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Aziz Ansari’s Feature Directorial Debut Faces Production Shut Down After Bill Murray Investigation

Aziz Ansari reading a book in Netflix's Master of None
(Image credit: Netflix)

Along with being a comedian and actor, Aziz Ansari also has some directing experience under his belt from the Netflix series Master of None, which he also co-created, co-wrote, executive produced and starred in. Ansari was set to take the directorial aspect of his career to the next level by helming Being Mortal. However, this upcoming movie is now dealing with a production shutdown following an investigation, and Bill Murray is allegedly involved. 

A Deadline report states that the reason Being Mortal's production was suspended was due to a complaint made against Bill Murray for "inappropriate behavior." At this time, it's unclear what Murray's involvement in the movie will be going forward. 

While Being Mortal’s production had already been halted earlier this week, Searchlight Pictures has reportedly suspended production on the adaptation of the nonfiction book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. The cast and crew have received a letter informing them of this decision, which was also shared by Deadline. Initially, the outlet reported this move from the studio was due to a complaint being filed last week. Said complaint was investigated and more details were revealed. 

As things stand now, Aziz Ansari and his producing partner, Youree Henley, are working with Searchlight Pictures on figuring out what steps to take on Being Mortal. Principal photography began on March 28, and this production suspension occurred roughly as filming was halfway completed. Being Mortal is intended to be released sometime in 2023, but it’s unclear at this point if the suspension will affect that plan.

Movie and TV production shutdowns were certainly commonplace in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, with movies like The Batman having to reconfigure how to shoot the rest of its footage months after the fact. As already noted though, the reason for Being Mortal’s production suspension is due to a complaint being filed against a member of the cast or crew. 

Before the update, the mysteriousness around the incident was reminiscent of when Midas Man, the movie about Beatles manager Brian Epstein, initially shut down its production last November. At the time, it was reported that Midas Man’s director, Jonas Akerlund, was “taking a break,” and he eventually departed, with Sara Sugarman inheriting the helming reins and the production resuming in January.

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next with Being Mortal, but it sounds like Searchlight Pictures intends to finish it,  as opposed to when Netflix scrapped production entirely on Nailed It! Halloween midway through the filming schedule. In addition to directing, Aziz Ansari is also starring alongside Bill Murray, Keke Palmer and Seth Rogen. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End has been named a Best Book of the Year by publications like The Washington Post and The New York Times Book Review.

CinemaBlend will pass along any major updates on what’s happening Being Mortal’s progress. Aziz Ansari can next he heard voicing Daryl in The Bob’s Burgers Movie, which comes out May 27.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.