Bill Murray, via Facebook
In advance of his latest film “The Monuments Men,” which opens February 7, Wilmette’s favorite son Bill Murray (the real deal — see photo) briefly answered questions Friday via Reddit.com. Among other topics, he held forth on his “first great influence,” the current cast of “Saturday Night Live” and the importance of improv.
Go here for the whole back-and-forth. See below for his answers on the above, slightly edited for clarity.
On his first great influence: “My brother Brian [Doyle Murray] was my first great influence. He made much of what I am possible. To this day, if I have a question about something ethical or about being an actor or entertainer or a person or something like that, he’s a person who helped form me. Shooting scenes with him is delightful. The idea that the two of us get to entertain is a kick.”
On the current cast of “Saturday Night Live” and the importance of improvisation: “They’re good. I don’t know them as well as I knew the previous one. But I really feel like the previous cast — that was the best group since the original group. They were my favorite group. Some really talented people that were all comedians of some kind or another… [T]hey were a bunch of actors and their stuff was just different. It’s all about the writing, the writing is such a challenge and you are trying to write backwards to fit 90 minutes between dress rehearsal and the airing. And sometimes the writers don’t get the whole thing figured out; it’s not like a play where you can rehearse it several times. So good actors — and those were really good actors, and there are some great actors in this current group as well, I might add — they seem to be able to solve writing problems. [I]mprovisational actors can solve them on their feet. They can solve it during the performance and make a scene work. It’s not like we were improvising when we made the shows [at SNL], but you could feel ways to make things better. And when you get into the third dimension, as opposed to the printed page, you can see ways to solve things and write things live that other sorts of professionals don’t necessarily have. And that’s why I like that previous group. So this group…I see them working in the same way and making scenes go. They really roll very nicely, they have great momentum, and it seems like they are calm in the moment.”