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When celebrities want to promote something, they take to the internet. Since Bill Murray has a new movie called Monuments Men opening on February 7th, he took to Reddit and delivered a detailed and thoughtful AMA.
The result was a series of amazing revelations about his work on the movie Garfield, along with a few interesting facts about his terrorizing of Japanese sushi chefs, his favorite acting gig, and that time he hired an assistant he couldn't talk to.
Check out the sixteen most amazing, gotta read things we learned about Bill Murray during his detailed question and answer session.
Bill Murray basically rewrote Garfield on the fly. A few years ago we learned that Bill Murray did the voice of Garfield in the animated Garfield movies because he saw the name Joel Coen on the script, didn’t actually read it, and thought it was written by one of the Coen Brothers. The name was a typo, it was actually Joel Cohen. But what you may not know is that once he was there recording his lines for the film, he started reworking the whole thing on the fly in an attempt to fix it. Bill says, "So this was an odd movie because the live footage had been shot, but the cat was still this gray blob onscreen. So I start working with this script and I'm supposed to start re-recording and thinking "I can do a funnier line than that" so I would start changing the dialogue that was written for the cat. Which kind of works, it sort of generally works, but then you realize the cat's over here in a corner sitting on a counter, and I'm trying to think how I can make it make sense. So the other characters are already speaking these lines, and so I'm going "did he really say THAT?" and you're kind of in this endgame of "how do I chess piece myself out of this one?"
So I worked like that with this gray blob and these lines that were already written, trying to unpaint myself out of a corner. I think I worked 6 or 7 hours for one reel? No, 8 hours. And that was for 10 minutes. And we managed to change and affect a great deal."
Bill kept working on it like that for weeks, day after day soaked in sweat as he kept trying to find a way to rewrite the movie on the fly even though the animation had already been created. He was even working on it while filming Life Aquatic. In the end Bill says "we managed to fix it, sort of."
Bill Murray tried to save the second Garfield in much the same way he attempted to fix the first one, but it didn’t work this time. He says "the next time, they had been shooting for 5 weeks. And I cursed again. I said "I just asked for one little thing, letting me know." and that one was EVEN HARDER. The second one was beyond rescue, there were too many crazy people involved with it. And I thought I fixed the movie, but the insane director who had formerly done some Spongebob, he would leave me and say "I gotta go, I have a meeting" and he was going to the studio where someone was telling him what it should be, countermanding what I was doing."
While in Japan filming Lost in Translation Bill Murray used to go to a Sushi bar and ask the chef uncomfortable questions for fun. Bill explains, "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 sushi chef eventually retaliated by bringing in a live eel, killing it, and serving the result to Bill Murray 30 seconds later. Murray says, "It was the freshest thing I had ever eaten in my life."
Bill Murray thinks the Marijuana threat has been over-exaggerated. When asked whether the drug should be legalized he said, "People are realizing that the war on drugs is a failure, that the amount of money spent, you could have bought all the drugs with that much money rather than create this army of people and incarcerated people." Adding, "The fact that states are passing laws allowing it means that its threat has been over-exagerated. Psychologists recommend smoking marijuana rather than drinking if you are in a stressful situation. These are ancient remedies, alcohol and smoking, and they only started passing laws against them 100 years ago."
Bill Murray once hired a deaf/mute assistant. She had the intelligence to do the job but they couldn’t communicate. This was 30-years ago and Bill says, "I tried to accommodate more than I understood when I first hired her, she was very young in her emotional self and the emotional component of being away from her home was lacking. I tried my best, but I was working all day." Their relationship didn’t end well. Bill explains, "It didn't go particularly well for me, but for a few weeks she really was a light… We were both optimistic, but it was harder than either of us expected to make it work."
Bill Murray thinks last year’s SNL cast was the best one since Saturday Night Live season 1. Bill explains, "…the last group with Kristen Wiig and those characters, they were a bunch of actors and their stuff was just different. It's all about the writing, the writing is such a challenge and you are trying to write backwards to fit 90 minutes between dress rehearsal and the airing. And sometimes the writers don't get the whole thing figured out, it's not like a play where you can rehearse it several times. So good actors - and those were really good actors, and there are some great actors in this current group as well I might add - they seem to be able to solve writing problems, improvisational actors, can solve them on their feet."
Bill Murray’s favorite movie to act in was Broken Flowers. When director Jim Jarmush approached him to do it, Bill told him, ""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 Jarmusch found shooting locations within an hour of Bill’s house. When the movie was done Bill loved it so much he says "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."
"It was a real fiesta" says Bill Murray of filming The Fantastic Mr. Fox. They went out to a friend’s farm where they recorded during the day and at night, "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."
Bill Murray credits his brother Brian Murray for making what he is possible. He says Brian was his "first great influence" and adds, "To this day, if I have a question about something ethical or about being an actor or entertainer or a person or something like that, he's a person who helped form me."
If Bill Murray could go back in time and talk to one historical figure, it would be Gregor Mendel. Bill Murray likes scientists, "in a funny way." Gregor Mendel was a monk who died in 1844 and is credited as the founder of the science of genetics.
Bill Murray’s favorite place to play golf is in Ireland. Bill explains, " 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."
Bill Murray thinks the script for Groundhog Day was the greatest script of 1993. He also recommends visiting Punxsutawney. Bill says, "it is one of the few things that is BETTER than advertised."
Bill Murray thinks ads should suck less. When asked if he thought ads should be more like Bill Murray he responded, "I don't know if brands should be more like Bill Murray, but there's no question they should suck less."
The best sandwich Bill Murray ever ate came from a place called Godfather, not far from Warner Brothers. Bill says, "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."
Bill Murray is shocked to be so awesome. When asked what it’s like being so awesome, he responded, "Well, nothing prepared me for being this awesome. It's kind of a shock. It's kind of a shock to wake up every morning and be bathed in this purple light."