Bill Murray can get away with a lot due to pure charm, but there are limits even for a comedy icon — like when he’s late-night joy riding in an Alfa Romeo convertible and getting pulled over by New York’s finest.
Murray drove around a “souped-up” car making writer/director Sofia Coppola’s new dramedy “On the Rocks” (in select theaters Oct. 2, streaming on Apple TV+ Oct. 23) and “when you gunned it, it roared around a little bit and made a lot of noise and the local cop on the beat, he took exception,” Murray said in a virtual Q&A session Wednesday as part of the New York Film Festival.
“He thought I skidded, too, which I kind of did but it was a controlled skid. Come on. It was wet out and we went down the streets in the rain, and when you hit the bricks in Soho, you move a little bit.”
Felix, Murray’s character in “On the Rocks,” actually talks himself out of that situation. A wheeler and dealer in the worldwide art scene, Felix is a playboy sort of guy with definite thoughts about gender dynamics — and a flirt with anybody lacking a Y chromosome — but he does love his daughter Laura (Rashida Jones). And when it seems her husband (Marlon Wayans) might be stepping out on her, Felix takes action, and there are some hilarious daddy/daughter stakeouts as well as moving conversations.
“I don’t feel like you have quite seen a father/daughter relationship like this in a movie,” Jones said. “A lot of women relate to this: There’s a generational difference in communication, and you love your dad and you respect them and you see the world through their eyes, and then you become a woman and you realize that maybe you have a different idea of how the world works.”
Coppola, who directed Murray to an Oscar nomination in 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” was inspired for her new movie by talks about men, women and relationships with her own father, legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola: “I have memories as a young woman, like in my 20s, having martinis with my dad. There’d be some guy that I thought liked me and then he disappeared and I didn’t understand. And he was like, ‘Well, let me tell you how some men think about things.’”
She sold “On the Rocks” to Murray by telling him he’d be working with Jones — they previously shared the screen in Coppola’s “A Very Murray Christmas” for Netflix five years ago. “I thought, ‘Great. I’m due for that kind of romantic film,’” Murray quipped. “And then she told me, ‘She’s with Marlon, man. She’s not with you. You’re the dad.’ I’m still not right.”
Coppola admitted she “was always nervous” to do another movie with Murray ”because people loved him” in “Lost in Translation.” “I feel so lucky that Bill shows up and puts his heart into what we’re doing.” And with “On the Rocks,” Murray also felt like an extra assistant director at times, or a big brother, “just trying to keep order in the court. It was kind of a tough job because there were scenes with lots of kids, so it was kind of crowd control.”
Murray already is envisioning a series of movies a la “The Thin Man” with Jones where they go on adventures. “It’s going to be really great. Look for it. It’s coming.”
And Coppola already has a sequel title: “Make It a Double.”
NOTE: “On the Rocks” opens Oct. 2 at Chicago’s Landmark Century theater.
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