Wes Anderson told IndieWire ahead of “Asteroid City” opening in theaters that Bill Murray is his family and their working relationship will not be affected by various misconduct claims made against the actor, who has starred in a total of nine Anderson movies over the years.
“My experience with Bill is so extensive,” Anderson said. “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.”
Anderson said reports of Murray’s inappropriate behavior will not impact their working relationship. Murray helped launch Anderson into the mainstream with his role in “Rushmore,” and he was the title character in “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” He’s had supporting roles in “The Darjeeling Limited,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and more. Murray was originally set to star in “Asteroid City” but had to drop out of the production. The actor’s exit had nothing to do with the accusations against him.
“There was some confusion about what happened with Bill,” Anderson said. “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.”
Anderson 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.”
Searchlight Pictures stopped production on Aziz Ansari’s feature directorial debut “Being Mortal” last April over complaints about Murray’s inappropriate behavior on set. Murray addressed the incident in an interview later that month.
“I had a difference of opinion with a woman I’m working with. I did something I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way,” Murray said. “The movie studio wanted to do the right thing, so they wanted to check it all out and investigate it and so they stopped the production.”
“As of now we’re talking and we’re trying to make peace with each other,” Murray said about the person he offended. “We’re both professionals. We like each other’s work — we like each other, I think. If we can’t get along and trust each other, there’s no point in going further working together or making a movie… It’s been quite an education for me.”
The film never restarted production. Last fall, Geena Davis came forward to share her own history of dealing with Murray’s behavior on set. Davis said Murray harassed her during the making of their 1990 crime comedy “Quick Change” by trying to use a massage device on her in a hotel room and then later berating her on set. Lucy Liu revealed on a 2021 episode of the Los Angeles Times’ “Asian Enough” podcast that Murray made “unacceptable” and “inexcusable” insults to her on the set of “Charlie’s Angels.”