AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The stories told in a new documentary about Bill Murray are the stuff of an off-beat legend, taking the star to a Scottish house party where he washed the dishes, to singing with an accordion player in Slovenia and surprising a guy in a bar bathroom.
The new documentary titled “The Bill Murray Stories” that premiered in the past week at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin seeks the facts and tries to throw in a few life lessons learned from the man along the way.
“The first story I heard was the bathroom, where he puts his hands over someone’s eyes and says, ‘no one will ever believe you’,” Tommy Avallone, the film’s director said.
Although the stories date back to the 1970s, it was not until cell phone cameras proliferated that evidence grew, and more people believed the tales to be true about Murray’s antics.
Take Jordan Goetz, 34, an Austin furniture maker. He hosted a house party, and when the band showed up, so did Bill Murray. In moments captured on cell phone, Murray drank with guests, produced a wad of crumpled bills to buy booze when beer ran out and grabbed a tambourine to jam with the band until police came to quiet the party down.
He then talked to the cops, help negotiate a peaceful resolution and drifted into the night.
Goetz said if he had a choice of winning the lottery or the Bill Murray experience, he would take Murray.
“He’s a homey. I see him in a movie and think he was at my home for four hours by my side chitchatting and hanging out,” Goetz said at the premiere. Murray did not attend the screening.
Other tales in the movie include Murray, 67, tending bar, taking orders, ignoring them and serving whatever was handy. He crashes a kickball game and reads poetry to construction workers.
The interactions are brief but the memories are lasting, said the people who met him.
For the director, the film was about how Murray changed lives and gave people a pleasant story to tell for years to come. He thought about seeking comment from Murray on his motives but decided to focus on the people he affected.
“We never had the intention to sit down and interview him. We looked at the stories as Bigfoot. Do you really want to sit down with Bigfoot and ask him, ‘so what’s up with the woods?’,” Avallone said.
Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Diane Craft
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