Bill Murray and Wes Anderson have a friendship and collaboration that spans over 20 years, but that doesn’t mean the actor is all caught up on everything the director has made. Anderson has directed 10 feature films to date, including the upcoming “The French Dispatch,” and nine of those movies have featured Murray in some capacity. Only Anderson’s 25-year-old feature directorial debut “Bottle Rocket” lacks Murray’s presence, and Murray has still not seen it as of April 2021.
“I kept getting these notes from my agent, who kept sending me cassettes of his first film, ‘Bottle Rocket,'” Murray recalled at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (via Collider) this month about how his relationship with Anderson started. “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.”
When the script for “Rushmore” arrived, Murray’s agent asked if he wanted to meet Anderson. “And I said, ‘That’s not necessary,'” the actor remembered. “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.”
Murray added, “I’ve been very fortunate to work with Wes on all of his other movies, except for that one I haven’t seen.”
“Rushmore” brought Anderson and Murray together for the first time and won the duo a pair of Indie Spirit Awards, Anderson for Best Director and Murray for Best Supporting Actor. Murray was also nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. Murray has gone on to appear in all eight of Anderson’s “Rushmore” follow-up projects, leading titles such as “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and appearing in supporting roles in the likes of “Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and more.
“He really makes movie-making an experience,” Murray said. “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 grist for the mill. … He really makes the making of movies an experience, and I love that. And every movie he makes just gets better and better and better.”
Murray stars in the upcoming “The French Dispatch,” which got delayed from its 2020 release because of the pandemic and currently remains undated by Searchlight Pictures. All signs point to the film world premiering at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.