As somebody who grew up with the original Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, I never really had much choice but to love Bill Murray, but it’s reading things like this Rolling Stone piece about him that really underlines why he’s so wonderful. If anybody illustrates the principle of Wu Wei (effortless doing), it’s Bill. Take this story about a promotional film Bill shot:
In 2011, Murray filmed a promotional video for the Trident Academy near Charleston; one of his six sons was a student there. (Murray has been married and divorced twice.) Director David W. Smith was working on the shoot. “He came in hot and a little grumpy,” Smith says. “He was about 30 minutes late, and he complained that there were too many lights. He had a script, but he sat down in the school library and ad-libbed the whole thing. He got all these teddy bears and had a conversation with them. We’re looking at each other – this guy is off-his-face crazy – but there was a method to his madness.”
Murray loosened up as he played basketball with the school’s kids, and stuck around for lunch (his request: a tuna sandwich with no crusts), ultimately signing autographs and taking pictures. Smith recalls, “As the shoot went on, he became more and more like the guy that everyone thinks they know, which I guess is who he actually is.” Smith asked Murray if he would walk down the hall with the crew members so they could make a short film of it. Murray was confused, but he complied – when the camera cut, he kept walking, heading to his car without breaking stride.
The piece is filled with anecdotes about the weird and wonderful life of Bill Murray. He looks like he’s just messing around, but I really think he’s got something figured out.