Bill Murray also said no to the role of Buzz Lightyear, so how on Earth did he end up agreeing to voice the title role in Garfield, a pathetically lazy cash-in about the fat cat who hates Mondays, loves lasagna, and was assassinated by a rabid Odie?
The script somehow ended up in front of Murray, and having never done voice acting before, he wanted to challenge himself with something new (and he probably didn't want to miss out on being the next Buzz Lightyear, either). He flipped through the first few pages and found them acceptable, and more importantly, he was intrigued by the big name on the byline -- Joel Coen. Miller's Crossing, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Fargo, Garfield ... that's a natural career progression, right? "Christ, well, I love those Coens! They're funny," Murray thought to himself, before turning down the low-paying role. Then they offered him significantly more money and he accepted, because pushing yourself artistically is a lot more rewarding when you can buy a new yacht afterward.
20th Century FoxHe better have gotten battleship money for the sequel.
Murray went in to record his lines, only to notice that the script was getting dumber and dumber with every page. He tried to improvise and improve the dialogue, but that was like bailing out the Titanic with a teaspoon. Eventually he asked to see footage and was flabbergasted by how terrible it was. He demanded to know how Joel Coen, beloved auteur, had assembled such a cinematic monstrosity, only to be informed that the film had been written by Joel Cohen, one of the scribes behind Monster Mash: The Movie and the Cheaper By The Dozen remake. The fact that no one recorded Murray's reaction to this revelation will haunt us until our dying day.
There are many lessons to be learned here about the importance of always paying close attention to your work, but mostly we just want to know how Bill Murray could have possibly thought that Joel Coen was working on freaking Garfield. Although we really want to see the Coen Brothers' Garfield now, so maybe that was Murray's plan all along.