Bill Murray is one of the most recognizable and likeable stars in Hollywood. The actor has given hits like “Ghostbusters” and “Rock the Kasbah.” After Focus Features signed on to the project and unveiled fresh information about the movie this week, Bill Murray’s odd absence from Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” wasn’t unnoticed.
The actor, a frequent in Wes Anderson’s films like “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and “The Royal Tenenbaums,” was among the first people to sign on to the Spain-set movie, which began shooting last September. Murray was noticeably absent from the film’s star-studded cast, which also included Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Carrell, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Ed Norton, and Adrien Brody.
Variety reported that shortly before the movie’s September 2018 filming started, Murray was diagnosed with COVID-19, forcing the project to replace his character. Before quitting, he is not known to have shot any scenes. It’s known that Carrell, a star of the “Morning Show,” took Murray’s position in the movie.
Following news that Searchlight Pictures paused filming on Aziz Ansari’s “Being Mortal” in April following a complaint of inappropriate behavior made against the 71-year-old actor, speculation has been rampant that Murray was maybe cut from the project. However, sources claimed that Murray’s absence from “Asteroid City” has nothing to do with the claims. Murray quickly offered his version of events to CNBC in April, claiming that he “had a difference of opinion with a woman I’m working with.”
I did something I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way. The movie studio wanted to do the right thing, so they wanted to check it all out and investigate it and so they stopped the production. As of now we’re talking and we’re trying to make peace with each other. We’re both professionals. We like each other’s work — we like each other, I think. If we can’t get along and trust each other, there’s no point in going further working together or making a movie… It’s been quite an education for me. I’ve been doing not much else but thinking about her for the last week or two.
The specifics of the Murray complaint were never made public. The last three Anderson films were released by Searchlight Pictures, but the studio and director broke up work on “Asteroid City,” which is now handled by Focus Features for domestic release and parent company Universal Pictures for overseas. The film was boarded by Focus Features during post-production.
The movie is referred to as a “poetic meditation on the meaning of life” and co-written by Anderson and Roman Coppola. The movie gathers children and parents from around the nation for academic competition, relaxation and recreation, humor, drama, romance, and more. It is set in a fictional 1955 Junior Stargazer convention in an American desert town. Producing “Asteroid City” with Anderson are Steven Rales, the man behind the production business Indian Paintbrush, and Jeremy Dawson. Stay tuned to Thirsty for more news from the entertainment world.
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