Bill Murray the San Diego Comic-Con on July 9, 2015 (Photo: Associated Press)
Bill Murray made his first-ever appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday, kicking off the annual fan festival with a surprise appearance at a panel about his upcoming comedy Rock the Kasbah. And the 64-year-old actor had no problem fitting right in.
Taking the stage dressed as his Kasbah character — an old-school rock manager named Richie Lanz — Murray delighted the audience with anecdotes about both his upcoming projects and his long filmography. The actor, who’s been known to croon a tune in his decades-long career, also caused a brief but enchanting ruckus by asking the audience to sing their own favorite songs in unison for 30 seconds, creating a cacophony that the panel’s host, MTV correspondent Josh Horowitz, called a new art form.
Rock the Kasbah, directed by Barry Levinson, features Murray as Lanz, a washed-up manager who finds himself penniless in Afghanistan. The film co-stars Zooey Deschanel and Bruce Willis, with whom Murray shared a small dusty trailer with on the film’s Morocco set. At one point, Willis revealed that he’d been a page at Saturday Night Live during Murray’s years on the show, making him “a glorified go-fer,” and that Murray and Gilda Radner were the only ones that were nice to him.
Murray — fresh from a trip with singer Jenny Lewis to see the final Grateful Dead concert — also discussed his upcoming Christmas special on Netflix, which he co-wrote with his Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola. There are several musical numbers throughout the program, including one sung by Miley Cyrus.
“Miley Cyrus is really f——ng good,” he said. “She can really sing. I thought she was a knucklehead crazy girl who you’d want to go on a road trip with, maybe with no ID, but she floored everyone. So I don’t wanna hear anymore bad rapping of Miley Cyrus.”
At one point, Horowitz asked whether Murray had been in contention to play Han Solo in Star Wars in the ‘70s — a rumor that’s followed the actor for years. He also asked Murray if he would consider trying out for the role in the new Solo spin-off prequel that was just announced by Lucasfilm.
“It’s a big moment for me,” Murray said. “I don’t know if I was up for [the original Star Wars film] — I can’t tell you for sure. But I am working out in hopes of getting this new thing. I’m doing a lot of swimming and pilates.”
Murray greeting Comic-Con fans (Photo: AP)
During the audience Q&A, a fan asked Murray about the veracity of rumors that he wanders around cities and whispers the phrase “No one will ever believe you” in the ears of unsuspecting pedestrians.
“I don’t know what he was talking about,” he said, mugging for the camera. “It sounds like fun though, doesn’t it?”
Another fan, dressed in a Ghostbusters shirt, asked Murray about his favorite role. “Once upon a time I did save the city of New York. And I had the coolest damn car to drive around Manhattan.,” the actor replied.
Mitch Glazer, Murray’s friend and the Rock the Kasbah writer, did tell one amusing anecdote: His wife, Kelly Lynch, co-starred in the film Road House with Patrick Swayze, and whenever the film was on TV, Murray would call him with an important message.
“He actually once called me from Russia to say, ‘Your wife is banging Patrick Swayze,’” Glazer remembered.