As part of my education of my daughter, we watch lots and lots of movies together. She’s seen all the good ’80s ones, and all the bad. The comedies, the dramas and the horrors (think I scarred her recently with The Exorcist. Yes I am a liberal parent when it comes to movies and books.) And yesterday we went to the video store cause there are a few Bill Murray movies she hasn’t seen, like What About Bob? which is legendary in our family (my mother and sister and I all quote from it.)
Four days ago, Bill did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on reddit (a weird subterranean place that is also cache to quite a lot of amazing information, especially on the AMAs.)
This is what he said about shooting Fantastic Mr Fox:
Well that was great fun. It was great fun, because it just dragged on and on and on. And it was this fun bunch of people. First we went to our friend’s farm, and we all stayed at her place for a handful of days while we recorded during the day and then at night we would have these magnificent meals and we would all tell stories. We had a LOT of great food, a lot of great wine and great stories. It went on until people started literally falling from their chairs and being taken away. And then we had to go to another place and do it again, we went to George’s place, but then something happen and the whole party broke up, and George said “you don’t have to go, do ya” and I didn’t, so we just kicked around Northern Italy for a while. It was a real fiesta. And then Wes was working in England, so I had to fly to England for like 3 days to re-record, but the re-recording only took about 70 minutes, so that was fun. And then I had to go to Paris, once again, another disaster having to go to Paris to re-record for 20 minutes. It was a terrible, terrible experience. That was a really good job and he did a great job on the film. And Wes’ brother Eric did a great job as the character, he was just amazing. To me he was the high point of the whole thing. And the artisans working in England that built all those sets and did all that work, the mechanicals, to see them work – that was like a treasure. That was like getting to go backstage to see the finest artists at work.
You know, we think that rich people and famous people must be miserable. That’s the way we comfort ourselves, and make our small lives seem liveable. But really, anyone who is doing what they love in any capacity, no matter whether for a lot of money or a little or none, this is how to live a life.
He also said this (on director Wes Anderson, whose films I adore and who Bill has worked with a lot):
I really love the way Wes writes with his collaborators, I like the way he shoots, and I like HIM. I’ve become so fond of him. I love the way that he has made his art his life. And you know, it’s a lesson to all of us, to take what you love and make it the way you live your life, and that way you bring love into the world.
And on Broken Flowers (one of my favourite BM movies, such a gentle bitter-sweet quiet movie. Often comedians are at their best in serious roles, eg Steve Carell in Little Miss Sunshine and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Amazing.) Bill Murray said this:
Well, I did a film with Jim Jarmusch called Broken Flowers, but I really enjoyed that movie. I enjoyed the script that he wrote. He asked me if I could do a movie, and I said “I gotta stay home, but if you make a movie that i could shoot within one hour of my house, I’ll do it.”
So he found those locations. And I did the movie.
And when it was done, I thought “this movie is so good, I thought I should stop.” I didn’t think I could do any better than Broken Flowers, it’s a film that is completely realized, and beautiful, and I thought I had done all I could do to it as an actor. And then 6-7 months later someone asked me to work again, so I worked again, but for a few months I thought I couldn’t do any better than that.
This made me laugh:
… well, I was eating at a sushi bar. I would go to sushi bars with a book I had called “Making out in Japanese.” it was a small paperback book, with questions like “can we get into the back seat?” “do your parents know about me?” “do you have a curfew?”
And I would say to the sushi chef “Do you have a curfew? Do your parents know about us? And can we get into the back seat?”
The best sandwich he’s ever eaten in his life and where was it from?
You know, there’s a place not far from Warner Brothers, I think it was called the Godfather? And they made all kinds of sandwiches with smashed avocado and sprouts and stuff like that. And they really tasted good. And when you were having a bad day, I remember a particularly rough movie, you’d get sandwiches from this place. And they were very filling and very tasty, and then you’d forget about the morning.
On golf, and the last sentence in the following quotation tells you more about what kind of man Bill Murray is. He doesn’t take things for granted:
My favorite place to play golf is in Ireland. that’s where my ancestors come from, and it’s the most beautiful country to play golf in, and when you come as a guest to play golf you are treated like a king.
And the last place I played golf? Well the last place I can think of is I was working on a job in Hawaii with Emma Stone, and one day I got to play golf at a place called Weilea on a place called Oahu. I played with Scott Simpson, and I played with 3 other great, great Hawaiian guys who were SO much fun and so positive, and one was the club champion. And when you play with great players, you play better, it just elevates your game. A high tide raises all boats, you’ve heard that one?
I played so well, I won $50. Winning $50 playing golf? That’s money. So I won $50, and they couldn’t believe I could putt, and that I didn’t choke. We played into the sunset on the pacific ocean, with leaning palm trees, laughing the entire time.
But then this very positive group of people said on the next day, “we want to take you on a outrigger canoe to go surfing waves in the pacific.”
It was delirious. It was something everyone should get a chance to do.
That was a round of golf, where it went EVEN further. And they now are my friends.
And I went from the surf, to the plane, and that was the end of my job. I was all salty, I had a lei around my neck, I was charmed.
And yes, the question I would have asked if I was on the AMA:
What did you whisper in Scarlett Johansson’s ear at the end of Lost In Translation?
And Bill’s answer?
You know? I forget.
Bill Murray’s AMA on reddit: link here