Wes Anderson Stands by Bill Murray Amid Misconduct Claims: ‘He Is Really Part of My Family’

Wes Anderson is standing by Bill Murray amid sexual misconduct claims against the actor.

After numerous harassment accusations and a formal complaint on the “Being Mortal” set, Murray chalked up his behavior to the changing state of comedy in the current culture. He added that he is hoping to “make peace with it.”

“Asteroid City” filmmaker and frequent Murray collaborator Anderson told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn that the allegations against Murray will in no way impact their working relationship.

“My experience with Bill is so extensive. Bill was such a great supporter of me from the very beginning,” Anderson said. “I don’t want to speak about somebody else’s experience, but he’s really part of my family. You know, he’s my daughter’s godfather. In fact, he actually baptized her. He’s the one who splashed the water.”

They have worked together on films including “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and more. He is not in Anderson’s new film “Asteroid City,” out June 16.

Anderson continued, “Bill was supposed to be in the movie [‘Asteroid City’]. It’s not a great thing to say, ‘Well this person was supposed to play this part.’ Once someone gets a part, you’re supposed to say, ‘Well, this is their part.’ But in this case, because there was some confusion about what happened with Bill. He was supposed to play the motel manager who Steve Carell plays, and Bill got COVID four days before he was supposed to start shooting. He was in Ireland and in the case of our movie, we had schedules of so many people that are all puzzled around. The people who Bill was supposed to play scenes with were going to be gone by the time he cleared the COVID protocols and stuff. And in fact, he was quite sick. So Bill missed his part and Steve Carell came in quite suddenly. He was great, I loved having him. I met him, he arrived, and we were immediately shooting.”

The “Rushmore” director added, “Then when Bill got better, he came to Spain. At the end of the movie [where ‘Asteroid’ shot], we finished the movie, and Bill and I got in a car and drove to France. It was a great way to finish but it was the first time I hadn’t had him in a movie in a long time.”

Murray has starred in nine of Anderson’s films and had the lead role in “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.”

Anderson credited his decades-long personal relationships with actors like Murray for giving his films a distinct flavor.

“You know, the people I work with — Owen [Wilson], Bill, and Jason [Schwartzman] — these are people I have such a long thing with that when I don’t have them, gosh, I feel they’re missing,” Anderson said. “But at the same time, it’s probably not the worst thing in the world. I always love having new people. It just expands the whole range of it. You know, we have other movies.”

Anderson’s upcoming films include Roald Dahl adaptation “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” starring Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley and Richard Ayoade; the film is set to debut on Netflix in Fall 2023. The director additionally confirmed to IndieWire that an unnamed film starring Michael Cera will begin shooting later this year. Jeff Goldblum and Benicio Del Toro are rumored to also be cast; Goldblum appeared in “Asteroid City” and Del Toro worked with Anderson on “The French Dispatch.”

Eric Kohn contributed reporting.

Stay tuned for IndieWire’s full interview with Wes Anderson later this week.

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