Bill Murray handles money matters without handlers. He and his agent parted company years ago. He has no manager. In Hollywood, that's as rare as an Upper East Side matron firing the butler and chauffeur so she can dust and drive.
Murray explained this week that when he had an agent, the agent's assistants would call him and refuse to hang up. "Why would I ever want to talk to anyone who would let the phone ring 90 times?" he told WalletPop and other outlets during a Tribeca Film Festival interview for "Get Low."
Murray, 59, also turns his schnoz up at written agreements. "I'm not signing a contract," the "Ghostbusters" and "Lost in Translation" star said. "My word is my word. I'm showing up for work."
Try that at your new firm. "Get Low" producer Dean Zanuck wasn't so crazy about the idea either. He began to squirm when the indie film's main investor agreed to fork over $5.5 million of the $7.5 million budget, but requested a deal with Murray's John Hancock on it. Zanuck had used Murray's name to lure backers after the former "Saturday Night Live" Prime Time Player had left him a message out of the blue that he was interested. Zanuck told the investor that Murray was superstitious about contracts.
"We were in so deep at this point," Zanuck said. "We started to see that if he didn't do the movie, it was going to fall apart."
Turns out Murray wasn't superstitious at all. Just different. He poked fun at "bureaucrats" ordering him to sign contracts. After six months of sparse communication via snail mail to Murray's PO Box and the occasional call with an intermediary in Los Angeles, Zanuck got his wish. Murray showed up on the set.
In "Get Low," Murray plays an alkie funeral director who helps the town's bitter outcast (Robert Duvall) plan his own service with one catch: the outcast plans to be alive at the ceremony. The request is unorthodox but a wad of cash convinces Murray's Frank Quinn to give the man what he wants.As for the offscreen Murray's philosophy about financial gain, he said that whether a movie generates box office is out of his control. "I'm just gonna do the ones I like and something's gonna hit," he said.