By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 3, 2011 at 9:44AM
That's right. Peter Venkman is getting all presidential on us. In case you forgot, Bill Murray has gone ahead and done something more interesting than reading the "Ghostbusters 3" script, taking the role of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the upcoming period piece "Hyde Park On Hudson."
Written by Richard Nelson—who adapted his own 2009 radio play—the story focuses on a rather curious moment in FDR’s life. The movie is set over a weekend in 1939 when Brit royalty visits his upstate New York home for the weekend, and will shed light on his affair with his cousin Margaret Stuckley. In a "Rushmore" reunion of sorts, Olivia Williams plays FDR's wife, Eleanor. Laura Linney plays Margaret in the project, while British actors Samuel West and Olivia Colman (currently earning raves for "Tyrannosaur") are stepping into the shoes of King George and Queen Elizabeth. Roger Michell (”Morning Glory,” “Notting Hill”) is directing and he confirms what Dan Aykroyd already knows -- getting Murray to sign on to anything is a challenge.
"It was a very complicated dance and made life difficult for me while prepping the film," Michell told USA Today who unveiled the first look at the film. "I wouldn't have done it without him. But after a year of waiting, I received a wonderful text that said, 'Yes, I'll do it.' "
And it seems Murray fully embraced the project, delving deep into research to get the portrayal of the President down properly. "We put Bill in touch with people who have polio and with a physiotherapist, who made calipers and taught him how to walk with them," the director said. "He captured the voice of the man, the tilt of his chin, that trademark cigarette holder and his way of spreading confidence."
But it looks like the dramatic film will also have it's fair share of humor too -- with one notable sequence said to be centered around, of all things, a hot dog. "The hot dogs are an integral part of the story," he explains. "The conundrum is explored of whether the royals should publicly eat a hot dog and possibly be set up for ridicule by consuming a strange and slightly socially embarrassing object."
So, can Murray pull off the role? We'd vote for him. No release date yet, but "Hyde Park On Hudson" is expected to hit theaters next summer.