If you look up the word enigma in any dictionary, they all have a picture of Bill Murray crashing a bachelorette party. The star of Stripes and Lost in Translation is a mystery, not constrained by the social norms that keep the rest of society running smoothly. Take a man like that and make him a movie star, and you’ll get some even weirder stories out of him, like how in 2000 Murray replaced his team of agents with a toll free 1-800 number.
Yes that’s right, any director or producer who hoped to get Murray involved in their project over the last fifteen years has had to go through the rigamarole of calling his automated 1-800 number and leaving a message for him. If they’re lucky enough to get a response and the Garfield star is interested in the role, they then have to fax the script to his local office supply store so he can pick it up at a time of his convenience. If literally anyone other than Bill Murray was doing this, they’d be a total asshole, but it’s Bill Murray, so it’s entirely hilarious.
Author Robert Schnakenberg has just released a book titled The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray, which reveals some of the roles that Murray lost out on as a result of his switch from human representation to a voicemail agent. According to Schnakenberg, Murray missed a chance to star in Iron Man, and Bad Santa, Monsters Inc., because of his lack of reachability.
Getting in touch with Murray while he still had an agent wasn’t any easier. Producers also sought him for The People Vs. Larry Flint and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but he never returned their calls. He also was unavailable to co-star in Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket because he was in the midst of a cross country Winnebago road trip, but he enjoyed the film so much that he made himself available for Rushmore.
Murray also passed up on Shrek because it took too long to make, as well as Boogie Nights, Forrest Gump, and Toy Story.
Here’s the full list of movies passed on by Murray according to Schnakenberg (via National Post).
The People Vs. Larry Flint
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
The Squid and the Whale
About Last Night
The Dead Zone
Untitled Clint Eastwood World War II comedy
The Witches of Eastwick
Lost in America
Alvin and the Chipmunks