In Matt Seitz’s new book “The Wes Anderson Collection,” the writer reveals some interesting facts about the filmmaker’s frequent starring actor, Bill Murray.
From “The Royal Tenenbaums” to “Moonrise Kingdom,” Murray has appeared in every single one of Wes Anderson’s films, with the exception of Anderson’s first film, “Bottle Rocket,” in 1996.
But taking a chance on starring in 1998’s “Rushmore” — Anderson’s second feature film ever — has paid off for Murray, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role.
Well, eventually it did at least. But it didn’t at first.
“He got a piece of the profits, but his day rate was Screen Actors Guild minimum,” Seitz explains to Vulture. “By Anderson’s estimate, Murray made about $US9,000 from acting in ‘Rushmore.'”
Seitz further explains that Disney didn’t want to pay for a helicopter shot for “Rushmore’s” “A Quick One While He’s Away” montage, so Murray wrote a check to cover the costs of a chopper rental.
“The helicopter shot ended up being cut from the film anyway, but Anderson still has Murray’s un-cashed check for $US25,000, $US16,000 more than he was paid for acting in the movie,” Seitz says in his new book.
When Anderson was asked about his relationship with Murray last year, the writer/director told HuffPost Entertainment:
“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.’ […] He made it real; it was funny, but he made it real. I’ve always felt like I’ve enjoyed that rapport so much.”
Murray, for his part, agrees, saying in a 1999 interview:
“I’ve liked most of the characters I’ve played, but writing-wise they weren’t all finished. I think ‘Rushmore’ is the first movie I’ve done in a while that’s completely whole. ‘Groundhog Day’ was another that was exceptionally well-written. With ‘Rushmore,’ it was great to be able to serve the story without waving a flag over my head, which you often have to do when you’re the lead and have to carry the film. So I enjoyed playing Blume because I really believe an actor’s job is to serve.”
But apparently Anderson is lucky he can even contact Murray to discuss projects.
According to Vanity Fair, the 63-year-old actor “relies on a mythical 1-800 phone number to screen projects. On the off chance that a filmmaker does manage to track down said number, convince Murray to take part in his/her project, and lure him to his/her set, the unpredictable comedian-actor can apparently be extremely supportive, even taking substantial pay cuts and offering up his own funds if he believes enough in a project.”
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