Bill Murray is no stranger to bad behavior on movie sets
For actor Bill Murray, accusations of bad behavior on and off set are like the premise of one of his most famous films, ‘Groundhog Day’ – something that repeats itself over and over again.
The last example? Murray acknowledged in a interview this weekend with CNBC that Searchlight Pictures suspended production on his latest film, “Being Mortal”, after he had a “difference of opinion” with a woman he was working with on the film.
“I did something that I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way,” Murray told CNBC’s Becky Quick.
Murray, who is 71, did not identify the woman or give details of what he did, but said: “We are talking and trying to make peace with each other.” Searchlight Pictures did not identify the woman and told NBC News they could not comment on their investigation. The production company also hasn’t said whether or not Murray will continue to star in the film, which was half-finished when it halted production last month.
It was the first time Murray weighed in on an incident that torpedoed what is believed to be the directorial debut of comedian Aziz Ansari, whose own career was derailed in 2018 by allegations of sexual misconduct.
In a statement to NBC News at the time, Ansari described it as “completely consensual.” But facing public backlash, Ansari only returned to stand-up comedy in February 2019. Last month, sources told Deadline that the lawsuit filed on the set of Being Mortal had not been filed. against Ansari.
Reports surfacing recently of a complaint being investigated about the filming of Murray’s film, first reported last month by Deadline and later confirmed by NBC News, was just the latest black eye for a beloved and former Saturday Night Live actor who rose to fame in ’80s comic book classics like “Ghostbusters” and “Caddyshack”, and who won critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination playing a lonely soul in “Lost in Translation”.
When the #MeToo movement took off and top Hollywood actors and directors found themselves accused of sexually abusing their subordinates and others, Murray warned in a 2018 interview with CNBC“If people are monstrous, it comes back. Eventually it comes back. »
“People are getting justice pretty quickly,” he said. “They get it fast and there’s a big wave.”
That same year, Murray publicly expressed support for the #MeToo movement.
“It’s not just a show business thing,” he said. “If you walk down the street in New York behind a woman, you see men walking over them and devouring them with their eyes… I think I would stay inside a lot more if I were a woman.”
In 2007, Murray was accused of assault by his now ex-wife, Jennifer Butler Murray, who claimed in divorce papers that the actor allegedly assaulted her in November 2007 and then told her she was “Fortunately he didn’t kill her.
Her ex also alleged in divorce papers that the actor abused weed and alcohol and sought sex partners abroad and said she ran away with her four sons from the the couple’s home in New York and had moved to their beach house in South Carolina.
“Bill Murray is deeply saddened by the breakdown of his marriage to Jennifer,” the actor’s attorney, John McDougall, said in response at the time to allegations in the divorce papers. “He and his wife made loving parents, and they are committed to the best interests of their children.”
Here are some of the troubling episodes reported from Murray’s career:
- In 2000, Murray faced actress Lucy Liu on the set of ‘Charlie’s Angels’, with Liu claiming that Murray threw ‘inexcusable and unacceptable’ comments at him. “I fought back and I don’t regret it,” Liu said later. She said later in a Deadline interview that she reconciled with Murray. In a 2009 interview with The Times of London, he addressed the issue. “Look, I’m going to fire you completely if you’re unprofessional and work with me,” he said. “When our relationship is professional and you don’t get it, forget it.”
- ‘Charlie’s Angels’ director McG (Joseph McGinty Nichol) claimed that Murray had butted him on the set of the same movie. “Square in the Head”, McG told the Guardian newspaper in May 2009. “An inch later and my nose would have been obliterated.” Murray denied the claim in the Times of London interview. “It’s bulls—! It’s complete crap!” he replied. “I don’t know why he made up this story. He has a very active imagination.
- Actor Richard Dreyfuss, who co-starred with Murray in the 1991 film “What About Bob,” said in a 2019 interview that Murray behaved like “a drunken Irish bully” on set and once threw an ashtray at her. Murray conceded that he and Dreyfuss “didn’t particularly get along on the movie, but it worked out for the movie”. “I mean, I drove him crazy, and he encouraged me to drive him crazy,” Murray said.
- Laura Ziskin, who helped produce “What About Bob?” said in a 2003 interview that she and Murray frequently clashed on set and at one point the actor threw her into a lake, albeit playfully. “Bill also threatened to throw me across the parking lot, then broke my sunglasses and threw them across the parking lot,” she said. “I was furious and outraged at the time, but having produced a dozen films, I can say that this is not common behavior.” Murray did not comment on those allegations at the time.
- Murray worked with his friend Harold Ramis on the films “Ghostbuster” as well as “Caddyshack” and “Meatballs”. But their friendship fell apart as Ramis directed Murray in “Groundhog Day,” Ramis’ daughter wrote. “Bill was going through a tough time in his personal life, and he and my dad disagreed on the tone of the film,” Violet Ramis Stiel wrote in “Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life With My Dad, Harold Ramis.” what was extracted in 2018 by People magazine. They had a few arguments on set, including one in which my dad lost his temper in an unusual way, grabbed Bill by the collar, and pushed him against a wall. Eventually, Bill shut out my dad completely… for over twenty years. Stiel wrote that his father and Murray reconciled before Ramis died. Murray has never commented on the alleged argument with Ramis.
- In 1978, Murray and Chevy Chase, the SNL castmate he was hired to replace, got into a fist fight when Chase returned to the show as a guest host. “You could understand, you know, there were these two bull moose fighting each other, so testosterone was skyrocketing, and things were happening,” then SNL cast member Jane Curtin recalled. Murray, in a 2012 interview, said he and Chase were friends again. “It really was a Hollywood brawl, a ‘Don’t touch my face!’ sort of thing,” Murray told Empire. “It was an Oedipal thing, a rupture. Because we all felt angry that he left us, and somehow I was the anointed avenging angel who had to speak for everyone. But Chevy and I are friends now. Everything is fine.