Bill Murray aficionado Bill Murray was the king of Toronto yesterday on the first ever "Bill Murray Day," a celebration invented for the express purpose of making sure Bill Murray came to the Toronto Film Festival. The ploy worked like clockwork: Murray was feted all day with viewings of Stripes, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, and the premiere of his new film St. Vincent. And at a Q&A after the Ghostbusters screening, Murray entertained fans with stories and jokes galore, including one priceless tale of driving a taxi while the cabbie played saxophone in the back seat.
He signed things for fans and posed in photos:
He sang "Raspberry Beret."
He ogled at babies dressed as Stay Puft Marshmallow Man: "That is one good-looking baby," he said according to Winnipeg Free Press, who added that Murray later called on the infant for a question. "Yes, the young man in white with stripes and big muscles?"
He got drenched in the rain but never stopped smiling.
He even wore a special sash:
During the Q&A, he described how he spent most of the day before the viewings: "I sort of stayed in my room," said Murray. "I stayed in my room for a long time today but people kept coming up saying things like: 'It's real humid out there.' I think maybe seven different people go like: 'Well, it's real humid and it's going to get even more humid.' That's what my day's been like. It's mostly been a weather report."
The rest of the Q&A included lots of praise for his Ghostbusters co-stars, how co-star and co-writer Dan Aykroyd recruited him to take over for John Belushi, and the story of how Aykroyd leveraged the studio to produce Murray's drama The Razor's Edge in exchange for the commercial Ghostbusters. (You can read more on the history of that film, and Murray's four-year break from acting afterwards, here.) As for the first time he saw raw footage from the unfinished Ghostbusters: "I knew that I was going to be rich and famous," Murray said. "And be able to wear red clothes and not give a damn."
There was also a lot of repartee with audience members and a story about being nominated for a Genie Award for Meatballs,; Murray talked about his favorite films (Francois Truffaut's Small Change and Roberto Benigni's Johnny Stecchino); and then there was the saxophone story, which apparently took place this week, and is truly a Murray hall-of-fame lark. The Post has the recap:
He recalled that the night before the festival, he got into a taxi in Oakland and ended up driving the cab driver around. "When I’m conscious, it is a conscious decision," Murray said of his off-screen antics before going on to describe how the driver mentioned he was a saxophone player.
"I said, 'When do you practice?' He said, 'I drive 14 hours a day.'" Murray then asked him, "Well, where’s your sax?" The driver replied, “In the trunk.” Murray told the cabbie, “Pull over and get in the back, I know how to drive a car.'"
"Not only did he play all the way to Sausalito, which is a long way, we stopped and got barbecue. He [wound up] playing in what some would call a sketchy, weird place in Oakland at 2:15 in the morning. I was like, 'Relax, man, you’ve got the [bleeping] horn! We’re cool!' And it was great and it made for a beautiful night!"
"I think the only reason I've had the career life that I've had is that someone told me some secrets early on about living," Murray said while discussing his sometimes-bizarre, always-entertaining public behavior. "You can do the very best you can when you're very, very relaxed, no matter what it is or what your job is, the more relaxed you are the better you are. That's sort of why I got into acting. I realized the more fun I had, the better I did it. And I thought, that's a job I could be proud of. It's changed my life learning that," he added. "And it's made me better at what I do."