Bill Murray Won The Lead Part In Monsters Inc., But No One Could Reach Him
We've told you before about the strange conundrum facing any filmmaker who wants to reach Bill Murray. With most actors, you get in touch with their agent (which may be a challenge in itself), but since 2000, Bill Murray has had no agent. What he's had is a phone service, a 1-800 number. If you manage to get ahold of this number, you can dial it and receive a generic prerecorded message that does not even identify the number as Murray's. Then you can leave a message of your own and just hope that he will get around to hearing it eventually.
Surely, this can't be the actor's genuine idea of the best way to get parts. Possibly, this whole phone service idea is Bill Murray being a troll. Possibly, it's his way of ensuring that no one can really get in touch with him except for people he already knows. We imagine that, for example, Wes Anderson has access to some direct line or an assistant's email address.
And yet there have been cases when people—people with whom Murray was already in contact—wanted to reach him, and they had no means other than this 1-800 number. They left a message, Murray never responded, and that was the end of that relationship.
In 2000 (the very year he first dispensed with agents), Murray did a screen test for the part of Sully in Monsters Inc. How Pixar initially got in touch with him to offer him the audition, we don't know. But with the screen tests done, the job of telling Bill Murray he got the part fell on writer-director Pete Docter. He dialed the 1-800 number and left the good news.
He never heard back. Which he took to mean that Murray didn't want to voice Sully after all, but the man had come in and read for the part, so you can assume he was interested in it. Pixar ended up going with John Goodman for the role. That was probably for the best. Bill Murray's funny, sure, but we don't know if has the life experience to properly portray an 8-foot, 800-pound blue monster.
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For more Murray tales, check out:
Nobody Knows If Bill Murray Will Be In A Movie Until The First Day Of Shooting
Bill Murray Got Caught Smuggling Marijuana Because He Joked About Carrying A Bomb
Hunter S. Thompson Nearly Killed Bill Murray Playing Houdini (And Together Tried To Launch Shotgun Golf)