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Lost In Transgression: Bill Murray Loses Out On Major Roles Due To Elusive Nature

“Lost in Translation” star proves to be hard to get a hold of, to the chagrin of many directors.

Tight-lipped: the Oscar-nominated actor is a tough man to contact, with no agent or manager // image source: Nigel Parry for Esquire

Lost In Transgression -Bafta-winning actor Bill Murray’s use of a private phone number not only makes him a hard man to get hold of, but has also lost him some major roles – – much to the chagrin of the directors clambering over one another to work with the legendary comic performer.

In a recent Indie Wire interview, promoting Jim Jarmusch’s “zomedy” The Dead Don’t Die, Bill Murray explained that he would receive incessant cold calls from producers and agents trying to pull him in to their projects. “Finally, I’d pick up the phone,” Murrays says, “and I’d say, ‘Who in the fuck is calling me and letting my phone ring like that?’ The agent would say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I’m calling for so-and-so.’”

This led to his investment in a secret phone line whose number is only passed around through word-of-mouth, making him a particularly hard man to find. Ted Melfi, director of 2014’s “St. Vincent” – a film for which Bill Murray’s leading role, opposite fellow Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, received widespread praise – reminisces that he spent months leaving voicemail messages before securing the actor’s commitment.

Burning bridges: Murray’s inaccessibility reportedly cost him a role in Iron Man, some proposing it was Obadiah Stane, who was portrayed by Jeff Bridges in the 2008 blockbuster // image source: still from Iron Man (2008, dir. Jon Favreau), published by

Bill Murray

But Bill Murray doesn’t need to be especially prompt in responding to jobs at this late stage of his career. He is a set-in-stone legend. As he says himself, “It’s not like at 11 o’clock it’s time to check the messages. Sometimes I go days or weeks. Sorry I’m busy living.”

“I’m not trying to work for anyone,” he tells IndieWire. “So now I barely maintain that facade anymore. I don’t really do much of anything for this. I don’t even know how anybody reaches me anymore.”

bill Murray
Japanese whispers: For an actor whose most memorable role culminates in a mysterious verbal exchange with Scarlett Johansson, it seems appropriate that Murray should be so secretive // image source: still from Lost in Translation (2003, dir. Sofia Coppola), published by IndieWire

For this reason, he likes to works with his friends and previously established collaborators: it makes it much easier for Bill Murray to know what he’s in for, rather than be fooled over by an upstart producer or director merely after some prestige name recognition at the head of their projects.

Bill Murray is due to again work with “Lost in Translation” director Sofia Coppola in her upcoming release “On the Rocks,” which features her first woman of colour in a leading role; and Murray is once more pairing up with longtime collaborator Wes Anderson in his new project, “The French Diplomat.” So you can be sure that the former Ghostbuster isn’t planning on disappearing from any screens any time soon.

Related Also: 5 Reasons Why Bill Murray Is Such A Legend

But if you’re still in need of another hit of some hot Murray action, check out our piece on why the “Scrooged” actor is a god among men (and how he got away with stealing some guy’s chips)…

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