CANDID INTERVIEW WITH BILL MURRAY

FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Frankly, I’m very surprised not only by the tone of this interview but that it took place at all. BILL is not known for his openness with the press and it’s almost shocking that he decided to discuss these situations now with all of this personal upheaval going on.

But we adore BILL at CINEMATIC PASSIONS. We send him our best wishes and hope that things sort themselves out rapidly and in his favour.

We love you, BILLY…

The deadpan and depressed characters that BILL MURRAY has specialized in portraying as an actor in recent years have always stood out in contrast to the life of the party guy that he is in reality.

But BILL said he identified anew with those fictional people – like the dour HERMAN BLUME in RUSHMORE – when his wife of nearly 11 years filed for divorce in May. In the papers filed by JENNIFER BUTLER, she alleged that BILL had abused her and that he was addicted to alcohol and marijuana.

“That was devastating,” he said. “It was the worst thing that ever happened to me in my entire life.”

Though the freshness of such a wound would keep many Hollywood stars far away from the press, BILL MURRAY came to New York from his home upstate to publicize his new flm CITY OF EMBER. It’s opening tomorrow and it also stars TIM ROBBINS.

The movie was shot in Belfast before the divorce, which was made final in June. The months since have been vividly depressing for BILL. The court has decided that the four children involved will live with their mother while BILL has visitation rights and will pay child support.

In a forthright and emotional conversation, BILL MURRAY rarely struck a tone of bitterness about the break up. Instead, he spoke with watery azure eyes of a tremendously painful summer attempting to adjust to his new situation.

“I was just dead. Just broken,” he quietly remarked.

“When you’re really in love and this happens…I never had anything like this happen. It’s like your faith in people is destroyed because the person you trusted the most you can no longer trust at all. The person you knew isn’t there any more.”

He said his lowest point came a few weeks ago. When friends asked if he wanted to participate in an air show to support the ILLINOIS UNITED SERVICE ORGANIZATION (BILL is originally from Chicago), he accepted the skydiving invitation.

“They asked me on a day I didn’t care. I didn’t even care if there was a parachute. Of course, by the time I got there I had a few good days and I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ “

But BILL said he’s begun building himself back up. One of the first steps was coming out to discuss his new picture and even attend the premiere. “Which is a nuisance,” he claimed with characteristic deadpan.

“I’ve had a great deal of success in life. Not just money or fame or anything like that. I just feel like I’ve done well in many areas of my life. I’ve learned how to live and I’ve learned things about living. It’s almost like: OK. You learned that much. Now let’s try this. Let’s see what you can do if this happens to you.”

BILL is famously difficult to get in touch with for a film. He doesn’t have an agent or a publicist. In the past, filmmakers have had to leave messages on his voice mail. He checks it rather infrequently. He has joked that entire careers have been launched on the parts he’s turned down.

Two years ago, BILL considered himself mostly retired. People could consider him out of the game but he could nevertheless continue to work now and then.

Since the divorce, however, he’s rallying to dedicate himself more fully.

“I’ve just come out of the doldrums and I feel like I want to go. I want to work. I want to get going. I want to do a few things at once.”

Earlier this year, BILL shot his third film with JIM JARMUSCH, a thriller filmed in Spain titled THE LIMITS OF CONTROL. He also worked again with WES ANDERSON doing a voice for THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX.

His CITY OF EMBER costar TIM ROBBINS, (who directed him in his 1999 film CRADLE WILL ROCK), recently asked him to be in his latest project.

Said BILL: “I’ll throw in.”

The writers of THE OFFICE have been hired to pen a GHOSTBUSTERS III. BILL feels it could offer a substantially fresh take on the films. He found the second one incredibly disappointing over all.

“If I could get through this in a powerful way, I feel that I have even more potential to do something. I think I’d be working on a higher level. It’d be great to achieve, to do the art that I thought I was always capable of – something that really affects people and grabs them and makes them feel and become alive.”

“I’ve tried to lighten it for people. I know how hard it is. There’s a lot of good will for what I’ve done and I didn’t really appreciate it so much before. I really appreciate it now.”

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