How Do You Get A Screenplay Read By Bill Murray?

Get A Screenplay Read By Bill Murray

Like me, is your dream to become a screenwriter? What character makes your screenplay rock?

Some of the best roles in a movie are those of a character actor. Character actors such as John Turturro, Richard Jenkins, Steve Buscemi and Kevin Bacon have built their careers around small, yet distinctive roles. A character actor is one who predominantly plays a particular type of role rather than leading ones. Character actor roles can range from bit parts to secondary leads. (Wikipedia)

Dave Trottier, author of The Screenwriter’s Bible states,

In your cast of characters, you want one central character, at least one opposition character, and a confidant (or sidekick) your central character can talk to. This is one way to reveal your central character’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions. The confidant sometimes performs the additional function of lending contrast to your central character. In dramas, the confidant sometimes creates necessary comic relief.

Leading acting roles are often given to actors who not only can act but are endowed with dashing good looks. Character actors (see the above mentioned actors) can be normal looking Joes, some quirky and some odd.

These actors have to rely on the strength of their acting muscles to make their roles memorable. On the plus side, they can enjoy longer careers because they don’t have to rely on their looks. The leading actors often don’t fare as well. They will be brushed aside for younger, fresh faces. (sadly, this applies disproportionately much more to women than men.)

I instinctively gravitate towards the unorthodox, snarky, neurotic roles created by the likes of John Belushi, Joan Cusak, Jack Black and my all time favorite character Bill Murray.

Last week, the movie, Ghostbusters came on TV and I became glued to the set. Had to watch it, my boy Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), the Enrique Suave scientist was continually putting the moves on Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett) while saving her and New York City from the wrath of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

Some of my favorite Bill Murray movies are:

  • Caddyshack
  • Stripes
  • Ghostbusters
  • What About Bob?
  • Groundhog Day
  • The Royal Tenebaums
  • Lost In Translation

    My favorite Hollywood curmudgeon turns 60 later on this month. To commemorate this momentous occasion, I’m thought you might enjoy some fascinating facts about him.

    Bill Murray-

    • Is notoriously hard to pin down. If you want him to star in your film, you have to call his infrequently checked answering machine and wait for him to get back.
    • Says that he only agreed to make Garfield because he thought the script was written by the Coen Brothers. It was written by Joel Cohen, the man who wrote Daddy Day Care.
    • His constant mood swings led Dan Aykroyd to give him the nickname “The Murricane” which was later made into a cocktail. This drink contains bourbon, basil, elderflower, watermelon and pepper.
    • His final inaudible whisper to Scarlett Johansson at the end of Lost In Translation is one of cinema’s greatest-ever mysteries. In 2007, a digital remaster discovered that he appeared to say, “I have to be leaving, but I won’t let that come between us, OK?”
    • His appearance in Zombieland has been cited in reviews as one of the funniest celebrity cameos of all time.
    • He was considered for the roles of both Han Solo and Batman.
    • He landed his Ghostbuster role when John Belushi – the first choice to play Peter Venkman – died.
    • In fact, the parts of the four Ghostbusters were originally written for Belushi, Eddie Murphy, John Candy and Christopher Walken. Wow, chew on that one for a bit!
    • It’s said that he likes to sneak up behind strangers in New York, whisper, “Guess who?” and, when they turn around, tell them: “No one will ever believe you.”
    • During the filming of Groundhog Day, he was asked to hire an assistant to act as a buffer between him and the studio. He deliberately hired a deaf mute who could only communicate in Native American sign language.
    • He has no publicist.

      *compliments of the Guardian

      • In his next film, Passion Play, he plays a ruthless gangster who keeps an angel (Megan Fox) under his thumb until a down-on-his-luck trumpet player (Mickey Rourke) comes to her rescue.

      Say what you will about this self proclaimed screwball, but I have had the pleasure to witness a different side to him.

      Years ago, I attended the AT&T Pro/Am Golf Tournament At Pebble Beach Golf Course in CA. This was at the height of his career. There were fans clamoring for his attention, calling out to him, hoping to get an autograph. He was sauntering down the fairway as only he could clad in knickers and one of those beanies that had a pom pom on top, when he spied a group of young developmentally disabled adults standing outside the ropes.

      One of the girls clumsily called, “Mr. Murray, can I get your autograph, please?” He quickly made a beeline for that girl and brought her out on the fairway. He joked with her a little bit, signed an autograph and had their photo taken for her to remember always. That smile never left her face the rest of the day.

      Me, I was a puddle of tears . . . just goes to show what kind of guy he really is.

      My assignment next week will be to review Zombieland. Too many people have told me I must see this, even though it’s a zombie movie. It does; however, have Bill Murray in it.

      Are there any movies that might appear on your television screen, that you will stop everything for and watch it, no matter how many times you have seen it? For me it’s Clueless and Caddyshack.

      How about you? You must have at least one – who are your favorite character actors?

      Now, how am I going to get our screenplay, Divine Intervention to Mr. Murray? He would make the ultimate demon wreaking havoc all throughout the movie. Maybe I’ll be walking down a street in New York and he will tap me on the shoulder. I’ll be ready for him, I wheel around and hand him a copy of the screenplay and I’ll tell him, “No one will ever believe you.”

      A girl can dream, can’t she?

      Places everyone –

      Toni

      Toni left 8 Women Dream in November of 2010 to focus on her screenplay and Club B.

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      • John Cusak runs a close second to my list of favorite character actors.

        The scene in “Say Anything” when he is standing outside his girl’s two story bedroom window with his boom box held high over his head serenading her. Priceless!

        John Cusak and Jack Black in “High Fidelity”. I want to thank the casting director for this piece of casting magic. I’d love to see them team up again, wouldn’t you?

        Love ya-

        Toni

        • Remy

          Grosse Point Blank was a dark movie, but the writing in that and Jeremy Piven as his HS buddy was awesome. He seems to have him in a few movies (say anything and serendipity, too) Hey , lets have a movie marathon one night and we’ll just watch them all back to back to back! I’ll bring popcorn and goobers. :0 xo Rem

      • Remy

        Bill Murray is one of my faves ever. My favorite Bill Murray movie was his first leading role, I think – Meatballs. Hysterical. and in Ghostbusters, when he yells “Go Get Her Ray”, and “If we can stop this thing, Lenny, YOU will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters” I laughed so hard I pee’d my pants.

        John Cusak and “the sure thing” – i have that movie practically memorized. And when Jack Black sings “Let’s Get it on” in High Fidelity – I melted.

        :) Thanks for a fun post!

      • The Murricane! I love it! Touching story about him too… I love to see celebrities who can be down-to-earth and kind, despite the headiness of the job.

        Wonderful stuff as always Toni! Let’s get that screenplay in his hands! :)

        XOXO
        Lis

        • Toni Schram

          Thanks LIsa!

          Bill and me teeing it up at any golf course is another dream that is now being added to my bucket list. I’d make sure to video the whole escapade for everyone’s enjoyment!

          Love ya-

          Toni

      • Catherine Hughes, Editor

        It looks like you are not alone in your appreciation of Bill Murry – check out this blog post http://rodcorp.typepad.com/rodcorp/2005/02/how_we_work_bil.html – very funny stuff. The comments are great, and I especially liked this one:

        “Dear Bill,

        Can you please email me for payment details such that you can return to me the $20 I spent taking my wife to see Broken Flowers. If I had been hit by a bus and been in the Intensive Care Unit of my local hospital it would have been a more pleasurable 2 hours for myself and my wife. I look forward to hearing from you.

        Yours sincerely

        Rodney

        PS loved Groundhog Day”

        LOL

        I think you should take up Golf. It looks like the place to meet him is on the golf course!

        Cath

        • Laurie

          I love Bill! I wish he was my neighbor. The movie that always grabs me is Moonstruck. I just can’t get passed Nick Cages wooden hand. Bill would make an awesome demon, swirling around, grabbin’ womens asses…..yea, call us Bill
          Now I need to go netflixing for some Murray.
          Love you Dreamers, Laurie

        • A little known fact about me is that I AM a golfer. Oh, the things that have happened to me on the course would make for great scenes in a comedy!

          One day, I was was teeing off and thought I hit an egret. That huge, white creature
          shot up and came at me full force. It swooped over my head, screeching, showing his disdain for my errant shot.

          I was very grateful he didn’t shit on me coz I was only half way through the round and would have to wear that badge of shame for the next nine holes!

          Love ya-

          Toni

        • Laurie-I see another road trip for us on the horizon. Destination-Murray Bros. Caddyshack in St. Augustine Florida! Bill Murray owns this restaurant along with a few of his brothers.

          We could dazzle him with our personalities and convince him to play the demon in our screenplay, “Divine Intervention”!

          He’ll never know what hit him. That’s how we work!

          Love ya-

          Toni

          • Remy

            I wanna go and take pictures of this lunch. OOH, he’d be perfect as a demon in a movie about women. LOVE IT. xoxo Rem

            • Toni Schram

              I’m going to hold it to you Remy! Fla or bust!

              Boy, do I have a story to tell you about what happened to me while I was watching,
              “Gross Point Blanke” with Laurie and her sis Marilyn…