Bill Murray. Simply typing or saying the name likely conjures a wide variety of cinematic memories for anyone within the general vicinity of a television or computer over the past several decades, decades practically stacked with Bill classics. With his very first (and hopefully not last) Netflix holiday special, the ingeniously titled A Very Murray Christmas, now just weeks away from arrival, Bill is gracing the cover of Vanity Fair with his usual whimsy. Dude’s a god, so the fact that this quickly becomes a god-level interview (conducted by frequent collaborator Mitch Glazer) isn’t surprising.
On fame and growing aware of the "legend" of Bill Murray:
You know, being famous is obviously not a Devil’s deal. I love the opportunity to work. It’s the thing I do best. I’m a much better person when I’m working. I’m at my absolute best, because it’s the ultimate terror. It’s the ultimate terror that I will not arrive, the ultimate terror that I am not. You know? That I am not. But I don’t feel that needy for the celebrity part of it. You have your inside voice, and you have your outside voice, like little kids. Well, my outside voice is the ‘Bill Murray’ that people know. And my inside voice is—is me.
On the critical success of his collaborations with Sofia Coppola:
People say, ‘Well, how do you collaborate with someone? Isn’t it your point of view?’ No, no. Real people know that anyone can have the great idea. Anyone can have the great idea, and real people see the great idea instantly. They don’t hold on to theirs anymore; they see a great idea, whether it helps, instantly. People with real talent, they don’t worry about that stuff. It’s the people with not enough talent that you argue with.
On A Very Murray Christmas:
George [Clooney] is coming in from his day off from working on a movie in town. I mean, he looks like such an insane, crazy-handsome, beautiful movie star—it’s ridiculous. I just start laughing. Because he just turned on the lights in that tux, and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ And he got out of this crazy sleigh pulled by, like, go-go dancers dressed as reindeer. I waited months before looking at any of the stuff we shot. Months. I mean, I wasn’t frightened, because I knew—I knew we really were great. I knew everyone was amazing. And in the moment of making it all, I thought, Holy cow. I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve never felt this way, done anything like this.
On the holidays, in general:
Christmas was just waking up and feeling that feeling of Oh my God, life is good. People have been thinking about me. And my brothers that have hit me in the head have bought me a present. It was a free zone. Everybody’s in a good mood. There was no fighting. And whatever wrongs you’ve committed during the course of the year are all forgotten on that day. Which is its own little miracle.
However, one of the most Bill-esque moments in the interview centers around Glazer's account of how Rick Ross (certainly no stranger to the Bill Murray turn-up) apparently bailed on playing Santa Claus in A Very Murray Christmas. In a budget-strapped panic, Bill and the team decided to enlist Miley Cyrus and some dude named George Clooney to save the day:
Rick is playing Santa Claus and rapping to Albert King’s classic "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’" for our Netflix holiday special, A Very Murray Christmas, which will debut on December 4. But Rick Ross is missing. And apparently it’s my fault.
We Marx Brothers into Cyrus’s dressing room and spring the idea to her of doing a completely new, live, and unrehearsed tune with [Paul] Shaffer on piano. Cyrus grins. “Sure; sounds good,” she says and, after learning the lyrics off her cell phone, hops on Shaffer’s piano and proceeds to deliver, live in the room, a soaring and soulful version of “Silent Night.”
Read the entire interview, which is more than worth your time, here.