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Robert Downey Jr. Wanted Bill Murray For 'Iron Man' But, Of Course, He Was Impossible To Get In Touch With

The Playlist By Simon Dang | The Playlist May 31, 2012 at 11:20AM

Bill Murray is know for not having an agent, and if you want to get in touch with him, the word is that he's got a 1-800 number where you can leave a message, and if he feels like calling you back, then he will (if you have it, please send it to us, thanks). Thus, every time he stars in a film, there's generally a humorous tale about how the project managed break the communication barrier and/or how there was concern that he might not actually show up. For instance, after months of answering machine messages, Sofia Coppola resorted to cold-calling Al Pacino in the hope that he (who Coppola heard lived in the same region as Murray) could put her in touch with him for "Lost In Translation." Then, even after meeting Murray through Mitch Glazer, Coppola only had a verbal agreement from the actor and didn't hear from him again until he miraculously showed up in Tokyo a week before lensing began. Now comes another Murray tale of frustration and answering machines via Robert Downey Jr.
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Murray Downey Jr Iron Man

Bill Murray is know for not having an agent, and if you want to get in touch with him, the word is that he's got a 1-800 number where you can leave a message, and if he feels like calling you back, then he will (if you have it, please send it to us, thanks). Thus, every time he stars in a film, there's generally a humorous tale about how the project managed break the communication barrier and/or how there was concern that he might not actually show up. For instance, after months of answering machine messages, Sofia Coppola resorted to cold-calling Al Pacino in the hope that he (who Coppola heard lived in the same region as Murray) could put her in touch with him for "Lost In Translation." Then, even after meeting Murray through Mitch Glazer, Coppola only had a verbal agreement from the actor and didn't hear from him again until he miraculously showed up in Tokyo a week before lensing began. Now comes another Murray tale of frustration and answering machines via Robert Downey Jr.

In an interview with Esquire, reporter Scott Raab shared a little anecdote with Murray: "Downey told me: 'We wanted Bill to consider a role in 'Iron Man,' but nobody could find him.' Show people are awestruck by your inaccessibility."

"I'm not trying to be coy. It's just practical for me," Murray explained. "When the phone started ringing too many times, I had to take it back to what I can handle. I take my chances on a job or a person as opposed to a situation. I don't like to have a situation placed over my head... To the degree that I can get the things that want to control me out of the way, then there's less stuff in my field of vision. Then I can work."

Murray in "Iron Man"? His quirky style would probably fit well with the Marvel franchise, but what role did Downey Jr. have in mind for him? Maybe Tony Stark's second-in-command Obadiah Stane (eventually played by Jeff Bridges) or perhaps the voice of Stark's sidekick J.A.R.V.I.S.? The imagination reels....

Murray is currently starring in regular collaborator Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and will be seen later this year as Franklin Roosevelt in Roger Michell's "Hyde Park On Hudson," which Murray noted "was the first time I've actually had a full-on movie role in several years. I guess I did 'Get Low.' But that was not a long job. And then I had 'Zombieland' right on top of it. 'Zombieland' came out of nowhere. It was like putting on an old coat and finding a couple hundred dollars in it."

Finally, one more tale to add to the enigmatic image of Murray. Spotted by a few fans with a camera handy, Murray declined the request for a signature, instead agreeing to participate in a short film depicting the group walking in slow motion -- except the actor apparently insisted the slo-mo was performed in real time instead of being done in post-production. Here's the resulting Wes Anderson-inspired video. [via HuffingtonPost].

This article is related to: Bill Murray, Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man, Hyde Park On Hudson


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