Bill Murray Confirms The Funny Reason He Signed On For The Garfield Movies

Garfield movie

With more than four decades of acting under his belt, Bill Murray has appeared in a lot of popular and well-received movies, from Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day to Lost in Translation and Moonrise Kingdom. And then there are the Garfield movies, where Bill Murray voiced the orange, lasagna-obsessed, Monday-hating cat. While performing decently at the box office, both Garfield: The Movie and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties were panned by critics, and it turns out that the only reason that Murray signed onto these comic strip adaptations in the first place is because of a misunderstanding over who was writing it. As Murray explained:

I did the Garfield movies, which were just like one crazier than the next. It's true, yeah it's absolutely true. And I didn't really read the script. And I was like, 'You know, I'd kind of love to do, try one of these animated movies. They're kind of fun.' I'm looking, I go Joel Coen, one of my favorites, I mean the Coen brothers? These guys make great movies. Well, it wasn't that Joel Coen, it was a different Joel Cohen.

Who knew that the letter 'h' could be so important in deciding to take on a project. In case the mixup still isn't clear, as Bill Murray revealed to The Today Show, he initially thought Joel Coen, one half of the acclaimed Coen Brothers duo, was writing Garfield: The Movie. With movies like Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski and O Brother, Where Art Thou? on his resume, I don't blame Murray being intrigued by what Joel Coen could do with a CGI Garfield in a live action setting. But as Murray later learned, it wasn't Joel Coen penning Garfield, but actually Joel Cohen, whose credits include Cheaper by the Dozen and Daddy Day Camp. That doesn't have quite the same level of prestige, to put it lightly.

Despite being mistaken about the identity of Garfield: The Movie's writer, Bill Murray stuck with the project, becoming the third actor to voice the cat after Scott Beach and Lorenzo Music. Evidently his experience on that first movie was either pleasant enough or he was given a worthwhile paycheck for the sequel, because Murray decided to return for another round of Garfield. Alas, I suspect that Murray came out disappointed that these movies didn't come from the mind of Joel Coen, but at least the actor can poke fun at the experiences. In 2009's Zombieland, Murray, who was playing a survivalist version of himself, mentioned that playing Garfield was one of his regrets.

Bill Murray can be heard in Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs, which is still playing in theaters, and for those wondering what other movies are coming out this year, you can find release date information in our 2018 premiere guide. As for Garfield, back in 2016, it was reported that an all-animated film centered on the comic strip was in the works, but there hasn't been any updates on that since.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

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