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Film

Bill Murray on the very first time he met Wes Anderson

Hollywood actor Bill Murray is more than a mere screen performer, becoming something of an all-encompassing personality during his near-50-year career in the industry.

Standing somewhere in between the world of independent and mainstream filmmaking, Murray is an ironic, coolly detached cultural icon who has come to inspire a whole new generation of like-minded individuals. Whilst he is known for his sarcastic comedies Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, Murray has also collaborated with some of the industry’s finest names including Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch and Sofia Coppola.

With an eclectic array of past endeavours, including a musical and comedy film named A Very Murray Christmas, as well as random public appearances in wedding photos and multiple cameos across the history of cinema, Bill Murray is one of cinema’s most unique performers, dedicated to bringing his own brand of cynical humour to the forefront of alternative culture.

Of his many collaborations, his long working relationship with the eccentric American filmmaker Wes Anderson remains his very strongest, appearing in nine of his films including The French Dispatch, The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore. In fact, it would probably be easier to name which Anderson movies Murray isn’t in, being only omitted from the director’s first ever film, Bottle Rocket made in 1996. 

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Sitting down with Patrick Heidmann of The Talks, Murray discussed the first time he ever met Wes Anderson, admitting in the interview that he struggles to recall the actual moment. 

“Well, meeting him… God, actually meeting him, I would have to think about that!” the actor states, with his evocative tone of voice audible through the written words. Whilst he himself doesn’t remember the fine details, he adds, “But I’ll bet he remembers it! I don’t remember the actual meeting. I read the script for Rushmore and I just sort of agreed to it. The agents and all the pushy people said, ‘Well, do you want to meet him?’ I said no! (Laughs) I said, ‘What day am I supposed to start work? Let’s go!’” 

Featuring alongside such names as Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams and Brian Cox, Rushmore would represent Murray’s very first collaboration with Anderson, taking the supporting role of Herman Blume in the movie. Playing a middle-aged parent and businessman who hates his children, Murray’s character takes a young student under his wing to teach him the ways of the world only for personal differences to turn them into enemies. 

Speaking about the first time he actually met Anderson on the set of the film, the actor added, “I finally met him when I showed up in Houston, Texas where we shot it. He was young! I don’t know how long ago we made that first movie, but he was young. He was just a kid, but he was also a guy who knew what the hell he was doing and what he wanted to do, right from the beginning”. 

Murray’s appearance in the director’s forthcoming movie Asteroid City will make for his tenth collaboration with the filmmaker, with the actor concluding by saying, “We had a good relationship, I felt like I was looking out for him and I still am. I like him, he’s my friend”.

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