Bill Murray ‘kissed and straddled’ crew member on shut-down movie Being Mortal

Almost six months after Bill Murray’s alleged “inappropriate behaviour” on the set of Being Mortal led to the production being shut down, details of the incident have emerged.

Being Mortal is Aziz Ansari’s directorial debut, and is based on surgeon Atul Gawande’s 2014 book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. As well as directing, Ansari – who helms his own Netflix show Master of None – wrote and was set to star in the film, alongside Seth Rogen.

In a new report from Puck writer Eriq Gardner, multiple sources describe Murray, 72, allegedly straddling and kissing a “much younger” female production staffer who “interpreted his actions as entirely sexual” and was “horrified”.

The woman is not named, but the writer claims she is not actor Keke Palmer, who also stars in the film, as has been speculated.

Gardner writes: “This much younger woman, Murray felt, had been flirting with him. So at one moment when the two were in close proximity near a bed that was part of the production, Murray started kissing her body and straddling her.

“It was perhaps an unclear bit of physical comedy, but one that was unannounced. She couldn’t move because he outweighed her, she alleged. Then, he kissed her on the mouth, although when he did so, both Murray and the woman were wearing masks, owing to Covid protocols. Murray later said that he was just being jestful…”

The woman made a complaint, as did a second staffer who witnessed the alleged incident. Murray and the woman then entered mediation, and eventually came to a settlement of just over $100,000 (£90,533), according to the report.

It states: “Murray felt miserable, a source close to the actor told me, not just at what he thought was a miscommunication, but also at how one moment had caused his co-workers to essentially lose their jobs.”

Bill Murray (Getty Images for RFF)
Bill Murray (Getty Images for RFF)

At the time, Murray said in an interview: “I did something I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way...

“As of now we’re talking and we’re trying to make peace with each other. We’re both professionals. We like each other’s work – we like each other, I think.

“If we can’t get along and trust each other, there’s no point in going further working together or making a movie… It’s been quite an education for me. I’ve been doing not much else but thinking about her for the last week or two.”

The fate of the Searchlight Pictures film, which was about halfway through production, is in doubt.

Gardner wrote that it “looks like it’s headed toward cancellation rather than a reshoot”.

The Independent has contacted the unnamed woman’s attorney Shawn Holley at Kinsella Weitzman for comment, as well as Murray’s lawyer David Nochimson.

Earlier this week, Geena Davis called out Murray for the “way he behaved” during a “bad” encounter early in her career, saying: “I should have walked away.”