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12 interesting facts about Bill Murray’s films you might not know (12 Photos)
We’re headed to St. Augustine to join Bill for his annual
Caddyshack Charity Golf Tournament this friday. Let’s look back at some little-known facts about Bill’s career…
Meatballs was Bill Murray’s first movie. He was a standout on SNL but nobody knew if he had the chops for movie stardom. Meatballs would begin to create a couple of the now-famous Murray legends.
First, Bill Murray actually never signed on to the movie Meatballs. He never had an agent or manager, and he still doesn’t today. You track down Bill on the phone, or his friend’s answering machine, and forge a type of ‘gentleman’s agreement’. Then you cross your fingers that he shows up. In the case of
Meatballs, nobody knew if he’d show up or not. Bill arrived on the first day of filming with an entire wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts (all of which he owned). These shirts would become his wardrobe for the entire movie.
Meatballs was a hit. Turns out Bill had what it takes to be a star. Stripes would follow, then Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters. In just 4 years Bill would be one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
Murray agreed to do
Stripes just two weeks before shooting began and showed up on the third day of shooting; Reitman said, “We were just hoping he’d show up. At the time (Bill) was following a baseball team around the country.” Ivan Reitman calls Bill, “The funniest white boy in America.” The entire film was largely improvised.
The famous scene in
Caddyshack that begins when Ty Webb’s golf ball crashes into Carl Spackler’s ramshackle house was not in the original script. It was added by director Harold Ramis after realizing that two of his biggest stars, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray (who did not get along due to a feud dating back to their days on Saturday Night Live, did not have a scene together. The three met for lunch, wrote the scene together, then shot it on the fly that afternoon. Although it has nothing to do with the plot, it is widely regarded as the funniest scene in the movie. This is the only time that Chase and Murray have appeared in a movie together.
During filming of
Ghostbusters, director Ivan Reitman always thought Bill was funnier when he was genuinely agitated. So the props department weighted Bill’s proton pack down. Bill’s pack was 40 lbs. heavier than his co-stars’. Nobody ever told Bill and they used to make him wear it all the time.
When the Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane) grabbed Bill Murray’s lip in
Scrooged she tore it so badly that filming had to be halted for several days. Everybody was worried what Bill’s reaction would be. He thought it was great that she committed to the scene that much. No hard feelings.
Groundhog Day was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois. In Woodstock, there’s a small plaque that reads “Bill Murray Stepped Here” on the curb where Bill continually steps in the puddle.
According to director Harold Ramis, when he was attempting to explain the scenes to Bill Murray, Murray would often interrupt and ask, “Just tell me – good Phil or Bad Phil?”
The role of Bob Wiley in
What About Bob? was supposed to go to Robin Williams. At the time filming was to begin for the movie, Williams had barely finished filming The Fisher King and was forced to turn down the role.
Bill loved doing his Carl Spackler impression in
Zombieland’s end credit footage. “It was like putting on an old coat and finding a couple hundred dollars in it.”
Sofia Coppola wrote the lead role in
Lost in Translation specifically for Bill Murray. She later admitted that if Murray turned it down, she would have never made the film. To this day, Bill claims that Lost in Translation was his favorite film.
Bill Murray paid for the helicopter scene in Rushmore. How the helicopter scene in Max’s Vietnam War-themed play cost $25,000, I have no idea, but it did and Disney didn’t want to front the cost for it. Bill knew it was important to the script. Being the awesome human being that he is, Murray wrote Anderson a check to cover the costs. This story gets even more awesome when you find out Bill Murray was only paid $9,000 for doing the entire film. Bill basically paid $16,000 to be in the film.