Film star, comedian and all-round legend Bill Murray braved Reddit yesterday, inviting fans to ask him anything.
What followed was a charming, thoughtful, fascinating and predictably surreal chat that covered everything from new movie The Monuments Men to his frequent collaborations with Wes Anderson, his involvement in the Garfield movies and his strangest fan experiences.
Basically, we officially want Bill Murray to be our best friend.
[Bill Murray's finest films]
Here are the best bits...
If you could go back in time and have a conversation with one person, who would it be and why?
I kind of like scientists, in a funny way. Albert Einstein was a pretty cool guy. The thing about Einstein was that he was a theoretical physicist, so they were all theories. He was just a smart guy. I'm kind of interested in genetics though. I think I would have liked to have met Gregor Mendel. Because he was a monk who just sort of figured this stuff out on his own. That's a higher mind, that's a mind that's connected. They have a vision, and they just sort of see it because they are so connected intellectually and mechanically and spiritually, they can access a higher mind.
What movie was the most fun to act in?
Well, I did a film with Jim Jarmusch called Broken Flowers, but I really enjoyed that movie. I enjoyed the script that he wrote. He asked me if I could do a movie, and I said "I gotta stay home, but if you make a movie that I could shoot within one hour of my house, I'll do it." So he found those locations. And I did the movie. And when it was done, I thought "this movie is so good, I thought I should stop." I didn't think I could do any better than Broken Flowers, it's a film that is completely realised, and beautiful, and I thought I had done all I could do to it as an actor. And then 6-7 months later someone asked me to work again, so I worked again, but for a few months I thought I couldn't do any better than that.
What was the oddest experience you had in Japan?
The oddest… well, I was eating at a sushi bar. I would go to sushi bars with a book I had called "Making out in Japanese." it was a small paperback book, with questions like "can we get into the back seat?" "do your parents know about me?" "do you have a curfew?" And I would say to the sushi chef "Do you have a curfew? Do your parents know about us? And can we get into the back seat?" And I would always have a lot of fun with that.
What was it like filming the same scenes over, and over, and over in Groundhog Day?
Well, that part was fine, the filming of the scenes over and over because you know that's what the story is. The scripts is one of the greatest conceptual scripts I've ever seen. It's a script that was so unique, so original, and yet it got no acclaim. To me it was no question that it was the greatest script of the year. To this day people are talking about it, but they forget no one paid any attention to it at the time. But doing the movie, shooting the scenes over and over, it's like an acting challenge. It's like doing a play and those same scenes over and over and again, so you can try to make it better or deeper or funnier than you made it previously.
Why you always go back to work with Wes Anderson? You're a great pairing but what made you both click?
I really love the way Wes writes with his collaborators, I like the way he shoots, and I like HIM. I've become so fond of him. I love the way that he has made his art his life. And you know, it's a lesson to all of us, to take what you love and make it the way you live your life, and that way you bring love into the world.
Will there be a Garfield 3?
I don't think so. I had a hilarious experience with Garfield. I only read a few pages of it, and I kind of wanted to do a cartoon movie, because I had looked at the screenplay and it said "Joel Cohen" on it. And I wasn't thinking clearly, but it was spelled Cohen, not Coen. I love the Coen brothers movies. I think that Joel Coen is a wonderful comedic mind. So I didn't really bother to finish the script, I thought "he's great, I'll do it"… The girl, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, she was sweet. In the second movie they dressed her like a homeless person. You knew it wasn't gonna go well.
What was the most interesting thing that you learned while filming The Monuments Men?
Well probably the most horrifying thing was that there was something called Nero Edict that was distributed by the Fuhrer, Hitler, which said that if the Reich should fall, or if Hitler was killed or taken, that all the art that was stolen should be destroyed. And a fair amount of the art was burned, things were burned that will never be returned, a lot was burned even before the Nero Edict because of the modern art, that was degenerate. In the hunt for the art, they found hidden in the salt mines where the art was hidden, they found the ENTIRE gold supply of Germany. ENTIRE. Like they had moved their gold, their Fort Knox, into a mine, and this small group of guys searching for art in a mine, found the gold supply of Germany. And this effectively ended the war because once we announced we had all their gold, no country would sell them any more rubber, no country would sell them any more oil, no country would sell them any more anything.
The rumour is that you went up to someone that was eating french fries, and took a french fry and ate it and said: "No one will believe you." Did this really happen, or is it an urban legend?
Well I have no idea what you're talking about.
What is one of your best memories of meeting a fan?
The best experience with a fan? It happens sometimes where someone will say "I was going through a really hard time. I was going through a really hard time, and I was just morose or depressed." And I met one person who said "I couldn't find anything to cheer me up and I was so sad. And I Just watched Caddyshack, and I watched it for about a week and it was the only thing that cheered me up and made me laugh and made me think that my life wasn't hopeless". And I happen to know (from her own spirit) that that person has really triumphed as an artist and as a human being, and if it's just a moment when you can reverse a movement, an emotion, a downward spiral, when you can quiet something or still something and just allow it to change and allow the real spirit rise up in someone, that feels great. I know I'm not saving the world, but something in what I've learned how to do or the stories that I've tried to tell, they're some sort of representation of how life is or how life could be. And that gives some sort of optimism. And an optimistic attitude is a successful attitude.
What did you whisper in Scarlett Johansson's ear at the end of Lost In Translation?
You know? I forget.
Do you like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches?
No, I like pickles, I put pickles in lots of sandwiches. I'm big on pickles, but I've never had them with peanut butter. I really like peanut butter though. I'm kind of surprised because I like them both so much that I haven't combined them.
What is it like being so awesome?
Well, nothing prepared me for being this awesome. It's kind of a shock. It's kind of a shock to wake up every morning and be bathed in this purple light.
The Monuments Men hits cinemas on 21 February, 2014.