December 20, 2004


Into the deep (CINDY PEARLMAN, December 20, 2004, Chicago Sun-Times)

The life dramatic with Bill Murray came to a turning point a few years ago, when the Chicago native and comedy icon decided that he didn't care about being a movie star anymore.

"I don't like feeling the pressure of having to be the biggest star in the world," Murray says. "I don't want to get stuck feeling desperate. I don't want to be that actor guy in a bar drinking and saying, 'When the hell am I gonna get another movie?' "

The man who often shies away from interviews speaks from the heart on a cold winter morning in the Big Apple.

"I've had a great run," he says. "And I've been taking these jobs where I don't necessarily get paid a lot of money, but I work with people who are good, and I do what I want to do."

Dressed in gray sweats for breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park, Murray smiles slyly. "I also figured that maybe one of these smaller movies would hit one day and I'd get whatever I need in terms of being noticed."

He certainly got his wish last year with "Lost in Translation," which earned him a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination.

Interesting that Mr. Murray, with a reputation as little more than a goofy cut-up, stars in one of the best movies in recent years, Groundhog Day, and in the most emotionally affecting scene in film history, when he takes Scarlett Johansson's foot.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2004 10:58 AM

It's striking how many brilliant goofball comedic actors (Murray, Hanks, Carrey) really want to do drama. I think it says something about the source and message of their comedy, but I'm not 100% sure what it's telling us...

Posted by: Mike Earl at December 20, 2004 11:05 AM


That life is a comedy (as conservatives believe), not a tragedy (as liberals believe).

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2004 11:10 AM

Most actors will tell you that comedy is much harder than drama. So it makes sense that a really good comedic actor like Murray/Hanks/Carrey can step into dramatic roles easily.

Murray is very good in "Rushmore", too, which I found very entertaining. He's just one of those people that everybody wants to watch whenever he's on screen.

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at December 20, 2004 1:07 PM

Not to pick a nit, but he was born on the North Shore, not Chicago.

Posted by: Rick T. at December 20, 2004 1:43 PM

Adam Sandler and/or his agent appear to be using the Bill Murray playbook to chart his career, going from gooball roles to semi-serious ones after a few years. As of now, though i'm not sure if he has the self-retraint to come up with an effort like "Groundhog Day" (his "50 First Dates" this past summer with Drew Barrymore was a less successful effort to copy the same basic plot).

Posted by: John at December 20, 2004 3:54 PM


Punch Drunk Love required as much.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2004 4:24 PM

catch up with the highly underrated What About Bob, which he is as good as he is in Groundhog and Rushmore.

Would you all say Murray and Carrey are the best there is right now.

Posted by: neil at December 20, 2004 6:13 PM

Don Cheadle.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2004 8:09 PM

Sandler, unlike Murray, is talented and apparently likeable. Murray, who has made a career out of being an arrogant jerk without even the merest scintilla of justification, is an arrogant jerk without the merest scintilla of justification. Meatballs, Stripes, Groundhog Day, his SNL role, his golf course act, his treatment of fans all are of a piece.

Compared to him, Bobcat Goldthwait is Eddie Murphy. He has nothing in common with Jim Carrey, outside of bipedalism.

Posted by: Bart at December 21, 2004 8:25 AM

He's Peter Venkman.

He can do whatever the heck he wants.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at December 21, 2004 10:14 AM