When it comes to iconic actor-director pairings, people most commonly think about Robert De Niro-Martin Scorsese or Johnny Depp-Tim Burton. One pairing that has flown largely under the radar is Bill Murray and Wes Anderson. The actor has appeared in most of the filmmaker’s movies in either the lead or a supporting role. In a recent interview with Collider, Murray revealed that he was first told about a promising young director named Wes Anderson by his agent back in the nineties.
“I kept getting these notes from my agent, who kept sending me cassettes of his first film, [1996’s] Bottle Rocket. I probably have the largest collection of Bottle Rocket of any man on the planet, and I still haven’t seen the movie. I just never got around to watching it. Finally, they sent me the script of [1998’s] Rushmore and they said, “Would you like to meet this man?” And I said, “That’s not necessary.” They really wanted me to do it and they went, “What?!” I said, “He knows exactly what he wants to do.” When I read the script, I knew this was a guy who knew exactly what he was gonna do. They said, “Do you wanna meet him?” I said, “It’s not necessary. When do we shoot it?” It was like that. I’ve been very fortunate to work with Wes on all of his other movies, except for that one I haven’t seen.”
Before Wes Anderson came along, Murray was mostly known for his funnyman persona. While Anderson’s movies contain many comedic elements, they are more often meditations on life’s darker emotions and allowed Murray to stretch his dramatic skills in new and unexpected ways. According to the actor, working on Wes Anderson’s movies carries an old-fashioned, hands-on charm.
“At first, it was an afterthought, but we’ve become great friends. [Wes] really makes movie-making an experience. I used to envy those old-timers who went to Hawaii and shot Hurricane, and they had to stay in Hawaii for five and a half months for a good storm. That was living. That was really being a movie actor, back then. But Wes’ movies are similar. We go to a place, we take over a small place, and that’s all you do, is the movie. There’s nothing else, but making that movie and being with the people that are making that movie. All of your daily life is just more gris fogriste mill. It’s more that you can bring to the job when you shoot. He really makes the making of movies and experience, and I love that. And every movie he makes just gets better and better and better.”
Murray will next be seen in Anderson’s The French Dispatch, set to release this year. The actor will play the role of Arthur Howitzer Jr., the editor of The French Dispatch, a character that is said to be based on Harold Ross, the co-founder of the iconic American newspaper The New Yorker. This news comes from Collider.