Geena Davis Details Bad Audition With Bill Murray, Who Allegedly Screamed at Her on Set: I Shouldve Walked Out or Defended Myself
Geena Davis writes in her new memoir, “Dying of Politeness,” about a “bad” experience she had with Bill Murray when the two were making their 1990 crime comedy “Quick Change,” which Murray co-directed with Howard Franklin. Davis details an uncomfortable first meeting with Murray in a hotel suite, followed by a time on set when Murray repeatedly screamed at her in front of the crew.
As summarized by The Times UK (via NME): “She’s introduced to [Murray], she writes, in a hotel suite, where Murray greets her with something called The Thumper, a massage device he insists on using on her, despite her emphatically refusing; later, while they’re filming on location, Murray tracks Davis down in her trailer and begins screaming at her for being late (she’s waiting for her wardrobe), continues to scream at her as she hurries onto the set and even as she gets there, in front of hundreds of cast, crew, curious passers-by.”
“That was bad,” Davis told The Times. “The way he behaved at the first meeting… I should have walked out of that or profoundly defended myself, in which case I wouldn’t have got the part. I could have avoided that treatment if I’d known how to react or what to do during the audition. But, you know, I was so non-confrontational that I just didn’t…”
When The Times reporter told Davis she was blaming herself for Murray’s behavior, the Oscar winner responded, “Ha. Point taken. There’s no point in regretting things, and yet, here I was regretting. And yes, exactly, it wasn’t my fault.”
Variety has reached out to Murray’s representative for comment on Davis’ story.
Davis isn’t the only actor who has detailed an uncomfortable experience working with Murray. Lucy Liu revealed on a 2021 episode of the Los Angeles Times’ “Asian Enough” podcast that Murray made “unacceptable” and “inexcusable” insults to her on the “Charlie’s Angels” set.
“As we’re doing the scene, Bill starts to sort of hurl insults, and I won’t get into the specifics, but it kept going on and on,” Liu said at the time. “I was not going to just sit there and take it. So, yes, I stood up for myself and I don’t regret it. Because no matter how low on the totem pole you may be or wherever you came from, there’s no need to condescend or to put other people down. And I would not stand down, and nor should I have.”
Murray’s on-set conduct made headlines again earlier this year after Searchlight Pictures suspended production on Aziz Ansari’s feature directorial debut, which was to star Murray. As reported by Variety, filming was halted over complaints about Murray’s inappropriate behavior on set. The film has yet to back back into production.
Davis’ memoir, “Dying of Politeness,” will be released on Oct. 11.
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