The allegation has paused production of his upcoming film, Being Mortal.
Production has been unceremoniously halted on the Searchlight film Being Mortal due to a complaint of “inappropriate behavior” by star Bill Murray, according to a report by Deadline. The film has Aziz Ansari on writing, co-directing, and co-starring credits, along with co-starring Seth Rogen, but The New York Times reports that the complaint only involved Murray. The incident that led to the complaint occurred last Friday, and production was suspended immediately. After an investigation by the studio, production was stopped altogether.
Cast and crew were informed of the decision via a letter obtained by the Times. “Late last week, we were made aware of a complaint, and we immediately looked into it. After reviewing the circumstances, it has been decided that production cannot continue at this time,” the statement read. “... Our hope is to resume production and are working with Aziz [Ansari] and Youree [Henley] to figure out that timing." The letter did not reveal details about the complaint.
The film is based on Atul Gawande’s nonfiction book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, which was also made into an Emmy-winning documentary in 2015. The film had begun production on March 28 and was halfway through filming, with a release date set for 2023. It is uncertain when and under what circumstances the film will now continue or be released.
Murray is a culturally beloved figure after decades as a charismatic star with a peculiar penchant for creating organic and unconventional interactions with fans. He’s been known to show up at frat parties and do dishes and haunt local hotspots when visiting cities. He has not had complaints that halt production of a film, but rumors have long swirled that the actor is notoriously hard to work with.
Most explicitly, Lucy Liu has been vocal about Murray’s treatment of her on the set of Charlie’s Angels. The actress has never gone into specifics but in an interview with the Los Angeles Times’ Asian Enough podcast, she remembered Murray “hurling insults” that “kept going on and on.” She continued, “I couldn’t believe that it could be towards me, because what do I have to do with anything majorly important at that time? ... It was unjust, and it was uncalled for. Some of the language was inexcusable and unacceptable, and I was not going to just sit there and take it. So, yes, I stood up for myself, and I don’t regret it.”
During an interview with Yahoo! in 2019, actor Richard Dreyfuss recalled filming with Murray on the set of What About Bob? in 1991. “He put his face next to me, nose-to-nose, and he screamed at the top of his lungs, ‘Everyone hates you! You are tolerated!’” he said. “There was no time to react because he leaned back and he took a modern glass-blown ashtray ... He threw it at my face from [only a couple feet away]. And it weighed about three-quarters of a pound. And he missed me. He tried to hit me. I got up and left.” Dreyfuss also referenced Murray as a “drunken Irish bully.” The incident allegedly occurred after Murray threw producer Laura Ziskin into a lake, broke her sunglasses, and threatened to throw her across a parking lot when she refused to allow for an extra day off, according to Baltimore Sun. Dreyfuss had been defending Ziskin when the ashtray was thrown.
Murray has categorically denied accusations in the past, including when Charlie’s Angels director McG alleged that Murray headbutted him, stopping Murray from returning to reprise his role of Bosley in the film’s sequel. Murray retorted in an interview with The Times of London, “That’s bullshit! That's complete crap! ... I don't know why he made that story up. He has a very active imagination. No! He deserves to die! He should be pierced with a lance, not headbutted.” Disney, Searchlight’s parent company, nor Bill Murray’s lawyer have reportedly responded to requests for comment.