On being Bill Murray:
Well, nothing prepared me for being this awesome. It's kind of a shock. It's kind of a shock to wake up every morning and be bathed in this purple light.
No, I like pickles, I put pickles in lots of sandwiches. I'm big on pickles, but I've never had them with peanut butter. I really like peanut butter though. I'm kind of surprised because I like them both so much that I haven't combined them.
I kind of like scientists, in a funny way. Albert Einstein was a pretty cool guy. The thing about Einstein was that he was a theoretical physicist, so they were all theories. He was just a smart guy. I'm kind of interested in genetics though. I think I would have liked to have met Gregor Mendel.
Because he was a monk who just sort of figured this stuff out on his own. That's a higher mind, that's a mind that's connected. They have a vision, and they just sort of see it because they are so connected intellectually and mechanically and spiritually, they can access a higher mind. Mendel was a guy so long ago that I don't necessarily know very much about him, but I know that Einstein did his work in the mountains in Switzerland. I think the altitude had an effect on the way they spoke and thought.
But I would like to know about Mendel, because i remember going to the Philippines and thinking "this is like Mendel's garden" because it had been invaded by so many different countries over the years, and you could see the children shared the genetic traits of all their invaders over the years, and it made for this beautiful varietal garden.
On Broken Flowers:
Well, I did a film with Jim Jarmusch called Broken Flowers, but I really enjoyed that movie. I enjoyed the script that he wrote. He asked me if I could do a movie, and I said "I gotta stay home, but if you make a movie that i could shoot within one hour of my house, I'll do it."
So he found those locations. And I did the movie.
And when it was done, I thought "this movie is so good, I thought I should stop." I didn't think I could do any better than Broken Flowers, it's a film that is completely realized, and beautiful, and I thought I had done all I could do to it as an actor. And then 6-7 months later someone asked me to work again, so I worked again, but for a few months I thought I couldn't do any better than that.
The oddest… well, I was eating at a sushi bar. I would go to sushi bars with a book I had called "Making out in Japanese." it was a small paperback book, with questions like "can we get into the back seat?" "do your parents know about me?" "do you have a curfew?"
And I would say to the sushi chef "Do you have a curfew? Do your parents know about us? And can we get into the back seat?"
And I would always have a lot of fun with that, but that one particular day, he said "would you like some fresh eel?" and I said "yes I would." so he came back with a fresh eel, a live eel, and then he walked back behind a screen and came back in 10 seconds with a no-longer-alive eel. It was the freshest thing I had ever eaten in my life. It was such a funny moment to see something that was alive that no longer was alive, that was my food, in 30 seconds.
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. You think about Dana Carvey, Will, Hartman, all these wonderful funny guys. But the last group with Kristen Wiig and those characters, they 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, improvisational 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, 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, there are definitely some actors in 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.
Does that make sense?
Someone asked "will there be a Garfield 3?"
I don't think so. I had a hilarious experience with Garfield. I only read a few pages of it, and I kind of wanted to do a cartoon movie, because I had looked at the screenplay and it said "Joel Cohen" on it.
And I wasn't thinking clearly, but it was spelled Cohen, not Coen.
I love the Coen brothers movies. I think that Joel Coen is a wonderful comedic mind.
So I didn't really bother to finish the script, I thought "he's great, I'll do it." So then it was months before i got around to actually doing it, and I remember i had to go to a screening room in somewhere, and watch the movie and start working. And because they had had trouble contacting me, they asked my friend Bobby to help corral the whole situation together. So Bobby was there, and you know when you're looping a movie you're rerecording to a picture?
So this was an odd movie because the live footage had been shot, but the cat was still this gray blob onscreen. So I start working with this script and I'm supposed to start re-recording and thinking "I can do a funnier line than that" so I would start changing the dialogue that was written for the cat. Which kind of works, it sort of generally works, but then you realize the cat's over here in a corner sitting on a counter, and I'm trying to think how I can make it make sense. So the other characters are already speaking these lines, and so I'm going "did he really say THAT?" and you're kind of in this endgame of "how do I chess piece myself out of this one?"
So I worked like that with this gray blob and these lines that were already written, trying to unpaint myself out of a corner. I think I worked 6 or 7 hours for one reel? No, 8 hours. And that was for 10 minutes. And we managed to change and affect a great deal.
The next day I came into work and the producer gave me a set of golf clubs, and I thought "that was kind of extreme, especially since I can't go play." And the second reel was even HARDER because the complications of the first ten minutes were triangulated. It was really hard to write my way out of that one. And there were all these people on the other side of the recording studio, and at the end of the reel I was SOAKED In perspiration. I had drunk as much coffee as any columbian ever drank, and I said "you better just show me the rest of the movie." And they showed me the rest of the movie, and there was just this long, 2 minute silence.
And I probably cursed a little, and I said "I can fix this, but I can't fix this today. Or this week. Who wrote this stuff?"
And it appeared that one of the people behind the screen was the misspelled Joel Cohen. And I said "how could you have THAT scene take place before this scene? This can't possibly happen? Who edited this thing?"
And another person behind the glass was the editor of the film. He quit the film that week to go work on another job, so that began a long process of working on the film. I worked the rest of the week on it, and I said "Bobby it is still nowhere near done. But I can't fix it all, we have to try to do this again."
It was sort of like Fantastic Mr Fox without the joy or the fun. We did it twice in California, and once in Italy when I was working on the life Aquatic, we were working on an INSANE place in Italy, with a woman who was a voice from above interrupting everything, I cursed again, and she left to take another job, and that was just the first once.
And we managed to fix it, sort of. It was a big financial success. And I said "just promise me, you'll never do that again." That you'll never shoot the footage without telling me.
And they proceeded to do it again. And the next time, they had been shooting for 5 weeks. And I cursed again. I said "I just asked for one little thing, letting me know." and that one was EVEN HARDER. The second one was beyond rescue, there were too many crazy people involved with it. And I thought I fixed the movie, but the insane director who had formerly done some Spongebob, he would leave me and say "I gotta go, I have a meeting" and he was going to the studio where someone was telling him what it should be, countermanding what I was doing.
They made a movie after that second miscarriage, that went directly to video. So they sort of shot themselves in the foot, the kidneys, the liver and the pancreas on the second one. If you had a finer mind working on them? The girl, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, she was sweet. In the second movie they dressed her like a homeless person. You knew it wasn't gonna go well.
On working with George Clooney and Wes Anderson on The Fantastic Mr. Fox:
Well that was great fun. It was great fun, because it just dragged on and on and on. And it was this fun bunch of people. First we went to our friend's farm, and we all stayed at her place for a handful of days while we recorded during the day and then at night we would have these magnificent meals and we would all tell stories. We had a LOT of great food, a lot of great wine and great stories. It went on until people started literally falling from their chairs and being taken away. And then we had to go to another place and do it again, we went to George's place, but then something happen and the whole party broke up, and George said "you don't have to go, do ya" and I didn't, so we just kicked around Northern Italy for a while. It was a real fiesta. And then Wes was working in England, so I had to fly to England for like 3 days to re-record, but the re-recording only took about 70 minutes, so that was fun. And then I had to go to Paris, once again, another disaster having to go to Paris to re-record for 20 minutes. It was a terrible, terrible experience. That was a really good job and he did a great job on the film. And Wes' brother Eric did a great job as the character, he was just amazing. To me he was the high point of the whole thing. And the artisans working in England that built all those sets and did all that work, the mechanicals, to see them work - that was like a treasure. That was like getting to go backstage to see the finest artists at work.
On having a deaf/mute assistant:
Well, we didn't part well. I don't communicate with her, she was a she. I was sort of ambitious thinking that I could hire someone that had the intelligence to do a job but didn't have necessarily speech or couldn't quite hear or spoke in sign language. She was a bright person and witty but she had never been away from her home before and even though I tried to accommodate more than I understood when I first hired her, she was very young in her emotional self and the emotional component of being away from her home was lacking. I tried my best, but I was working all day. She was lovely and very smart, but there's a lot of frustration when you meet people who can't speak well. Being completely disabled in that area causes a great amount of frustration, and this was going back 30 years or so before ether were the educational components that there are today. It didn't go particularly well for me, but for a few weeks she really was a light and had a real spirit to her. She was like one of your own kids that never had a job, and then they get a job and realize that certain things are expected, and you can't react to everything you don't like or care about. So the first time you have a job and someone says "you have to do this" - it was more complicated than she imagined. We were both optimistic, but it was harder than either of us expected to make it work.
My favorite place to play golf is in Ireland. that's where my ancestors come from, and it's the most beautiful country to play golf in, and when you come as a guest to play golf you are treated like a king.
And the last place I played golf? Well the last place I can think of is I was working on a job in Hawaii with Emma Stone, and one day I got to play golf at a place called Weilea on a place called Oahu. I played with Scott Simpson, and I played with 3 other great, great Hawaiian guys who were SO much fun and so positive, and one was the club champion. And when you play with great players, you play better, it just elevates your game. A high tide raises all boats, you've heard that one?
I played so well, I won $50. Winning $50 playing golf? That's money. So I won $50, and they couldn't believe I could putt, and that I didn't choke. We played into the sunset on the pacific ocean, with leaning palm trees, laughing the entire time.
But then this very positive group of people said on the next day, "we want to take you on a outrigger canoe to go surfing waves in the pacific."
It was delirious. It was something everyone should get a chance to do.
That was a round of golf, where it went EVEN further. And they now are my friends.
And I went from the surf, to the plane, and that was the end of my job. I was all salty, I had a lei around my neck, I was charmed.
[image via AP]