Bill Murray - An actor with a clear inner compass

From GQ Magazine: He is one of the greatest comic actors alive. A man who's navigated his career with a peerless instinct for quality and self-respect. The man behind movies—from Caddyshack to Stripes, from Rushmore to Lost in Translation—that seem to have defined a dozen different moments in our cultural life. But he is also a man beholden to no one, not the studios, not the audience, not even an agent. And as he sits down with Dan Fierman to discuss everything from the lameness of Ron Howard to the genius of Kung Fu Hustle, you can be pretty sure he's going to tell you exactly what he thinks.

When I arrived, he was standing alone in the corner of a New York hotel room, talking on a cell phone and wearing a ratty black polo, jeans, and yellow "tape measure" suspenders. I had been waiting for over an hour, which didn't seem like an unreasonable amount of time. Bill Murray famously does not give interviews—he's sat down for exactly four prolonged media encounters in the past ten years—and when he does, it's never clear what you're going to get. You just have to pray he's in a good mood.

The very thing that makes Bill Murray, well, Bill Murray is what makes sitting down with him such an unpredictable enterprise. Bill Murray crashes parties, ditches promotional appearances, clashes with his friends, his collaborators, and his enemies. If you—movie director, journalist, dentist—want to speak to him, you don't go through any gatekeeper. You leave a message on an 800 number. If Bill Murray wants to speak with you, he'll call you back. If his three and a half decades in the public sphere have taught us anything about the 59-year-old actor, it's that he simply does not give a good goddamn.

His career is known to most any fan of modern comedy: the years on SNL; the series of epochal comedies like Stripes, Groundhog Day, and Caddyshack. And his current artistic period, which could be described as Reclusive National Treasure. He lives in Rockland County, New York, emerging only to make movies for directors he's interested in: Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, Sofia Coppola. This summer he'll release a period indie called Get Low, in which he plays an undertaker throwing an early funeral for Robert Duvall. Today, Murray was in an expansive mood. Then, after he spoke about Ghostbusters 3, Barack Obama, and Garfield, he decided the interview was over and was gone. As best as I can tell, he was not fucking with me. But who knows? Bill Murray doesn't need you to be in on his joke. His life is all one performance-art piece—and he does everything for an audience of one.

Read the interview here.

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Actor, Bill Murray, Bravely Done, Movies

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