From reading poetry to construction workers in New York City to washing dishes at house parties in Scotland, Bill Murray seems to appear only in the strangest settings. So it’s not exactly a surprise that booking him for a movie is a little less conventional than calling his agent—instead, you have to call a 1-800 number.
In a recent interview with IndieWire, Murray confirmed what directors have been trying to tell us for years: If you want him to consider your movie, you have to pitch it to him by calling a 1-800 number and leaving a message. The number, of course, isn’t listed, but rather passed around Hollywood’s inner circles by word of mouth.
Murray unplugged his house phone years ago after feeling harassed by agents who would call him so often his phone practically never stopped ringing. “Look, you can’t do this. This is my house,” he told IndieWire he’d respond to the agents, “If I don’t answer the phone, don’t do that because you’re making me not like you.” But why were agents calling his house phone in the first place, instead of going through his agent or publicist? Because Murray doesn’t have an agent or a publicist.
Murray mainly prefers to work with people he already knows and is comfortable with. Sofia Coppola, who directed Murray in 2003’s Lost in Translation and his 2017 Netflix special A Very Murray Christmas, nabbed him again for her 2020 film On the Rocks. And Murray has acted in almost every Wes Anderson film to date (including 2020’s The French Dispatch).
Murray, who most recently starred in Jim Jarmusch’s 2019 zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die, told IndieWire, “The people that know me, they get to me. The people that don’t know me just have a little more difficulty.” According to Vanity Fair, Murray does (or at least did) have a cell phone, but only uses it for texting. “I don’t like talking on the telephone,” Murray said.