Wes Anderson Backs Bill Murray, Reveals Asteroid City Exit

Wes Anderson, the acclaimed director of quirky and whimsical films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Fantastic Mr. Fox, has spoken out in support of his longtime collaborator and friend Bill Murray, who has faced several misconduct allegations in recent months. Anderson also explained why Murray was absent from his latest film, Asteroid City, which opened in theaters last week.

Wes Anderson and Bill Murray smiling at the Cannes Film Festival

Murray, who has starred in nine of Anderson’s 11 feature films, was originally cast as a motel manager in Asteroid City, a sci-fi comedy set in a futuristic metropolis. However, he had to drop out of the project four days before shooting due to contracting Covid-19.

A poster of Asteroid City with Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Benicio Del Toro, and Steve Carell

He was replaced by Steve Carell, who joined the ensemble cast that includes Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, and Benicio Del Toro.

Bill Murray and Aziz Ansari in a car scene from Being Mortal

Anderson told IndieWire that Murray’s exit had nothing to do with the accusations against him, which include straddling and kissing a female crew member without consent on the set of Aziz Ansari’s Being Mortal, a film that Murray was co-starring in. Murray reportedly paid $100,000 to settle the complaint, while claiming that he was being “jestful” and that he had a “difference of opinion” with the woman.

Bill Murray and Wes Anderson on the set of The Grand Budapest Hotel

Anderson said that he did not want to speak about someone else’s experience, but that Murray was “really part of my family”. He revealed that Murray was his daughter’s godfather and that he even baptized her. He also said that Murray visited him in Spain after recovering from Covid-19 and that they drove to France together when the shoot finished.

“My experience with Bill is so extensive,” Anderson said. “Bill was such a great supporter of me from the very beginning. 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 that he did not think that the allegations would affect their working relationship, which began with Rushmore in 1998 and continued with films such as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, and The French Dispatch.

“He’s been there for me from day one,” Anderson said. “He’s always been supportive and generous and funny and kind. He’s a great actor and a great friend. I hope we can work together again soon.”

Asteroid City has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, who praised its stunning visuals, witty dialogue, and eccentric characters. The film is a tribute to the sci-fi genre of the 1950s, with references to classic films such as Forbidden Planet, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The film follows a group of strangers who find themselves trapped in a motel on the outskirts of Asteroid City, a sprawling metropolis built on an asteroid orbiting Earth. As they try to escape from mysterious threats and uncover the secrets of the city, they discover that they are not who they seem to be.

Asteroid City is a testament to Anderson’s unique vision and style, which has earned him a loyal fan base and multiple Oscar nominations over the years. It is also a reminder of his ability to create memorable roles for his actors, especially for Murray, who has delivered some of his best performances under Anderson’s direction.

Despite the controversy surrounding Murray, Anderson remains optimistic about their future collaborations and their friendship.

“I’m glad he’s doing well now,” Anderson said. “He’s a wonderful person and I’m lucky to have him in my life.”

FAQs Answered:-

What are some other films by Wes Anderson?

Wes Anderson is a prolific filmmaker who has directed 11 feature films and several short films, commercials, and promotions. His films are known for their distinctive visual style, quirky humor, eccentric characters, and nostalgic themes. Some of his most popular and acclaimed films are:

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): A comedy-drama that follows the adventures of a legendary concierge and his loyal lobby boy at a famous hotel in a fictional European country between the two world wars. The film won four Oscars and was nominated for nine, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): A stop-motion animated film based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl, about a clever fox who must outwit three farmers who are determined to catch him and his family. The film features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, and others.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012): A romantic comedy-drama that tells the story of two 12-year-old lovers who run away from their homes on a New England island in 1965, sparking a search by their families and the local authorities. The film stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, and others.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001): A comedy-drama that explores the dysfunctional lives of a family of former child prodigies who reunite with their estranged father after he announces that he is dying. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, and others.

Other films by Wes Anderson include Bottle Rocket (1996), Rushmore (1998), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Isle of Dogs (2018), The French Dispatch (2021), and Asteroid City (2023).

How did Bill Murray become an actor?

Bill Murray is one of the most iconic and versatile actors in Hollywood, who has starred in comedies, dramas, action films, and animation. He is also known for his improvisational skills, deadpan delivery, and unpredictable behavior. He started his career as a comedian and a cast member of Saturday Night Live in the late 1970s, where he gained popularity for his impressions of celebrities such as John Belushi, Richard Nixon, and Elvis Presley.

He made his film debut in Meatballs (1979), a summer camp comedy that was a surprise hit. He then collaborated with director Ivan Reitman and fellow SNL alumni Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis on several successful comedies, such as Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), and Groundhog Day (1993). He also worked with director Wes Anderson on nine of his films, starting with Rushmore (1998) and continuing with The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Isle of Dogs (2018), The French Dispatch (2021), and Asteroid City (2023).

Murray has also shown his dramatic range in films such as Lost in Translation (2003), for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor; Broken Flowers (2005), for which he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical; Hyde Park on Hudson (2012), for which he played President Franklin D. Roosevelt; St. Vincent (2014), for which he played a grumpy war veteran; and On the Rocks (2020), for which he played a charming but irresponsible father.

Murray has also appeared in cameo roles in films such as Zombieland (2009), Get Smart (2008), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Space Jam (1996), Charlie’s Angels (2000), Kingpin (1996), Dumb and Dumber To (2014), and The Jungle Book (2016). He has also lent his voice to animated films such as Garfield: The Movie (2004), Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006), The Jungle Book (2016), Sing (2016), Sing 2 (2021), and Being Mortal (2022).

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