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Sunday morning didn’t start well for curmudgeonly comic actor Bill Murray when he was asked about playing “cross-generational friendship” roles during his Hollywood career.
“Your question is stultifying. I’m frozen with it,” Murray told the moderator at the St. Vincent press conference at the Toronto Film Festival.
“If there’s a through-line in my work, I’m glad that you have found it,” he added.
With St. Vincent director Theodore Melfi and co-stars Noami Watts and Melissa McCarthy alongside and laughing, Murray said it was predictable he would play the father, uncle or neighbor for younger directors like Wes Anderson and Melfi.
“It’s kind of great because you end up working with some people with talent, and you get to do something different,” he insisted.
Murray, who plays the eponymous Vincent opposite McCarthy in Melfi’s comedy, may have played the court jester Sunday morning.
But the ever-eccentric Murray was also helping The Weinstein Co. write his Oscar narrative as the St. Vincent cast assembled before the media at the Trump Tower.
St. Vincent already passed muster for possible Oscar glory Friday night with a standing ovation following its world premiere at the Princess of Wales Theater.
There was also the usual Harvey Weinstein stunt in having the world premiere of St. Vincent follow free screenings of three earlier Murray comedies, Stripes, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day as Toronto declared Friday Bill Murray Day.
By Sunday, the St. Vincent cast continued its media offensive, with newcomer Jaeden Lieberher recalling on-set nerves before having to perform a four-page speech during the film’s climactic scene.
How did he get over his nervousness?
“Well, Bill and I meditated,” Lieberher answered.
“It wasn’t serious meditation,” he quickly added, just Murray and the young actor placing their heads on chairs and closing their eyes.
“What kind of a director gives a 10-year-old a four-page speech to give. A sadist, a sadist. A monster. And then shoots 51 angles, with tracking shots. Only a first-time director would do something so foolish,” Murray exclaimed, sending the room into laughter again.
The Toronto Film Festival runs to Sept. 14.
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