Bill Murray is seemingly one of the loveliest souls that Hollywood has to offer. To possibly imagine the actor not getting along with anyone seems to be a consideration too difficult to process. But it was on the set Charlie’s Angels where the comic actor and fellow star Lucy Liu put our theory to the test as they struggled to connect with each other.
Murray and Liu, it would seem, just rubbed each other up the wrong way as the two stars clashed during filming. Soon enough, after a heated exchange, the two actors allegedly came to blows on the set of the action-packed remake.
The 2000 film, based on the earlier television series of the same name, famously saw Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as the aforementioned Angels star alongside Bill Murray in the comedy thriller based on a private detective agency.
It was a certified box office smash and would receive a sequel which, perhaps not so surprisingly, Murray would have no part in. Many at the time suggested Murray had grown artistically weary of the character of Bosley but, in fact, his omission is reportedly down to the altercation he had with Liu. Murray’s character was replaced in the film with his adoptive brother, Jimmy Bosley. Murray seemed to have excellent on-screen chemistry with Diaz, Barrymore and Liu which was unable to be replicated by Bernie Mac in the 2003 sequel which missed Murray’s presence greatly.
On-screen, you would never know. Off-screen, however, the Ghostbusters star and Liu just didn’t click the first time they met and the situation only worsened as filming progressed. Soon enough, other cast members became all too used to the duo’s insistent verbal sparring. It made the set a tough place to work at times.
It is rumoured that Murray just never felt comfortable around the Elementary star. While those around the set struggled to understand the issue—including Liu herself—their ‘feud’ was only being amplified by the tension. According to a 2008 post on The Movie Blog which said: “People Magazine reported that Bill ‘loudly complained about her technique.’ People were being gentle.”
The post then goes on to detail what they allege really happened on that fateful day on set: “What actually transpired was much more intense. Bill Murray stopped a scene in progress and pointed to Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu saying in order, “I get why you’re here, and you’ve got talent… but what in the hell are you doing here. You can’t act!
“At that, Liu blew her lid and attacked Murray, wildly throwing punches. The actors had to be separated to opposite corners of the room while they lobbed verbal hand grenades at each other.”
It continued: “With a Columbia Pictures gun to their heads, both actors would publicly downplay the incident but insiders know better. Bill Murray would not do any sequel with Liu attached and was subsequently replaced by Bernie Mac.”
It’s unknown how much drama was actually involved in their relationship on-set or if Murray and Liu truly came to physical blows. However, the fact that Murray didn’t partake in the sequel does suggest that there is more than an ounce of truth in what the post alleges to have taken place.