Golfer, actor and anecdote enthusiast Bill Murray is the kind of man who excels at interviews, recently turning The Graham Norton Show into some sort of carnival. But how did he fare when he was faced with Empire's own particular set of silly questions? Find out below.
This interview originally ran in issue 278 of Empire magazine. Subscribe to Empire magazine to read our Pint of Milk interviews every month!
How much is a pint of milk?
Well, let's see. I think a gallon of milk is, like, $3.40. There's two pints in a quart, four quarts in a gallon. If you got a quart of milk, it would probably cost about a buck ten. And then a pint of milk would be a half of that. So it would probably be in the 65, 75 per cent range. I remember an interview with Paul Newman where he said, "Life can take you away from finding out what a loaf of bread costs." I was in that zone for a while; now I'm back at knowing my prices. You know the show The Price Is Right? I used to be able to get those cold. Now I have no idea. What does a bedroom set cost? What does a fake fireplace cost? I have no idea.
What film have you seen more than any other?
It's a dead heat, probably. I've seen Yankee Doodle Dandy many, many times. James Cagnet as George M. Cohan. But the other one is North By Northwest. I always just thought Cary Grant was the coolest. His chops were so crisp and so clean. And then you throw in Hitchcock and you've pretty much got his ticket.
What is your earliest memory?
I don't remember.
Who were you in your first school play?
I'm still bitter about this. It was a grade-school nativity play and I was beaten out for the role of the innkeeper. I don't know why I wasn't chosen as Joseph, but I suppose I wasn't holy at the time. So I almost got the innkeeper, but Matt Klein got it instead. I ended up being in the choir and we had to wear these cardboard halos.
What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and you were Bruce Willis?
Well, I just found out he has a six week-old baby, so I'd probably try to get another 45 minutes of sleep.
Have you ever been starstruck?
Yes, as a matter of fact, once. Cary Grant. I went to dinner with my agent – I was a movie star, a big shot, in my mind – and there across the restaurant was Cary Grant. I was gobsmacked. It was everything I could do to not get up and walk over to his table. But I didn't. I just held it together. And as he left the restaurant, he gave me a look that said, "That was cool. I know what you were doing. I know what you felt. And you sat here and didn't do it. And that was cool." I thought, "I did the right thing." Later I met someone who told me, "Yeah, he knew you and he liked you. He thought your movies were good."
When did you last walk out of a movie?
Primary Colours. I despised it.
Do you have a nickname?
Danny (Aykroyd) used The Murricane. (Laughs) I don't know if I can live up to that. Otherwise, a few people call me Sleepy. When I was a little kid playing baseball, my manager called me Sleepy. And only a few people, who know me from way, way back, call me that still. I used to drift off and that's why they made me the catcher, so I wouldn't fall asleep. That gift I have still.
When was the last time you used public transport?
Let's see. The other day I flew to Philadelphia, and rather than taking a cab into the city I walked several hundred yards and got on the train. I like doing that. It's self-normalising. I like taking the bus. It's not crowded and you're above everything so you can see the sights. You even get your own bus lane - I didn't realise that. I like taking subways, too. People are always like, "What are YOU doing here?" I go, "It's the fastest way to get to Yankee Stadium."
What is your speciality subject?
I know a fair amount about golf. I know a little about taking care of myself physically. Like if someone's got a problem, I'm sort of a doctor. When I see people that aren't well, I cure them. I have all kinds of cures.
Is God a man with a big, white beard?
That's just one of his outfits.