Q&A Bill Mur­ray: “You’ve got to cut peo­ple some slack some­times.”

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by JAMES MOTTRAM

You have a rep­u­ta­tion in the movie busi­ness for be­ing tough to hire. Are you just fussy? You have to say no – peo­ple get des­per­ate and take jobs to be paid. And that’s the num­ber one prob­lem: to take a job for money. If you can avoid that, you’ll be all right. That’s my ex­pe­ri­ence. Do you think at this cur­rent mo­ment – where so much of what gets said in public falls un­der heavy scru­tiny – is a dif­fi­cult time for com­edy? Well, it’s dif­fi­cult to make any #Metoo jokes; that’s prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble. There’s prob­a­bly a joke to be made… but it’s prob­a­bly a woman that’s go­ing to make it. If it’s funny, I’ll laugh. But you can’t make rules about com­edy. It’s ei­ther funny or it’s not. When you start mak­ing rules… then what else can’t I do? Were you shocked by the rev­e­la­tions that have rocked Hol­ly­wood? Shocked? That’s not the word I’d use. It’s a sick­en­ing feel­ing; it’s like get­ting punched. And I knew one of those women. I thought, “Oh f*ck, I know her, she’s my friend.” I don’t think Al Franken should’ve been forced to leave the [US] Se­nate [over sex­ual-mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions]. His stuff was sopho­moric but not crim­i­nal – and some­thing he did be­fore he was a se­na­tor, while he was do­ing a com­edy tour. You’ve got to cut peo­ple some slack some­times. There has to be some wis­dom about it. Isle Of Dogs is your eighth movie for di­rec­tor Wes An­der­son. What makes him so spe­cial? You jump up a level. You just have to. Your life, your at­ten­tion and your state has to for you to do the work. You can’t think you’re go­ing there to swan. It’s not go­ing to be painful – it’s go­ing to be ex­hil­a­rat­ing. Your co-star Bryan Cranston said he doesn’t know how much he was paid on Isle Of Dogs. What was your fee? Ac­tu­ally, Bryan does all my ac­count­ing… Isle of Dogs is set in Ja­pan, where you made Lost In Trans­la­tion. Have you fallen in love with Ja­panese cul­ture? I cer­tainly like it there. Mak­ing that film and be­ing there changed my whole at­ti­tude about Ja­pan and Ja­panese peo­ple. Eye-open­ing. I re­ally loved it. The peo­ple are good laugh­ers. They re­ally laugh very, very hard. And the po­lite­ness… you spend a month there and you re­ally do miss the po­lite­ness, I tell you. The way they re­spect you, it re­ally af­fects you. It’s pal­pa­ble. Speak­ing of travel, you’ll be bring­ing your New Worlds live shows to Aus­tralia in Novem­ber. What can we ex­pect? I’ve been play­ing with three clas­si­cal mu­si­cians: Jan Vogler, who is a cel­list, an East Ber­liner; his wife Mira Wang, a vi­o­lin­ist from Beijing; and Vanessa Perez, a pi­anist from Venezuela. They have all played to­gether… but they’re ba­si­cally soloists. I met Jan trav­el­ling back and forth from Ber­lin and af­ter see­ing each other’s stuff, and get­ting to know each other, he said: “Why don’t we make a show?” He ba­si­cally came up with this idea – he’s seen me read po­etry. He plays, the girls play. We do this com­bi­na­tion show that keeps mov­ing around. I read some po­ems, I sing. And it just keeps com­ing. Are you look­ing for­ward to spend­ing some time in Aus­tralia? I’ve been there once be­fore, but not for long. I only stayed in New South Wales, re­ally – in Syd­ney. But we’re go­ing to most of the big cities. We’re start­ing in Perth and we’re bop­ping around. I don’t know how much time we’ll get in-be­tween, but I’m go­ing to fi­nally fig­ure out just how big the whole con­ti­nent is!

“You can’t make rules about com­edy”

Isle Of Dogs is in cin­e­mas on Thurs­day, April 12.

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