Ten unlikely tales
Ten Things You Never Knew About… Bill Murray

Everyone loves Bill Murray. Clash uncovers some ten unlikely tales about the former Ghostbuster.

1. Not one to mince his words, Murray did film fans around the world a huge favour during the filming of Charlie’s Angels when he allegedly headbutted the Terminator franchise-ruining McG in the face. Murray later denied the accusation, stating rather more bluntly that McG “deserves to die” and that “he should be pierced with a lance”. Unsurprisingly, Murray didn’t return for the sequel.

2. Few people would dare to go toe-to-toe with Robert De Niro and, in fairness, Bill Murray is probably one of those people. Nevertheless, he did break De Niro’s nose during the filming of Mad Dog And Glory, although there was likely no deliberate headbutting involved this time. 

3. On the first day shooting Rushmore, Wes Anderson was said to be so in awe of Murray that he whispered all of his directions to him so as to avoid embarrassment if he were shot down. Murray was so impressed by Anderson’s direction that he gave him a blank cheque when the studio refused to front $25,000 to shoot a scene. 

4. A close friend of Hunter S. Thompson, Murray was nearly killed during the filming of Where The Buffalo Roam after a session of savage drinking led to a series of attempts by the duo to ‘out-Houdini’ one another. Thompson ended up tying him to a deckchair and throwing him in to a swimming pool before jumping in to save him.

5. With an established reputation as something of a practical joker, there are many accounts of Murray approaching people from behind in New York City and covering their eyes whilst saying “guess who” before revealing himself with the line “no-one will ever believe you” and nonchalantly strolling away. 

6. To this day, he maintains that his role as the voice of Garfield was the result of mistaken identity on his part. Having misinterpreted the involvement of Evan Almighty writer Joel Cohen as that of Joel Coen of Fargo fame, Murray agreed to the role only to discover his mistake upon viewing the final cut of the film.

7. Given that he spent his teenage years fronting a local rock band that went by the name The Dutch Masters, his interest in music shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But revellers at the Crossroads Guitar Festival were nevertheless taken aback when Murray appeared onstage to introduce Eric Clapton with a cover of Van Morrison’s ‘Gloria’ back in 2007.

8. He has repeatedly denied his involvement in plans for a third Ghostbusters film, with some sources reporting that he even went so far as to shred a copy of the screenplay and send it back to Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis with a note saying that “no-one wants to pay money to see fat old men chasing ghosts.” Ackroyd denies this.

9. Unlike most Hollywood actors, Bill Murray doesn’t have an agent or a publicist and instead relies entirely on his own judgement when it comes to picking roles. As he puts it, “I like to cut my own lawn now. I don’t need a landscaper.” Those wishing to contact him must use a freephone voicemail, which he checks infrequently.

10. Prior to filming their brief but memorable scene together in Coffee And Cigarettes, director Jim Jarmusch gave RZA no warning that he and his Wu-Tang bandmate GZA would be sharing their scene with Murray until two days before shooting began. He reportedly continues to stay in touch with the duo.

Words by Paul Weedon

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