Keke Palmer says Being Mortal would need “a major rewrite” after complaint about Bill Murray

Keke Palmer
Keke Palmer

Back in April, production on Aziz Ansari’s directorial debut Being Mortal was shut down over a complaint about someone’s behavior on-set—and with only about a month of shooting left to go. Filming has not yet resumed on the project, but since then we’ve learned that the complaint was about “inappropriate” behavior from cast member Bill Murray. Later, Murray explained, “I did something I thought was funny, and it wasn’t taken that way,” with him also saying that whatever had happened had involved a woman he was working with and that he was trying to “make peace” with her so they could finish the film.

We still don’t know—and probably never will know—what exactly happened or who all was involved, but we do know that Being Mortal was also set to star Keke Palmer, and speaking with Variety today at the Academy Museum Gala in Los Angeles, she suggested that the movie is probably dead now. Asked about the lengthy shutdown, Palmer said that “if somebody could figure it out, it would be Aziz” and that she’s “pretty devastated” by what happened because “it’s an amazing film.” She said she’d “want to do it” if there were some way to “complete it, salvage it,” but she doesn’t seem to have much confidence.

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Variety’s Marc Malkin set her up to get specific (there’s a video on Variety’s story), but Palmer declined to specifically mention Murray and simply noted that Ansari would “probably have to do a major rewrite” in order to finish the movie. What she’s saying implies that Murray is so integral to the movie as it is that you can’t just cut him out, but the fact that she’s saying she’d do anything she could to “salvage it” but is only offering a “major rewrite” as a suggestion seems to indicate that she has no interest in continuing on with Murray. (Though that’s all conjecture from us.)

Either way, all of this sounds like bad news for the future of Being Mortal, which was supposed to be a fictionalized version of Atul Gawande’s memoir of the same name. The book details his life as a doctor and how modern society handles end-of-life care, and the movie probably would have as well.