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Bill Murray Addresses the Reports of ‘Inappropriate Behavior’ on Set

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for RFF

Deadline reported on Thursday, April 21, that a complaint has been filed against actor Bill Murray for “inappropriate behavior” on the set of Being Mortal, a Searchlight film helmed by Aziz Ansari. Production on the movie was suspended on Wednesday after a letter sent to the cast and crew said that Searchlight was “made aware of a complaint” and “decided that production cannot continue at this time.”

A week after it was reported, Murray confirmed that a complaint had been filed against him, implying that he had made a joke that was not received well on set. “I had a difference of opinion with a woman I’m working with,” he told CNBC on Saturday, April 30, speaking from Warren Buffett’s annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting. “I did something I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way.” The veteran actor declined to say what, exactly, this supposedly “funny” thing he did was. He went on to say that the studio “wanted to do the right thing. They wanted to check it out and investigate it and so they stopped the production.”

Murray went on to say that he and the unnamed female colleague were in touch and “we’re trying to make peace with each other.” He continued, “I think that’s where the real issue is. We’re both professionals, we like each other’s work. We like each other.” If they can’t resolve their issues, he said, “there’s no point in going further working together or making a movie as well.” However, he seemed hopeful that production would resume on the project, adding, “I think we’re going to make peace with it. I’m very optimistic about that. You have to be.”

The actor now told CNBC that this new complaint had been “quite an education for me.” He said that he’d been thinking about it for the past few weeks and had come to a new conclusion. “If I don’t see that, you know, the world’s different than it was when I was a little kid. You know, what I always thought was funny as a little kid isn’t necessarily the same as what’s funny now. Things change and the times change, so it’s important for me to figure it out.”

This isn’t the first time Murray has been accused of behaving inappropriately on the set of a movie. He has had several public feuds with his colleagues, including producer Laura Ziskin, who worked with Murray on 1991’s What About Bob? and said that he broke her sunglasses and threatened to toss her into a lake during filming. Richard Dreyfuss recalled Murray throwing an ashtray at him on the same set. The daughter of Groundhog Day director Harold Ramis wrote in her memoir that Murray grabbed Ramis’s collar and threw him against a wall during an argument they had on the 1993 film’s set. Charlie’s Angels director McG claims that Murray once headbutted him during production (Murray denies this), and he had a rumored verbal altercation with Lucy Liu while filming. Liu gave her own account of the incident last year, saying on a podcast that Murray started to “hurl insults” at her, using what she called “inexcusable and unacceptable” language. She said in the same interview that she and Murray have since reconciled and that she has “nothing against Bill Murray at all.” Of the altercation with Liu, Murray told the Times of London in 2009, “Look, I will dismiss you completely if you are unprofessional and working with me.”

Not much more is known about the specifics of the complaint, but per Deadline it does not involve Ansari, who was the subject of a viral 2018 article describing a questionably consensual sexual encounter its author had with him. (Ansari, who maintained that her account of the night was true but that he had understood the situation differently and apologized when she told him how she felt, has since released two Netflix stand-up specials and a third season of his show, Master of None.) Ansari wrote the Being Mortal script adaptation from Atul Gawande’s nonfiction book, and the film will be his directorial debut, starring himself and Seth Rogen, who is reportedly not mentioned in the complaint either.

The Cut has reached out to Murray’s reps for comment and will update when we hear back.

Bill Murray Addresses Reports of ‘Inappropriate Behavior’