously. I would have played Linda Hunt’s role, of course. No, Mel Gibson played the part and nobody would have thought of me, but I’d have liked to do it.”
He’s not a Prankster
The tales of Murray’s pranks have become legendary over the years. Even during our set visit, he took great delight from pushing an unsuspecting journalist (not us) into the pool. But he says it’s not his fault. “It’s not planned. I get dragged into things. I get pulled into situations. People say, ‘Come on in here,’ and because you’re in a situation and you’re a little notorious or famous it changes it for other people...”
Rock The kasbah is out on March 18.