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