Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek chat Get Low, Big Love and Christopher Doyle with Quint!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. First thing’s first, when I conducted this interview it was right after Bill Murray had started shooting down Ghostbusters 3 stories. In fact, I think that very day something was posted on AICN about it. I wanted to ask him, of course, but since there was so much out there, so recently, I decided I’d only bring it up if I found a good point during the interview. That point never came, so I just wanted you to know before delving into this interview. They paired Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek up and I’m glad they did. They play off each other really well. It was a good safety net for me, especially considering that Murray is kind of notorious for not giving many interviews. Their chemistry together definitely helped keep this chat light and fun. You guys especially need to keep an eye out for Murray doing his impersonation of brilliant cinematographer Christopher Doyle. Vulgar, hilarious and right on the money. Now right before the interview started Kraken asked Murray and Spacek if he could take some photos during the interview. They said sure, then proceeded to goof off. The first photo of this article features both Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek, though you might not recognize Sissy right off the bat. Enjoy!
Quint: I got to see the film last week and I really enjoyed it. I was just telling Robert [Duvall] what I really loved about it is it’s a very entertaining movie, but it’s also got a lot of poetry to it. It’s very poetic and feels like a throwback. It feels like the kind of film that you would see made maybe in the seventies, but you just wouldn’t see made now, so was that part of the attraction for you guys to join the project?
Sissy Spacek: It was different, yeah. It was not your run of the mill script that comes across your desk. Bill Murray: And he cut it too. A lot of people don’t give him enough credit. He didn’t just direct it, he edited it, too and that’s a pretty big mouthful of work to do all of that. It turned out there were a lot of funny things in it. I was surprised. He can cut my stuff anytime. He made me look pretty funny.
Quint: Your character is really interesting in particular because he has so much going on. He’s got this snake oil salesman feel, he’s got a little bit of the showman in him, a little bit of a coward, he’s got a yellow streak in him... It’s a really interesting and layered character. What I love about you as an actor is your ability to bring the drama and the comedy and I think you played this very well.
Sissy Spacek: If you had mess up, it would have been terrible, but you didn’t. You did great. Bill Murray: That’s true, if I messed up it would have been bad. Sissy Spacek: You brought so much humor. Bill Murray: Well, it was good, you know? It turned out great, but it was nice because we had enough time to work. A lot of times you don’t have enough time to work and I try never to do the same thing twice you know, so… I mean I don’t try to. I can’t, so I don’t bother. I’m relaxed enough to just keep trying and then that can be fun and Bob doesn’t screw up very much.
Bill Murray: So he’s pretty solid, so it’s just down to me and Sissy who is going to get it when they screw it up. Sissy Spacek: Exactly! Bill Murray: Between the two of us one of us would get it right or the other one would get it right and we would just keep doing it until… Sissy Spacek: I like that scene at the door that they took out.
Quint: Oh yeah? What was that? What scene?
Bill Murray: That was good. Sissy Spacek: Should we tell him?
Quint: Tell me!
Bill Murray: The one going out the door or the one where I came to the door? Sissy Spacek: The one where you came to the door. Bill Murray: Yeah, that was good. Sissy Spacek: It was really good. Bill Murray: It was just a little scene we had when I came basically looking to make trouble and she was like “Well, maybe not now…” Sissy Spacek: “I better go…” Bill Murray: “I’ve got a piano lesson…” Sissy Spacek: What a fool! Bill Murray: … and then closed the door thinking “Well, maybe I shouldn’t have closed the door. It’s just a piano!”
Quint: The movie seems to me to be about two different love triangles. You have Felix, you, and the dead sister, but you also have Felix, Sissy, and Bill who is obviously got feelings for your character and I think that’s really interesting to portray it that way. I don’t know if that came across in the script when you read it…
Sissy Spacek: It did. In fact there was more of that, but there just wasn’t time for it. Bill Murray: Yeah, I thought for sure we were going to end up together. I thought she was going to fall into my arms, but given the opportunity she just kind of looked at me and went “All right…” Sissy Spacek: Goddamn, Charlie Mitchell! (Laughs) Bill Murray: She just kept moving. Sissy Spacek: I think they had more of that with what we shot, but it confused people. They didn’t know what to think. Bill Murray: The scenes were great and fun to play, but I like what we got. I like what they did. Sissy Spacek: Yeah, they really did a good job. Bill Murray: We were just showing off, really. The writing was good, so it was like “Yeah! Come on.” It was fun to do all of those scenes. Obviously in a movie there are going to be more scenes than are going to end up in it. Sissy Spacek: Always stuff… Bill Murray: With this particular one, you kind of notice them because they were well written and we did them well. We usually don’t notice them or even think about them, but we did a good job with them and they were fun… so we are angry!
Quint: Now you guys have gotten to work with so many different directors and Aaron [Schneider] this was a first time feature. Do you find that there’s a difference between somebody who is doing it as their twentieth feature or somebody who is doing it for the first time. Do you find that there’s a different kind of passion there?
Sissy Spacek: Do you want to go first? Bill Murray: Yeah, it’s like a different level of know-it-all. It’s like there’s a guy that knows it all and then there’s a guy that knows it all. Well, the guy that’s doing his first feature knows it all, but he really doesn’t know it all. The guy who is doing his twentieth feature knows it all and he doesn’t know it all either, but it’s just the way that they carry their know-it-all. Sissy Spacek: Let me answer that!
Bill Murray: I thought I got it right.
Sissy Spacek: I think for me, some of the most wonderful projects I’ve worked on have been with first time directors, so I love first time directors because they usually come in and they are just bringing everything with them and putting everything into it…
Bill Murray: A lot of enthusiasm, yeah.
Sissy Spacek: … and they really give themselves over to it and I also think that the script was wonderful, his short film that he won an Academy Award for was wonderful. They worked on it for so long and I was blown away when they said “And Bill Murray.” I thought “Oh my God, it’s even more than I imagined it could be,” because with the element of Bill and what he would bring to it, it was just like you didn’t know what it was going to be and it was just amazing.
But I think a lot of times with a first time director it’s what you don’t know about him is more exciting than what you do know about somebody else. “Oh, they’ve done this and this… Okay, I know kind of what that’s going to be like working with…” With a first time director there’s a lot of hope and you work really hard, because you are trying to save yourself. It was great.
Bill Murray: Well in all movies, but yeah you are trying to save yourself, but you’ve got to make sure you come out of this alive, you know. It’s not like you are only out for yourself, but when you work with someone and you don’t know exactly how much they know, you are thinking “Okay, how much can I leave to the imagination here? Do I have to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ here?” So you know, you don’t try to over do it, but you try to be solid.
Sissy Spacek: I thought he was good if there was something that you needed for your process that you weren’t getting, you could talk to him about it and he would try to accommodate you. He was very great that way.
Bill Murray: He never let that go and it was different for me, because I was basically just sort of waking up half of the time and I was sort of like…
Sissy Spacek: No, you weren’t!
Bill Murray: “Bill, what you are really wanting to be doing here is… You have to remember, you are an undertaker, so what you are is a man who buries people after they are dead and Lucas here, he works with you and this money here isn’t your money, but you’re in charge of it” and I go “Yeah, well I was thinking of using some of that stuff, why don’t you go on the other… Let me just try it again.” He would come at me pretty early with that stuff. I would be like “All right, just come on.. more coffee…” But you are right, it’s not like he left you to twist by yourself. He was always game and always there.
Quint: Well and I’m sure after working with him for a couple of days you would get a feel for him.
Sissy Spacek: You know, in meeting him you see he’s a really nice guy. He’s a real sensitive guy. He’s a real hungry guy, too. (laughs)
Bill Murray: You’re talking about how much he can eat?
Sissy Spacek: [Laughs] Yeah.
Bill Murray: It’s unbelievable how much he can eat. He eats for like four people. It’s really kind of disturbing.
Quint: Well so do I, obviously.
Bill Murray: No, I’m telling you, I mean really. I haven’t seen anyone eat like that since I was seventeen or something like that. It was just nuts. Really a lot of food.
Sissy Spacek: I think we maybe scared him a couple of times.
Quint: Do tell.
Bill Murray: We’re scary people.
Sissy Spacek: (laughs) Especially Bill. Bill was really scary.
Bill Murray: I’m a scary guy. No, he’s so enthusiastic and wanted his thing so much he was doing everyone’s job and it used to drive us all nuts, because he was doing everyone’s job. He was doing this person’s job and that person would be looking at you like [Makes face.]
Sissy Spacek: He wasn’t used to having a crew.
Bill Murray: Yeah, he was used to working with like three people and doing everything with those people.
Quint: And then the union started yelling at him for moving chairs…
Bill Murray: No, it wasn’t like that. We are all too lazy for that, but basically I would be like “Hey Aaron, come over here and do my job. Quit doing his job and come over to do my job.” The guy worked hard. I’ve got to say, he shot it, he cut it…
Sissy Spacek: Yeah, then edited it.
Bill Murray: And it’s great and it was a tough cut, because there was lots and lots of great stuff.
Sissy Spacek: But they found the movie in all of the… It was kind of like…
Bill Murray: They could have made about five movies you know?
Quint: Hey, maybe he’s already made the sequel and you don’t even know it.
Sissy Spacek: Maybe.
Bill Murray: He had a lot of different moves, but what he ended up with was… Basically he took all of us at our best and said “What happens if I shake out all of the dust and the mud and see what’s left?” That’s what it was and you know the money is really the scene these characters have at the end and we are basically going there. Basically you just make sure we get to that point without screwing it up.
Sissy Spacek: You have to do a lot of heavy lifting in this film.
Bill Murray: Well, that was the job I took. I knew my job was to make this performance seem possible, make this final climax scene possible, like “Get us there. Make it all move and hop along until we get there.” I was really pleased and surprised how it came out, how my part came out fine, because I really just thought I had a chicken by the neck the whole time… “Keep moving.” But it’s good.
Sissy Spacek: (Sissy pats Bill on the back) You’re great!
Quint: So, what’s next for you guys? What are you guys going onto after this?
Bill Murray: Have you seen her as the bad woman on the BIG LOVE show?
Quint: No, I’ve heard nothing but awesome things about it though.
Bill Murray: She’s great. It’s really great. I think it’s the greatest thing she’s done.
Sissy Spacek: He just likes to see me be bad.
Bill Murray: I don’t know about that, but it’s great. It’s really a disturbing, shocking turn. I like it. I’ve seen it a couple of times and it’s great. She’s really motoring in there and they are in there…. It’s tough to jump into a show like that where people have been rolling with their characters for five years.
Sissy Spacek: It’s scary, man!
Bill Murray: Not only is the situation built scary, but they have like nailed down in their characters and they are all kind of a different kind of actor. They are a little bit…
Sissy Spacek: And they know each other. There are like fifty of them.
Bill Murray: You’re the new guy. You come in and you’ve got to figure out what the tone is and how to match that tone and play against that tone. That’s hard.
Sissy Spacek: God, I’m glad I didn’t talk to you before I said I would do it that would have scared me.
Bill Murray: I don’t know what you did to get to it, but your tone is like… It’s a slap in the face, because they are not used to someone… They are used to hiding the one thing, like dealing with that one thing, that one problem they have, that one issue, They are so used to shouldering around that one issue that when someone comes at them right down the gut, they are like… “What the fuuu-uuu…” They don’t know what to do with that move. It’s cool. It’s good. You really shook them up.
Sissy Spacek: Thank you, Bill.
Bill Murray: That’s what she’s got going and then she’s retiring, right? Is that it?
Sissy Spacek: Yeah, yeah. (rolls eyes)
Quint: No more after that. What about you?
Bill Murray: I’m in this one, GET LOW, and then I just did this one this friend of mine, Mitch Glazer, wrote and directed. It’s his first movie. He wrote it and we did it in New Mexico with Mickey Rourke and Megan Fox and I play the oddball in that one, too. That’s a really interesting movie. He’s got Chris Doyle, this great cameraman…
Quint: Chris Doyle is amazing. I had a really funny interview with him once. I asked him the difference between him shooting Asian films and then shooting US films, he’s just like “White women are harder to light” was his answer.
Sissy Spacek: How bizarre is that?
Bill Murray: He’s got a million of them…
Sissy Spacek: “White women are harder to light?”
Bill Murray: You would just get such a charge out of the guy, because it’s like borderline Tourettes, because he would be like “The interesting thing about this light is your pussy just drives me crazy, because the way the sun is coming through these trees… if I could just take your shirt off.” Meanwhile, people are just kind of wobbling going “Are we working or are we fucking, what are we doing?”
It’s really fun. He’s really a lot of fun, but he’s got all of that energy. It’s all of that sex energy… that’s his creativity, you know?
Sissy Spacek: Bet you haven't done an interview like this!
Quint: Not in a while!
Bill Murray: So he’s got like an overflow of energy. He’s got so much energy. He really can go.
Sissy Spacek: I can’t wait to see that.
Bill Murray: It’s really good. It’s amazing looking.
Sissy Spacek: What’s it called?
Bill Murray: It’s called PASSION PLAY and it’s looking amazing. I think it could be… The director called me, he said “You know I hate to be one of those guys, but I really love it.” That was right after the first cut of it.
Sissy Spacek: That’s great.
Quint: All right, I think they are pulling you away, but I really appreciate you guys taking the time.
Sissy Spacek: Our pleasure.
Bill Murray: Good to see you, man.
How about that Chris Doyle story? I laughed at the time, but listening back over it as I was prepping this interview I was howling. Literally had tears coming out of my eyes as I played it again and again and again.
That’s the last of my Get Low interviews. To say it was a surreal experience to jump from Robert Duvall to Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek is a radical understatement. I wrapped the Duvall interview and walked straight over to Murray and Spacek. If I had any time in-between I probably would have psyched myself out, I love those two actors so much.
Anyway, hope you dug ‘em! More cool chats forthcoming! Stay tuned!
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Aug. 4, 2010, 6:29 p.m. CST
Aug. 4, 2010, 6:30 p.m. CST
post an audio excerpt please!
Aug. 4, 2010, 6:50 p.m. CST
and he was wearing some weird floppy-sleeved shirt...
Aug. 4, 2010, 6:55 p.m. CST
Aug. 4, 2010, 6:55 p.m. CST
If I were interviewing Murray I'd repeatedly ask him about Ghostbusters 3.<P> So what are your thoughts on Ghostbusters3?<P> When do you think Ghostbusters 3 will start shooting?<P> Oh you don't think Ghostbusters 3 is happening? Why not...many fans want a ghostbusters 3 you know! <P>What do you think the script for ghostbusters 3 will be like?<P> Do you think ghostbusters 3 will be better than ghostbusters 2?<P> Do you think there's any chance ghostbusters 3 will be better than the first ghostbusters?<P> Is it true Rick Morannis will be in Ghostbusters 3?<P> and so on........
Aug. 4, 2010, 7:04 p.m. CST
The guy from Scrooged and Groundhog day. Sigh.
Aug. 4, 2010, 7:14 p.m. CST
You chickened out!!?? ........ Just ask the man about Ghostbusters 3 for fucks sake, hes an actor not King of the universe. Whats he gonna' do? slap you??
Aug. 4, 2010, 8:21 p.m. CST
I'm really starting to dig this..Quint, any chance we'll get full audio interviews?
Aug. 4, 2010, 8:43 p.m. CST
Sound-O-Text clip added so you can hear the great Chris Doyle stuff and laugh your ass off like I did.
Aug. 4, 2010, 9:28 p.m. CST
i would be nervous interviewing Bill, he seemed to really respect Quint.
Aug. 4, 2010, 9:52 p.m. CST
...HATES that man!
Aug. 5, 2010, 12:12 a.m. CST
I thought she was a lock.
Aug. 5, 2010, 1:44 a.m. CST
SO GODDAMN FUNNY!?
Aug. 5, 2010, 1:46 a.m. CST
and there'll never be another quite like him, not even any of his six million brothers.
Aug. 5, 2010, 2:48 a.m. CST
are interviewed by people who know the industry pretty well and aren't just there to make jokes around the latest movie plug.<br /><br />I think it also helps that they can swear if the anecdote takes them in that direction, and not have to worry about offending some network tool or the vocal moral minority.<br /><br />
Aug. 5, 2010, 3:45 a.m. CST
Aug. 5, 2010, 7:07 a.m. CST
One of the best cinematographers out there, next to Robert Richardson.....
Aug. 5, 2010, 8:09 a.m. CST
And I wouldn't have asked about Ghostbusters 3, either. He's given his answer, we know how he feels about the thing. Why get on his shit list during your one chance to interview him? Good call.
Aug. 5, 2010, 8:39 a.m. CST
Why didn't you ask him about CADDYSHACK 3?!?
Aug. 5, 2010, 8:43 a.m. CST
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Aug. 5, 2010, 8:43 a.m. CST
because he can conduct a smart, incisive and respectful interview about the subject they are there to talk about and let them go where they want to without haroping on about something they've already answered over and over. Ghostbusters 3 ain't happening and, let's be realistic, it'd suck if it did. Bill knows this. Can't we just love the original and forget about any inevitably poor third outing? Have you guys forgotten it was to be written by the guys that wrote Year One? Yeesh, you'd think you'd be glad it was done!
Aug. 5, 2010, 9:05 a.m. CST
Aug. 5, 2010, 9:39 a.m. CST
by Star Hump
Duvall, Murray and Spacek now that's a dream cast. 3 of the all-time greats.
Aug. 5, 2010, 10:03 a.m. CST
Our grandchildren will watch it on television again and again.<P>But less than ten percent of the people on this site will see it.
Aug. 5, 2010, 10:06 a.m. CST
action figures?<P>What did Sissy Spacek think of INCEPTION?<P>What superhero does Lucas Black want to star as?<P>Will Robert Duvall be in the THX sequel, or will they mo-cap him?<P>Bill, 3-D or IMAX?<P>These are the things we NEED to know.
Aug. 5, 2010, 10:09 a.m. CST
Murray doesn't misfire much these days. i shall take a gander
Aug. 5, 2010, 10:14 a.m. CST
Aug. 5, 2010, 11:05 a.m. CST
Aug. 5, 2010, 11:19 a.m. CST
by Le Vicious Fishus
WTF is a cowardess, Quint?<BR><BR>Good interview.
Aug. 5, 2010, 11:20 a.m. CST
She is listed as set dresser for Phantom Of The Paradise, as she's married to Jack Fisk, the art director. Just years later, of course, DePalma put her on the map with Carrie.
Aug. 5, 2010, 11:39 a.m. CST
That's some funny shit. ANd it's good that being with Sissy Spacek kinda kept him under control. He does have a tendency to be flip and off-putting to interviewers if he thinks they don't "mean it." If they're there just for the quote, or the dumb-ass question about Ghostbusters, he doesn't give them much. I love that he fired his agent and handles his gigs himself. One the strangest, most genuine actors working. And Spacek is always great. Yet another movie to add to the "must watch" list.
Aug. 5, 2010, 12:22 p.m. CST
With that squint and look, Murray should try a HEAVY "heavy" role, not a light heavy role as in Mad Dog & Glory (a great performance, as it is though), but as a serious motherfucker who could mess you up.
Aug. 5, 2010, 12:27 p.m. CST
Aug. 5, 2010, 2:07 p.m. CST
Bill doesn't think it will happen because its more of a "boy cries wolf" scenerio, where they've been saying they're making it but never get around to it. So if they actually DO greenlight the pic, he will do it. http://www.gbfans.com
Aug. 5, 2010, 3:48 p.m. CST
He's obviously got a lot of dark shit going on inside, so it'd be interesting to see him go there. I don't know what 'type of heavy though, not the Clint Eastwood 'Gran Turino' type role, more of a killer CEO or some modern sociopath... maybe he can star in the Goldman Sachs story! I just don't know if I can see him playing a bad-ass that you can root for, I feel like his 'type', if he is to go dark, would be someone without a conscience.
Aug. 5, 2010, 4:33 p.m. CST
by Quin the Eskimo
Aug. 5, 2010, 7:15 p.m. CST
still too cheap with the bandwidth?
Aug. 5, 2010, 8:52 p.m. CST
Harrys? ...........hello??.............this is bullshit........it better be good....../......
Aug. 5, 2010, 10:53 p.m. CST
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Aug. 6, 2010, 2:15 a.m. CST
Aug. 6, 2010, 10:54 a.m. CST
by Star Hump
You couldn't grow up in the 70s and 80s without hearing about Sissy Spacek. Besides Carrie she turned in a slew of great performances. She had a rep not unlike Meryl Streep's at the time. Highly respected.<p> Sad to say but I completely missed the boat on Sissy's talent. Oblivious. But man, when I saw her in Affliction (with Nick Nolte, James Coburn and Willem Dafoe) in 1997 I was astounded by her performance. Finally the lightbulb went on in my thick skull.<p> She's so amazing. Sissy has that magical "it" that only the very best actors have. She's a national tresure. Knowing that she's in Get Low totally makes this a must-see movie.
Aug. 6, 2010, 11:33 a.m. CST
A true genius and it's great to read this article Quint, and hear Bill Murray imitate him. Doyle's needs to work as much as he can. We need more cinema seen through that masterful eye. This is what makes AICN a great site.
Aug. 6, 2010, 12:49 p.m. CST
by Nice Marmot
Not much else on my mind.
Aug. 8, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST
by Tigger Tales
Or have we had enough Jarmusch?
Aug. 9, 2010, 4:05 a.m. CST
Bill Murray should be the mysterious head of quantum in the next bond villain (whenever they sort out their shit and make it). MURRAY vs CRAIG has my ass in the seat and my penis lathered in pre-cum.
Aug. 9, 2010, 5:46 p.m. CST
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Aug. 12, 2010, 6:20 p.m. CST
Geez, does he have to look THAT old???
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