If you look up the term “eccentric” in a dictionary, Bill Murray’s picture should be there. It’s not, but it still ought to be, given that no other person we can think of embodies the spirit of this word so wholly and delightfully. Truly, if you think his characters are hilarious oddballs, it’s only because he typecasts himself so wonderfully.
For those who were paying attention, we did say he ‘casts himself.’ This is perhaps not entirely accurate, though only because it isn’t the full story. You see, Bill Murray has no agent or representative manager. Though we don’t doubt that virtually every agent in Hollywood would trade a limb for the chance to represent him, Mr. Murray has gone a different direction. He’s always made his own path, however, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any devoted fans out there. Thus, he created the mysterious 1-800 number.
While we can’t tell you exactly what he uses to make his final decisions about which films interest him, we can give you a few tips. Firstly, he is hilariously bizarre. Should you manage to contact him, it’s not likely to be the simple yes or no you might wish for. If the stories are true, any interaction you might have is bound to be unusual, inspiring, intriguing, infuriating, and hopefully, it will be as enjoyable for you as it is for Bill himself.
Before we get back to the legendary phone line and how to use it, there are some other legends about Bill Murray that are equally true. Though all of them sound like the stuff of legends. Mr. Murray has an abiding interest in and deep care for his fellow humans. So much so that he spends more time with them than you might expect. Most Hollywood stars are reclusive when they aren’t intentionally seeking publicity. They may attend the best parties, but only because there’s security at the door to keep out the mundanes who want to rub elbows.
Even in Hollywood, people can go a lifetime without ever getting more than passing glimpses of a celebrity, especially one as well known as Bill Murray. There’s sound logic behind this. After all, when the whole world wants five minutes of your time, you run out of time for yourself very quickly.
Realistically, even stars who are utterly devoted and grateful to their fan base can’t live every moment signing autographs and listening to sob stories, pickup lines, and aspiring writers with unsolicited scripts for them to read. Resultantly, celebrities end up cut off from ordinary people.
A Different Mind, A Different Approach
Bill Murray, unlike most, has a habit of dropping in on regular folks. Mind you, these visits are not scheduled, nor can you buy them. He is not running the comedians version of Make-A-Wish. In fact, it seems that he just genuinely enjoys interacting with people.
New Jersey-based filmmaker Tommy Avallone turned up a number of stories about Bills unique and enjoyable visits in the ‘real world,’ while working on his Ghostheads documentary. As a result, he began work on The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man. Apparently, despite his denials, the comedian does indeed randomly drop in on people when the mood strikes.
Certainly, not every story is true. Avallone expected most or all of them to turn out to be nothing more than hype and maybe a bit of self-important embellishment. As it turns out, that’s not the case at all. Like the 1-800 number, most of the stories about Bill Murray seem to be true.
The Man Without A Phone
The truth is that no one is going to give you Bill Murrays 1-800 number. There’s very little chance you can offer him anything he wants enough to be in a film. He does have a regular phone, but if you think getting the 800 number is difficult, you might as well forget that he has a telephone.
Truth be told, he says that he only uses his cell phone with his friends and family. Even if you could simply call him up, it wouldn’t endear you to him. A new phone number is cheap, but it’s also a moderate hassle. Moreover, he knows how to text and uses his iPad when he feels like playing games. He also probably puts his pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us. Calling someone up randomly isn’t okay, and Bill values good manners.
The Winning Number
When you have finally written the next blockbuster movie, and you need that perfect, iconic comedian to play the role, there are just a few names in your dream-cast list. Most of them won’t even consider talking to you without a powerful connection. Mr. Murray might.
In order to get a positive response, you need four things. First, excellent manners. It may not be something people often think about, but manners will open doors. Second, a sense of humor and willingness to jump through some humorous hoops. Third, patience. Bill Murray will call, or have someone call when he’s ready and able to take a role. Lastly, you need a role that amuses him or gives him a unique experience that he wants.
Assuming you’re as brilliant, patient, polite, willing, and entertaining as you think you are, then you might have a shot. Of course, you still won’t have the number. Every star has to have a way to weed out the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, an agent or manager isn’t always the best way to handle the issue. They have personal agendas. Plus, they make more money and get better clients the harder they push you to succeed.
When you need to guarantee that the people calling you deserve your attention, having a top secret, nearly fictional, message-only, phone line is the best way to accomplish your goal. For Bill Murray, it’s just another part of his exotic and self-amused right to choose how he keeps the riff-raff out. Or how he lets them in if he prefers. If you ever do write that perfect screenplay and find someone to fund the project, we wish you the best of luck convincing Bill Murray’s answering machine that he should consider it. You never know, he may even agree.