Remembering the time Bill Murray became the world’s greatest barman
Bill Murray, the man, the myth, the legend.
If you’re looking to create a Hollywood cinematic character with edgy, quirky and comedic qualities in the cast that plays with the realms of normal society constraints with a heartwarming, sincere edge, look no further than Murray himself.
Jim Jarmusch, Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson have all reaped the benefit of that philosophy, casting Murray in a series of films that have now become synonymous with the actor’s legacy. The truth is, as Murray has grown older, he’d rather commit himself to a project which would result in him working with close friends rather than gambling on the unknown.
Murray’s cult status has grown stronger as he’s aged with numerous sightings of the actor randomly hanging out with fans, in the crowd at Kings of Leon concerts, photobombing engagement photos and, on one occasion, swinging by a bachelor party to pass on some advice to a bunch of guys.
Yet despite his wide-ranging acting skills, it has become well known over many years of (mis)adventures that the enigmatic character has found himself taking up many different roles away from the big screen—take, for example, the time he became the world’s best bartender while appearing at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin.
Propping up the end of the bar, Murray sparks a relaxed conversation with local bartender Trevor Rathbone when the actor asks: “I’m going to see GZA. Wanna come?” but the venue starts to fill up and Rathbone is forced to stay behind. Fast forward two hours, however, and Murray is back in the same spot and talking to the same guy… but this time he’s brought Wu-Tang Clan duo RZA and GZA with him.
As the situation begins to whip up some excitement, RZA and GZA take a seat away from the commotion and Murray, in an attempt to gain control, moves behind the bar and starts helping out Rathbone. “All of a sudden, Bill Murray’s standing next to me behind my bar,” fellow bartender Jesse Cates recalled. “I found myself bartending with a Ghostbuster. It was pretty flipping sweet.”
The thing is, this is Bill Murray and things don’t normally stay calm for long. While most people in the bar wanted to be served by the actor, Murray had his own unique style… that style? Give everybody tequila. No matter what the order, Murray would listen intently before dismissing their request and pouring them a glass of the hard stuff.
See footage and reflection of this surreal moment, below.