Tom Hanks Plays Bill Murray in New Wes Anderson Film

Hanks’ role in ‘Asteroid City’ is positively Murrayish
Tom Hanks Plays Bill Murray in New Wes Anderson Film

Wes Anderson has a new movie coming in June and by the looks of things, it’s a Wes Anderson movie all right. Images plucked from vintage postcards. Technology imported from the 1950s. Jason Schwartzman doing Jason Schwartzman things.

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But wait — something’s missing. Why, it’s Bill Murray. Calling him a veteran of Anderson films understates it. He’s practically a fixture. Murray wasn’t in Anderson’s debut, Bottle Rocket, but he hasn’t missed a Wes flick since, playing roles big and small in Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs, and The French Dispatch. So where the hell is Murray in Asteroid City? Oh, there he is — he’s just being played by Tom Hanks.

It’s no coincidence. Murray was slated to show up again in Asteroid City in what would have been his tenth collaboration with Anderson. But Murray dropped out of the production last July, thanks to testing positive for COVID-19. But is that really what happened? In the few months after bailing on Anderson’s movie, a flurry of stories surfaced. Murray was the guy who: 

  • Had to pay $100,000 to a woman on the production staff of Being Mortal, the movie that would have been Aziz Ansari’s directorial debut. Thanks to Murray’s unwelcome kisses and embraces, delivered under the guise of just kidding, Ansari’s movie was scrapped;
  • Was the subject of creepy Geena Davis stories from their Quick Change movie, including Murray screaming fits and encounters with a vibrating massager; 
  • Got dunked on by Seth Green and Rob Schneider, emboldened by others revealing their gross Bill Murray stories and deciding to make some podcast hay.

While Variety reported that Steve Carell was technically taking over the Murray role, critics and audiences believe it’s Hanks who’s embodying his spiritual essence. 

At the very least, Hanks is filling the Murray mustache void. 

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