Roughly two weeks after Searchlight Productions suspended production on the the Aziz Ansari-directed film, Being Mortal, last month to investigate a misconduct complaint filed against star Bill Murray, the actor and comedian is telling his side of the story… Sort of.
During an on-camera interview with CNBC on Saturday, Murray labeled the incident a “difference of opinion” with a woman he was working with on the film that led to the complaint and production shutdown. “I did something I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way,” he told the outlet.
Murray did not name the female colleague who had objected his behavior, nor did he provide further explanation of what exactly happened on set. But he said that he was optimistic that production will restart—given the woman involved in the incident is comfortable doing so.
“As of now we are talking, and we are trying to make peace with each other,” Murray, who is also reportedly a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder, said. “We are both professionals. We like each others’ work. We like each other, I think, and if we can’t really get along and trust each other, there’s no point in going further working together or making the movie as well. It’s been quite an education for me.”
Murray said he has been spending time since production stopped, thinking about what occurred.
“The world is different than it was when I was a little kid. You know, what I always thought was funny as a little kid isn’t necessarily the same as what’s funny now,” the 71-year-old actor said. “Things change and the times change, so it’s important for me to figure it out. And I think the most important thing is that it’s best for the other person. I thought about it, and if it’s not best for the other person, doesn’t matter what happens for me.”
He added that “what would make me the happiest” is if both he and the woman are able to “go back into work” and “trust each other and work at the work that we’ve both spent a lot of time developing the skill of.”
In the CNBC interview, he said, “If we can’t really get along and trust each other, there’s no point in going further working together.” But, he added, “I think that’s a sad puppy that can’t learn anymore. I don’t want to be that sad dog, and I have no intention of it.”
Searchlight Pictures halted production on Ansari’s feature directorial debut, Being Mortal, after a complaint of inappropriate behavior involving Murray was filed the previous week, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A source close to the production said the director and his producing partner Youree Henley were working with the Disney-backed studio to determine next steps.
Searchlight is currently investigating the incident.
The film is based on Atul Gawande’s 2014 nonfiction book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End and stars Murray alongside Aziz Ansari, Seth Rogen, and Keke Palmer. The movie was about halfway completed before production was suspended. It is slated to release in 2023, but it remains unclear if Murray will continue with the project, CNBC reports.
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