William James "Bill" Murray is an American actor and comedian. He first gained exposure on Saturday Night Live for which he earned an Emmy Award and later went on to star in comedy films, including Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, What About Bob?, and Groundhog Day. Murray garnered additional critical acclaim later in his career, starring in Lost in Translation, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, the indie comedy-drama Broken Flowers and a series of films directed by Wes Anderson, including Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
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I'm Bill Murray.
If you don't know me, you probably know one of my brothers or sisters.
I'm doing this AMA on behalf of Monuments Men, which is in theaters on February 7 (http://www.monumentsmenmovie.com/site/). Victoria from reddit is helping me as well.
Well, I have to be taken in handcuffs to go appear on the Jimmy Kimmel show with my other actors, with John Goodman, Bob Balaban, George Clooney, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett. It's going to air on February 6 so don't go back to sleep until then.
We gotta go do that now, but I hope everyone has a great Friday the 17th! I really enjoyed this. It's fun. I don't get to talk to so many people at once that often, so this was kind of fun. If you get me one on one I'm ok, but this was nice too.
The rumor is that you went up to someone that was eating french fries, and took a french fry and ate it and said: "No one will ever believe you."
Did this really happen, or is it an urban legend?
Well I have no idea what you're talking about.
Every year my dad and I watch Groundhog Day together on Groundhog Day. It's one of my favorite movies of all time. What was it like filming the same scenes over, and over, and over?
Well, that part was fine, the filming of the scenes over and over because you know that's what the story is. The scripts is one of the greatest conceptual scripts I've ever seen. It's a script that was so unique, so original, and yet it got not acclaim. To me it was no question that it was the greatest script of the year. To this day people are talking about it, but they forget no one paid any attention to it at the time. The execution of the script, there were great people in it. It was a difficult movie to shoot because we shot in winter outdoors. If you ever get to go to Puxatawney, you should go, it is one of the few things that is BETTER than advertised. It's really something to see. But doing the movie, shooting the scenes over and over, it's like an acting challenge. It's like doing a play and those same scenes over and over and again, so you can try to make it better or deeper or funnier than you made it previously.
Hey Bill! I'm a massive fan, I love all your work. I'm also a great fan of Wes Anderson and I was wondering why you always go back to work with him? I think you're a great pairing but what made you both click? It's my birthday today as well so a reply would be the best present ever!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU NN76…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUUUU
First things first.
I really love the way Wes writes with his collaborators, I like the way he shoots, and I like HIM. I've become so fond of him. I love the way that he has made his art his life. And you know, it's a lesson to all of us, to take what you love and make it the way you live your life, and that way you bring love into the world.
What did you whisper in Scarlett Johansson's ear at the end of Lost In Translation?
By the way, it is my favorite movie of all time. I wrote my final paper in my film's studies class about it, and about you and your role in particular.
You know? I forget.
Hi Bill, welcome to Reddit!
Yes, people, this is the real Bill Murray. Verified.
I guess? I've got ID. I have a passport and a driver's license. That should get me to Tijuana anyway from here.
What was the oddest experience you had in Japan?
The oddest… well, I was eating at a sushi bar. 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?"
And I would always have a lot of fun with that, but that one particular day, he said "would you like some fresh eel?" and I said "yes I would." so he came back with a fresh eel, a live eel, and then he walked back behind a screen and came back in 10 seconds with a no-longer-alive eel. It was the freshest thing I had ever eaten in my life. It was such a funny moment to see something that was alive that no longer was alive, that was my food, in 30 seconds.
How do you feel about recreational marijuana?
Well that's a large question, isn't it? Because you're talking about recreation, which everyone is in favor of. You are also talking about something that has been illegal for so many years, and marijuana is responsible for such a large part of the prison population, for the crime of self-medication. And it takes millions and billions of dollars by incarcerating people for this crime against oneself as best can be determined. 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. I think the terror of marijuana was probably overstated. I don't think people are really concerned about it the way they once were. Now that we have crack and crystal and whatnot, people don't even think about marijuana anymore, it's like someone watching too many videogames in comparison. 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.
You are absolutely amazing!!! I love you.
well that feels good. Keep talking.
Bill, what's the best sandwich you've ever ate in your life and where was it from?
You know, there's a place not far from Warner Brothers, I think it was called the Godfather? And they made all kinds of sandwiches with smashed avocado and sprouts and stuff like that. And they really tasted good. And 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.
Do you still talk to your deaf/mute assistant? If so, does he pretend like he can understand what you're saying?
Well, we didn't part well. I don't communicate with her, she was a she. I was sort of ambitious thinking that I could hire someone that had the intelligence to do a job but didn't have necessarily speech or couldn't quite hear or spoke in sign language. She was a bright person and witty but she had never been away from her home before and even though 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. She was lovely and very smart, but there's a lot of frustration when you meet people who can't speak well. Being completely disabled in that area causes a great amount of frustration, and this was going back 30 years or so before ether were the educational components that there are today. It didn't go particularly well for me, but for a few weeks she really was a light and had a real spirit to her. She was like one of your own kids that never had a job, and then they get a job and realize that certain things are expected, and you can't react to everything you don't like or care about. So the first time you have a job and someone says "you have to do this" - it was more complicated than she imagined. We were both optimistic, but it was harder than either of us expected to make it work.
What is it like being so awesome?
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.
If you could go back in time and have a conversation with one person, who would it be and why?
That's a grand question, golly.
I kind of like scientists, in a funny way. Albert Einstein was a pretty cool guy. The thing about Einstein was that he was a theoretical physicist, so they were all theories. He was just a smart guy. I'm kind of interested in genetics though. I think I would have liked to have met Gregor Mendel.
Because he was a monk who just sort of figured this stuff out on his own. That's a higher mind, that's a mind that's connected. They have a vision, and they just sort of see it because they are so connected intellectually and mechanically and spiritually, they can access a higher mind. Mendel was a guy so long ago that I don't necessarily know very much about him, but I know that Einstein did his work in the mountains in Switzerland. I think the altitude had an effect on the way they spoke and thought.
But I would like to know about Mendel, because i remember going to the Philippines and thinking "this is like Mendel's garden" because it had been invaded by so many different countries over the years, and you could see the children shared the genetic traits of all their invaders over the years, and it made for this beautiful varietal garden.
How was your experience working on Fantastic Mr.Fox. This is an amazing movie.
Well that was great fun. It was great fun, because it just dragged on and on and on. And it was this fun bunch of people. First we went to our friend's farm, and we all stayed at her place for a handful of days while we recorded during the day and then at night we would have these magnificent meals and we would all tell stories. We 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. And then we had to go to another place and do it again, we went to George's place, but then something happen and the whole party broke up, and George said "you don't have to go, do ya" and I didn't, so we just kicked around Northern Italy for a while. It was a real fiesta. And then Wes was working in England, so I had to fly to England for like 3 days to re-record, but the re-recording only took about 70 minutes, so that was fun. And then I had to go to Paris, once again, another disaster having to go to Paris to re-record for 20 minutes. It was a terrible, terrible experience. That was a really good job and he did a great job on the film. And Wes' brother Eric did a great job as the character, he was just amazing. To me he was the high point of the whole thing. And the artisans working in England that built all those sets and did all that work, the mechanicals, to see them work - that was like a treasure. That was like getting to go backstage to see the finest artists at work.
What do you think of the current SNL cast?
They're good. I don't know them as well as I knew the previous one. But i really feel like the previous cast, that was the best group since the original group. They were my favorite group. Some really talented people that were all comedians of some kind or another. You think about Dana Carvey, Will, Hartman, all these wonderful funny guys. But 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. They can solve it during the performance, and make a scene work. It's not like we were improvising when we made the shows, but you could feel ways to make things better. And when you get into the third dimension, as opposed to the printed page, you can see ways to solve things and write things live that other sorts of professionals don't necessarily have. And that's why I like that previous group. So this group, there are definitely some actors in this group, I see them working in the same way and making scenes go. They really roll very nicely, they have great momentum, and it seems like they are calm in the moment.
Does that make sense?
Hi Bill, for some reason my computer has started playing up, freezing and opening random pages when I tried to open up this link. I think my computer is excited that you are on Reddit. I just wanted to ask you, what is one of your best memories of meeting a fan?
The best experience with a fan? It happens sometimes where someone will say "I was going through a really hard time. I was going through a really hard time, and I was just morose or depressed."
And I met one person who said I couldn't find anything to cheer me up and I was so sad. And I Just watched Caddyshack, and I watched it for about a week and it was the only thing that cheered me up. And it was the only thing that cheered me up and made me laugh and made me think that my life wasn't hopeless. That I had a way to see what was best about life, that there was a whole lot of life that was wonderful. And I happen to know (from her own spirit) that that person has really triumphed as an artist and as a human being, and if it's just a moment when you can reverse a movement, an emotion, a downward spiral, when you can quiet something or still something and just allow it to change and allow the real spirit rise up in someone, that feels great.
I know I'm not saving the world, but something in what I've learned how to do or the stories that I've tried to tell, they're some sort of representation of how life is or how life could be. And that gives some sort of optimism. And an optimistic attitude is a successful attitude.
Do you like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches?
No, I like pickles, I put pickles in lots of sandwiches. I'm big on pickles, but I've never had them with peanut butter. I really like peanut butter though. I'm kind of surprised because I like them both so much that I haven't combined them.
What's it like shooting scenes with your brother Brian?
Thanks so much for doing this AMA, I firmly believe that you are the funniest person alive today. Keep on rocking man.
My brother Brian was my first great influence. He made much of what I am possible. 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. Shooting scenes with him is delightful. The idea that the two of us get to entertain is a kick.
He's really funny. He really makes me laugh. He's funny.
I'd never heard of the Monuments Men story until I heard about the film and now I'm intrigued.
What was the most interesting or surprising thing that you learned while filming the movie?
Well probably the most horrifying thing was that there was something called Nero Edict that was distributed by the Fuhrer, Hitler, which said that if the Reich should fall, or if Hitler was killed or taken, that all the art that was stolen should be destroyed. And a fair amount of the art was burned, things were burned that will never be returned, a lot was burned even before the Nero Edict because of the modern art, that was degenerate.
In the hunt for the art, they found hidden in the salt mines where the art was hidden, they found the ENTIRE gold supply of Germany.
ENTIRE. Like they had moved their gold, their Fort Knox, into a mine, and this small group of guys searching for art in a mine, found the gold supply of Germany. And this effectively ended the war because once we announced we had all their gold, no country would sell them any more rubber, no country would sell them any more oil, no country would sell them any more anything.
Is that surprising? I think it's one of those odd, bizarre facts where you have this dinky group of guys looking for an art heist effectively ends the war in one fell swoop cutting the arteries of the economy.
What is your favourite rumour you've heard about yourself?
Rumor? Oh wow! I don't really remember them. I don't hold onto rumors much.
Golly, I don't know.
Bill! I have no question, I just wanted to say hello and that my Dad and I always loved you in Ghost Busters and basically everything else you did back then and it's wonderful that I can still see you in movies twenty years later and they're even good movies at that!
Well, thank you. That feels good. That really feels good. I'm glad you liked Ghosts, I'm glad you like the ones I'm making now, and I feel the same way. I'm really happy to have done Ghostbusters and to be doing the movies I do now.
Where was the last place you played golf and where is your favorite place to play golf?
My favorite place to play golf is in Ireland. 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.
And the last place I played golf? Well the last place I can think of is I was working on a job in Hawaii with Emma Stone, and one day I got to play golf at a place called Weilea on a place called Oahu. I played with Scott Simpson, and I played with 3 other great, great Hawaiian guys who were SO much fun and so positive, and one was the club champion. And when you play with great players, you play better, it just elevates your game. A high tide raises all boats, you've heard that one?
I played so well, I won $50. Winning $50 playing golf? That's money. So I won $50, and they couldn't believe I could putt, and that I didn't choke. We played into the sunset on the pacific ocean, with leaning palm trees, laughing the entire time.
But then this very positive group of people said on the next day, "we want to take you on a outrigger canoe to go surfing waves in the pacific."
It was delirious. It was something everyone should get a chance to do.
That was a round of golf, where it went EVEN further. And they now are my friends.
And I went from the surf, to the plane, and that was the end of my job. I was all salty, I had a lei around my neck, I was charmed.
Oh, I just saw a trailer for Monuments Men, it looks like a a movie I want to see. I can't think of anything clever to ask but since I am old, I am a loooong time fan back to SNL days.
Wow, that would be my mother if she were still alive. Monuments Men has a great script and a fascinating story that no one has ever heard before. And there are a whole bunch of great actors in the movie. You hate to say that a film is an important film but I think it's a movie that people will say enlightened them about something that was forgotten, and it's a situation that exists around the world now. For example when we invaded Iraq, we weren't really taking care of business and a bunch of criminals went in and looted the museums. It's what's happening in Syria now. It's far worse than stealing gold or diamonds. It's stealing a culture, a mystery, and if those works of art are stolen, we are losing the ability to learn about culture and about ourselves.