No laughing matter: Bill Murray at centre of hush-hush Hollywood scandal

Bill Murray isn't saying what he did that stopped filming of <i>Being Mortal</i>.

Bill Murray isn't saying what he did that stopped filming of Being Mortal.

Hollywood is buzzing with rumours about an on-set incident involving comedian Bill Murray and an unnamed woman that has stopped production of the veteran star’s latest movie.

The 71-year-old Golden Globe winner has acknowledged his behaviour sparked a complaint by the woman and led directly to the project being suspended for an ongoing studio investigation.

In his first comments about the shutdown of the film Being Mortal, Murray described the incident as a “difference of opinion” but declined to provide specifics.

“I did something I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way,” he told CNBC during an interview at the annual shareholders meeting for multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway.

“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.”

Murray said he and the unnamed woman are talking it through and “trying to make peace with each other”.

Future in doubt

He did not say when or if production would resume and whether he would continue to take part in the film.

“We’re both professionals,” Murray said of the woman.

“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.”

The Ghostbusters and Caddyshack star, who won the 2003 best actor Golden Globe for Lost in Translation, suggested the changing nature of what is considered appropriate humour was a factor.

“It’s been quite an education for me,” he said. “The world is different than it was when I was a little kid.

“What I always thought was funny as a little kid isn’t necessarily the same as what’s funny now.

“Things change and the times change, so it’s important for me to figure it out.

“It’s a sad dog that can’t learn anymore. I don’t want to be that sad dog.”

Complaint under wraps

Searchlight Pictures has confirmed production was suspended but has so far declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing inquiry.

The entertainment website Deadline reported a complaint against Murray was filed earlier this month and production was halted last week.

Being Mortal stars Murray, Seth Rogen, Keke Palmer and Aziz Ansari, who is writing, directing and producing the movie. Production started in Los Angeles in March and the film was slated to be released in cinemas next year.

The film is based on surgeon and author Dr Atul Gawande’s 2014 non-fiction book on end-of-life care, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.


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