Bill Murray has starred in some of the most definitive cinematic gems of 20th century popular culture, ranging from Ghostbusters to Groundhog Day. Throughout his illustrious career, the actor has worked with some of the finest filmmakers around such as the likes of Tim Burton, Jim Jarmusch and Wes Anderson among others. Naturally, there has been a lot of discourse around Murray’s greatest performance from his career so far.
While many have insisted that Murray’s best work came in Groundhog Day as a local weather reporter, one who learns revelatory secrets about the human condition by experiencing the same day over and over again as his best role, others have put forward his iconic renditions in other memorable masterpieces such as Caddyshack and Stripes.
Murray has voiced his authoritative opinion on this matter by claiming that he cherishes one particular dramatic role from his illustrious career, not going with any of the comedic performances that established him as one of the most popular stars in the film industry. However, his choice doesn’t come as a surprise because it is indeed his best work.
According to Murray, who has stated it in numerous different interviews, his favourite role came in 2003 when a burgeoning Sofia Coppola cast him in the beloved romantic drama Lost in Translation. Murray starred as a fading actor who travels to Japan to star in a whisky advertisement. During his time there, the character learns more about his fundamental isolation and falls in love with a young and lonely newly wed girl (played by Scarlett Johansson).
Drawing from her own loneliness and time in Japan, Coppola constructed a compelling dramatic experience which takes the audience into the beautifully lit cityscape of Tokyo where the atmosphere reeks of urban isolation. Now, Lost in Translation is seen as Coppola’s greatest directorial efforts since none of her others have come close to obtaining the same achievements.
“He brought so much,” Coppola said of Murray. “I was having a hard time at that stage of my life and I’d wish Bill would show up and take me on an adventure…A lot of it was just found moments with Bill improvising. The scene in the sushi restaurant with the black toe? That was just Bill riffing on the situation”.