Though Murray's fans may dispute that statement, it's no question that the actor's varied career has now reached near-legendary status. In his new movie 'Get Low,' he plays another character with particular insight into matters of life and death: funeral home director Frank Quinn, who's called into action when ornery hermit Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) wants to plan his own funeral party -- while he's still alive.
Having already played at Toronto and Sundance, 'Get Low' rolled into the Tribeca Film Festival on a wave of great buzz for Duvall, Sissy Spacek and, of course, Murray himself. In town for the fest, he shared stories about Hunter S. Thompson's funeral, his favorite New York City movie (rhymes with 'Mostbusters,' natch), and all those rumors about 'Ghostbusters 3' -- all before demonstrating how to practice Egoscue, his new stretching/exercise regimen of choice. But that's a story for another day.
Want more? Check back with Moviefone closer to the release of 'Get Low' on July 30 for our full interview with Bill Murray.
1. How would you sell your movie, 'Get Low'?
They're selling this movie as a comedy, which I think is correct. There's a lot of laughs in this movie. Far more than you would think. I really enjoyed it ... I thought it would be more wry. It really makes people laugh hard because the subject matter really gets at people ... It's really, really funny, but then on top of it you get this unbelievable turn by Robert Duvall at the end of the movie that's breathtaking. I've never seen an audience so quiet in a movie theater after laughing hard. It's really ... it's a unique film. It's really good. They think it's going to be a hit movie. They think it's going to be like, you know, 'Driving Miss Daisy' or something.
2. If you were going to plan your own funeral like Robert Duvall's character does in the movie, how would you like to go out?
Well, I don't think I'm quite ready yet. There are some people that are ready earlier than others. Like, I knew Hunter Thompson -- he was a friend -- and I remember when he did this crazy thing that they actually videotaped, he and Ralph Steadman going into an undertaker talking about this funeral they had planned, and he wanted to blow his ashes out of a double-thumbed fist built up on a stainless steel tower 150 feet high. And they were all laughing about it ... and damned if it didn't happen. That is his final funeral, [Hunter S. Thompson's] ashes were blasted out of the top of this 150-foot [tower] and showered all the people at the party. And it was the best funeral I've ever been to in my life. The funniest men, the most beautiful women, all the women he'd ever dated in his life showed up and that was considerable.
... His wake was another enormous, great thing, too, where people got up and told stories about him for about 40 minutes a pop and then they'd take a break and go drink and smoke and then they'd go do it all over again. It lasted for many hours and the funeral itself was a fantastic party. I ended up swimming in a pool in a neighbor's house about two miles down the road somewhere between midnight and dawn. It was a lot of fun. It was that kind of night.
3. What's your favorite thing about New York?
My favorite thing about New York is the people, because I think they're misunderstood. I don't think people realize how kind New York people are. The drivers are far more considerate, they're just very aggressive. But I think the people here, came here -- they say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, and it's true -- they came here because this is the Big Apple and ... they came here at the top of their game to bring what they had to the big pot. ... Every year you see a new crop of people thinking they got it coming into town. You see them. They come in in the fall and you can see it and it's amazing to walk down the street, you go, "New, new, new, new." You can spot 'em and they come in and they think, well, they got it, they don't, and it's exciting. It's exciting. It's a cycle of life and this is the place where it happens. It's sort of a crucible.
4. What's your favorite movie set in New York?
'Ghostbusters.' Sure, why not? I was in it. It was great. There's a scene where Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson drive across the Brooklyn Bridge and they go, "Judgment day." And that's the coolest scene in any movie that ever took place in New York. It's just wonderful to watch. And then they pull away and you see this big town in the background and these guys are heading right into the heart of the monster. What I really love about New York is that the first time I came, I think I came from the airport, and when you drive [from John F. Kennedy International Airport], there's a massive graveyard that you see just before, and there's New York. And I always say to people, those are the people that didn't make it [laughs]. They just threw them over here and then buried them.
5. Is 'Ghostbusters 3' ever happening?
No, it's ridiculous. That's an absolutely -- that's just a horrible rumor. It's like illegitimate children in Antarctica, it's ridiculous. ... Mind you, we only made two, and the first one was still the better one, so another one wouldn't seem to be any better. The studio wants to make it because they can re-create the franchise and put new Ghostbusters in it. That's what it's about.