What About Bill?: Wes Anderson on Working With Bill Murray

The "Grand Budapest Hotel" director does a film-by-film breakdown of his collaborations with the comedic genius
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Walt Disney Co./Everett Collection

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'Rushmore' (1998)

"I sent the script to Bill and had no idea what would happen after that. One day I was in a Disney executive's office, and they say Bill Murray is on the line; I had no idea how he even knew I was there. The Disney exec then had to leave his own office so that I could have a long conversation with Bill about the role. I remember he wanted to talk about how he related his character — Herman Blume — to Kurasowa.

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The only other time I saw him before we started filming in Texas was at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles. I needed to get a photo of him so that we could have a painting made for the set. I shot a whole roll of film; the first shot was the best. Then we ended up having some drinks at the bar downstairs, and Bill took the place over and started dancing. That was the first experience I had of how a room could get swept up by him.

Our first day on set, we had a reading with Jason Schwartzman…it didn't go well at all. We beat ourselves up over whether we should change the dialogue, but Bill said that the dialogue is why he signed on. A day later, Bill took us out to a restaurant where we ate chicken-fried steak. After that, everything was fine. I like to think that he was great in the role — but beyond that, he was the godfather of that film."

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