Mur­ray’s Mints

Nuggets of wis­dom from the world’s fun­ni­est man

Empire (UK) - - PREMIERE - Olly Richards

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.

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