Bill Murray Drops Out of Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City

Credit: David A. Grogan | CNBC

Unfortunately, the tenth time won’t be the charm for Bill Murray and Wes Anderson.

The Academy Award-nominated actor was originally scheduled to star in Wes Anderson’s upcoming film, Asteroid City, which includes an all-star cast such as Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Bryan Cranston, Jeffrey Wright, Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Margot Robbie, Tom Hanks, Rupert Friend, Liev Schreiber, and Matt Dillion. However, Variety is reporting that the veteran actor has backed out of the film, with the reasoning being that Murray contracted COVID-19. The Office star, Steve Carrell, replaced Murray. Thus far, the exact detail of the feature remains unknown, nor does the extent of Murray’s role. The actor has been tied to Anderson for most of his storied career, with Murray notably working on Rushmore, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and recently, The French Dispatch.

It’s been somewhat of a notable year for Murray as the actor’s recent film, Being Mortal, halted production in April due to claims of inappropriate behavior. The 71-year-old addressed the rumors in an interview with CNBC, stating that it may have been a misunderstanding between him and his co-star, “I did something I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way,” Murray said. “The movie studio wanted to do the right thing, so they wanted to check it all out, investigate it and so they stopped the production.”

Credit: Apple TV+

Murray continued to express hope that the feature would resume and that his co-star is comfortable working with him again, “I think it’s a sad dog that can’t learn anymore,” in regard to him growing from his mistakes. “That’s a really sad puppy that can’t learn anymore. I don’t want to be that sad dog and I have no intention of it. What would make me the happiest would be to put my boots on and for both of us to go back to work and be able to trust each other and work at the work that we’ve both spent a lot of time developing the skill of,” Murray said.

According to Page Six, the reasoning behind the indefinite shutdown was due to the fact that Bill Murray was being very touchy with several of his female co-stars. The article makes it clear that it wasn’t in personal areas, such as putting his arm around a woman or touching their hair in a comedic way was noted as examples, but the report does state that the women did feel uncomfortable, “It is a fine line and everybody loves Bill, but while his conduct is not illegal, some women felt uncomfortable, and he crossed a line.”

Billy Murray doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to onset behavior. One of the most notable was a reported altercation between Lucy Liu and Murray on the set of Charlie’s Angels, in which the actress revealed during her Asian Enough podcast, “I couldn’t believe that [his comments] could be towards me, because what do I have to do with anything majorly important at that time? I literally do the look around my shoulder thing, like, “Who is he talking to behind me?”

Credit: Chris Pizzello

“As we’re doing the scene, Bill starts to sort of hurl insults, and I won’t get into the specifics,” Liu alleged on the podcast, “but it kept going on and on. I was, like, ‘Wow, he seems like he’s looking straight at me.” Murray responded and the two seemed to make peace, though it’s doubtful that Liu and Murray consider themselves friends. The latest was Ben Dreyfuss, the son of Richard Dreyfuss, claiming that the Walt Disney Co. had to hire bodyguards to separate his father and Murray in between takes of the comedy, What About Bob? Richard himself had less than pleasant things to say about the Academy Award nominee, notably stating that he was an “Irish drunken bully” during his 2019 Role Recall Interview.

Being Mortal is the first feature directed by the Emmy winner, which also stars Keke Palmer and Seth Rogen. The film is an adaptation of Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. The film was halfway done before the production was halted. There’s no word on how long the investigation will take, but the feature is slated for 2023. In terms of Wes Anderson’s upcoming film, there is no connection between the two as some have speculated. Murray’s reputation isn’t all that bad as Sigourney Weaver credited the actor for learning how to do comedy and Emma Stone recalled her pleasant experience with Murray during the filming of Aloha, with the veteran cheering her up and buying gifts amongst other things.

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