Over the past 17 years, Bill Murray and auteur Wes Anderson have worked together on seven films; Murray sometimes the lead, sometimes a background player, but always there. It started back in 1997 when lifelong Murray fan (he actually dressed like his Ghostbuster character for Halloween one year) Anderson campaigned to have the actor star in his second feature, Rushmore. Murray was so impressed with the script that he agreed to do it on the union minimum, this after just getting a $9 million paycheck for his previous film.
From then on, Murray and Anderson have made magic together. The two seemingly understand perfectly the inflections and characteristics of one another. This week, another Murray-Anderson film — The Grand Budapest Hotel — is up for Best Picture at the Oscars, as well as a Best Director award. In their own words, listen to the reasons Bill Murray and Wes Anderson have such an affinity for each other.
Murray joking about his relationship with Anderson:
The romance has gone. You lose money on the deal. Variety
Murray on their first collaboration:
Well, on that job, there was a lot of pressure to meet this guy. The agents were like, pushing this guy and sending me copies of his first movie. I have lots and lots of copies of Bottle Rocket. Then, they sent me the script and they said, “Well, do you want to meet this guy?” I said, “No.” They were very like, “Why not?” I said, “Well, I don’t need to meet this guy because whoever wrote this script knows exactly what he wants to do, so there’s nothing to talk about. It’s all right there.” It was so precise, what he wanted, that I knew he knew exactly what he wanted to do and I didn’t have any doubt that he was going to be able to do it. Collider
Murray on Wes growing up:
Wes is still a young man, but he was just a kid when I met him on Rushmore. And he’s grown as a person, as a man, as a movie director. His stuff just keeps getting better and better. And he’s managed to make the making of movies a real living experience. For Moonrise Kingdom, he rented a mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, and we lived in it. The editing rooms were in the mansion. And we had a great cook. You could be relaxed in your own skin, but it also meant that you could work endless, ungodly art-movie hours because there was gonna be a meal prepared for you when you’re done. Esquire
Anderson on love for Murray:
He’s a great collaborator. I love working with him, and I think he has fun, too. There’s nobody better to have on a movie set than Bill Murray. I can only speak of what draws me to him, and I only got to work with him in the first place because I was such a big fan. For me, getting to work with him all of these years, what could be better than that? Vanity Fair
Anderson on Murray’s work ethic:
When we did “Rushmore,” in the very beginning, it could have been intimidating — but he made it not intimidating. As soon as we started working together, I would say something to him and he would respond with something that made me think, “Not only does he understand what I’m saying, he seems to like it and has expanded on it.” In that movie, there’s a scene where he has a conversation with the teacher, and he’s supposed to leave. We did a couple of takes and I said to him, “What if you, rather than just walking away, you walk away and then you sprint away.” It was a weird thing. And he said, “You mean to have an excuse for my heart beating so fast? Yeah, okay.” And I was like, “To have an excuse for my heart beating so fast? Wow, what a way to say it.” He made it real; it was funny, but he made it real. I’ve always felt like I’ve enjoyed that rapport so much. Huffington Post
Anderson on being chums with Murray:
Well now, I have the luxury of being friends with him and being able to just send the scripts to him directly. But I think also, I can’t speak for him but I feel like he sort of made a choice to kind of to support me. I feel a bit like he’s family, so that’s how I kind of approach it. I think he’s just decided that he’s locked in. You can’t choose your crosses. Things like this just kind of happen. Deadline
Anderson on Murray being dependable:
He’s more or less the ideal person to have with you. He’s the best person in the world to have on your side in any circumstances I think, but a movie set in particular. There are not that many people you can turn to to calm an angry mob. He can do that. If you needed him to do that for you, he could do that. He can just get people together. He’s somebody if you said, “There are 50,000 people out there and we need somebody to speak to them,” he could probably come up with a few words and handle it pretty swiftly. Slate