With Rock the Kasbah out this week, Bill Murray returned to Reddit to raise hell in the form of another AMA session. (There was also a Bill Murray translator on hand, because this is 2015 and the Cubs aren’t doing too well.) He talked about his role that got away, his own favorite raconteur, and the best party he’s ever crashed — among others. As much as he shared via surreal anecdotes and out-of-the-blue deep nuggets of wisdom, however, he also ultimately denied to share his elusive secret to winning at life and gave some classically confusing responses. Probably because tequila was involved. Whatever. Here are the highlights, which are wonderful:
What’s the best and worst thing about being Bill Murray?
The worst thing about it, they’re one in the same: You wish you could walk down the street and look at things and watch things uninterrupted. The shock of being recognized brings you out of this place where you’re just trying to take it in. Its an obligation and you’re reminded you have to show up. It’s a coin with two sides. As much as I don’t like the one side, the other side is what might save me.
The best party he ever crashed involved cold french fries, Andy Warhol, and an enclosed subway stop:
Well, we crashed a famous party called the subway party to celebrate the premiere of Tommy, in the 70s. It was Gilda Radner, Belushi, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty, Brian Doyle Murray, and we were all plus 1, probably. It was biggest party ever in NYC at the time. You couldn’t get into this party. It was an inner circle thing. It was at an enclosed subway stop, it was a roar. It was a scream. If you made an airport movie with everyone on the plane is a celebrity, it was like that times 10. We were doing a show in the restaurant cabaret, the guys catering were the same guys who gave us left over french fries, we went into the backdoor to the subway with everyone. Everyone saying hi, hello. And we felt like we didn’t belong at all. It was so fantastic. I have compassion when people say dumb stuff to me. I said to Andy Warhol “I love the soup can” and he looked at me like “You don’t belong here.” What a time that was.
He crashed an MC Hammer concert once:
You’re not supposed to have favorite children. The early ones were fun when people weren’t as fussy. Maybe, What About Bob, was reallly fun. We were on a lake in Smith Mountain, VA. We took over a resort, Labor Day night was a brawl and in the morning everyone was gone. We waterskiied on a full moon … its a moonshine county there. The party would start at 5:45pm and full tilt at 6:08. We crashed a MC Hammer concert, we’re an hour from Roanoke. We had to find our way back to see the concert. I called CAA and said I want to see this show, I said I’m bringing people. We hired a bus, 55 people completely party all the way to the place get there and bouncers are like “Hey Bill! Aw man how many withchu” and they put us on the side of the stage. Anyway, that movie was fun. I think Broken Flowers, that was a perfectly directed movie, and I really did retire at that moment. Retire sounds horrible, I thought what can I do any better, I think Im doing pretty well, it so happened I started having a second life and working with Wes, Sofia and they kept coming. I thought I made my mark, made my bones. I thought there was something else I could do but nothing really appeared.
The only role i wanted I didn’t get, the Year Of Living Dangerously by Peter Weir, I wasn’t a big shot. Mel Gibson lived in Australia. I’d been to Indonesia and I thought I understood that movie. When I saw it, I was like, damn! That was the only one I wanted I didn’t get. Peter Weir is … something else.
What’s it really like when Bill Murray and Wes Anderson get together?
You know, there’s a lot of those guys who want those parts. There’s a lot of bitter actors out there, we went to a SAG thing, during Oscar season you go to these things. They have the entire cast onstage and the director, you think someone will ask a question? Not one. These are people who are really pissed and auditioning for the director at the same time. I dont know what I bring to the movies, I bring to it, what he writes. What I got with him, when he had money to spend like in Rushmore? I think I gave him confidence and I fought the people who were ugly on set. I said don’t worry about this thing, I’ll make sure this shot happens. I’m like a uncle, I don;t know what I’m like. We have a lot of fun. We go to shoot in Newport and a Newport mansion just to have the experience of it while we work, the actors are there, the editing is there and we just slouch down and have breakfast and go to work. He loves to live well and he loves to eat. He hires a cook, but basically means you can work 18 hours, somewhere around 7:30 and then he wants 3 more scenes and youre doing the math, then you eat dinner at midnight and its great but you gotta work til 10 and then you are waiting to shower, you’re woozy. Then you go to sleep. I give nothing to the movie but I’m good company. We’ve had great success together, the people who work for him are slavishly devoted to getting it done and making sure his vision gets done in that way, there’s sort of some guys who get a special pass and sometimes suggestions are great. He doesn’t like fly he prefers ground travel. I’m telling you guys this and he came through and we worked in Santa Fe, we gotta get down to this train, so we met these Mariachi band, 8 violins and a couple big guitars, they were striking! I said OH COME ON, they had a layover, lets get something to eat, we got great Mexican food, we ate outdoors. Wes said “I felt something funny, when you opened the door” and the whole train station just got filled with their music. They played to them as the train pulled away. We had someone else on the film get married, and we got this same bland all women band to blast them with music.
Bill’s favorite raconteur is Jim Downey:
I know some great ones. I enjoy listening to Jim Downey. Jim Downey is someone who can’t and wouldn’t shut up. He can really, really talk. He can really, really go. He is funny. Hunter S Thompson was really about being alive in the moment. He wrote stories in his books, but he didn’t tell you stories so much as you had to live what you were doing. He was a writer, for sure. But Jim Downey, he’s the funniest. Harvard Lampoon, SNL, all-time. His phone message, he didn’t even used to have a telephone, now he calls and leaves 11 minute long messages.
Well, my brother Brian — you can see smoke coming out of his head. He will ruminate on some thing and all of the sudden, and just throws it out there and it splatters the room. It’s like, wow. I dont know how it works in his brain. You can see him thinking and then it comes. My brother Joel is funny, my brother John is funny. They’re all pretty funny. My sister Peggy is funny. But Brian, he has a real gift.
What reality show would be best for Bill?
Flavor Of Love. The idea that he had some of the most, would I consider maybe not the most desirable women in the world, they were really nutty. I mean really crazy. I’d think The Amazing Race. It was like a show I watched in Paris, similar to that. One episode I saw, they had to fight their way to the top of a hotel in Singapore, and answer impossible questions. I used to watch it just to see people completely fall apart. They would try to answer, and it would kill them. But The Amazing Race looks like a lot of fun. You get to go to a bunch of places. It calls on all your skills. I tell people, if you want to get married, travel around the world first. Cause then you get to know people better. Its a test of wills to travel. I think The Amazing Race would be fun.
For the whole AMA, head here.