Bill Murray will not appear in Asteroid City, the latest film from Wes Anderson — despite Murray’s consecutive appearances in the last nine Anderson films.
Murray, who recently led Anderson’s 2020 film The French Dispatch, was noticeably missing from an Asteroid City cast announcement Wednesday, that includes a jaw-dropping list of actors: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Ed Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Stephen Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Tony Revolori, Jake Ryan, Grace Edwards, Aristou Meehan, Sophia Lillis, Ethan Lee, Jeff Goldblum, Rita Wilson and more.
Murray’s lack of involvement came as a surprise especially because he appeared with Anderson and several actors in the Asteroid City cast during a remote Q&A from Spain last fall at the 59th New York Film Festival. Asteroid City was expected to be their tenth project together. In last year’s The French Dispatch, Murray played Arthur Howitzer, Jr., editor in chief of a fictional magazine. His first Anderson film was 1998’s Rushmore.
Focus Features listed the cast in a news release Wednesday celebrating its first collaboration with Anderson and Indian Paintbrush in 10 years. Their last was 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom. Focus reps confirmed to MovieMaker that Murray will not take part in the new film.
The release described Asteroid City as a “poetic meditation on the meaning of life. It tells the story of a fictional American desert town circa 1955 and its Junior Stargazer convention, which brings together students and parents from across the country for scholarly competition, rest/recreation, comedy, drama, romance, and more.”
A representative for Murray did not immediately respond to a question Wednesday about whether his absence from Asteroid City was related to a situation in April in which Searchlight Pictures halted production on Aziz Ansari’s new film Being Mortal after a complaint was lodged against Murray accusing him of inappropriate behavior on set.
Production on the film never resumed, but Murray addressed the situation during an appearance on CNBC.
“I did something I thought was funny, and it wasn’t taken that way,” Murray said. “The company, the movie studio, wanted to do the right thing, so they wanted to check it all out, investigate it, and so they stopped the production. But as of now, we’re talking and we’re trying to make peace with each other. I think that’s where the real issue is, between our peace. We’re both professionals. We like each other’s work. We like each other, I think, and if you can’t really get along and trust each other, there’s no point in going further working together or making a movie as well.”
Murray’s Being Mortal co-star, Keke Palmer, addressed the matter last night with Deadline on the red carpet for her new Jordan Peele film, Nope.
“I had a wonderful time filming,” Palmer said. “Aziz Ansari is one of the coolest people that I ever met. That was the coolest experience, but I don’t know anything more than that.”
Main image: Bill Murray in The French Dispatch, by Wes Anderson.