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Actor Bill Murray

He's nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in the film Lost in Translation. Murray, originally a Second City alum, got his start as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Notable film appearances include The Royal Tenenbaums, Kingpin, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters and Caddyshack. Hear two interviews from 1991 and 1999.

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Other segments from the episode on February 27, 2004

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, February 27, 2004: Interview with Diane Keaton; Interview with Bill Murray

Transcript

DATE February 27, 2004 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A
NETWORK NPR
PROGRAM Fresh Air

Interview: Diane Keaton discusses her career and her roles in
several of her movies
DAVID BIANCULLI, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli sitting in for Terry Gross.

Diane Keaton has starred in a series of dramas and comedies that are now
American classics, like "The Godfather" trilogy and some of Woody Allen's most
popular films including the title role in "Annie Hall." She won an Oscar for
best actress in that film and is up for another one this weekend for her
leading role opposite Jack Nicholson in the romantic comedy "Something's Gotta
Give." Keaton's other films include "Marvin's Room," "First Wives Club,"
"Looking for Mr. Goodbar," "Reds," and "Father of the Bride." She directed
the films "Heaven" and "Unstrung Heroes." In "Something's Gotta Give," Keaton
earned her latest Oscar nomination by playing a woman whose daughter is dating
a much older man, played by Jack Nicholson. Nicholson's character, Harry, has
a heart attack, and Keaton's character, Erica, ends up being his host as he
recuperates. This scene, which has them making pancakes together, hints at
the unexpected but genuine attraction they're beginning to feel for one
another.

(Soundbite of "Something's Gotta Give")

Mr. JACK NICHOLSON: (As Harry) You know what you're like? You're like one
of those great portraits you see over a fireplace. Words have been invented
to describe women like you.

Ms. DIANE KEATON: (As Erica) Such as?

Mr. NICHOLSON: (As Harry) Flinty.

Ms. KEATON: (As Erica) Ohh.

Mr. NICHOLSON: (As Harry) And impervious.

Ms. KEATON: (As Erica) So you think I'm inhuman?

Mr. NICHOLSON: (As Harry) No. I think you're formidable.

Ms. KEATON: (As Erica) Yeah, cold and distant, like I'm frozen in some
painting?

Mr. NICHOLSON: (As Harry) Not at all, but I do think that you use your
strength to separate yourself from everyone. But it's thrilling when your
defenses are down and you're not isolated. That, I believe, is your winning
combo--killer combo, actually.

Ms. KEATON: (As Erica) You know, I can't decide if--oh, God--you hate me or
if you're like the only person that ever really got me.

Mr. NICHOLSON: (As Harry) I don't hate you.

Ms. KEATON: (As Erica) Yeah?

BIANCULLI: Terry spoke with Diane Keaton in 1997 just as her film "Marvin's
Room" was being released. That movie, too, had her playing a woman who was
caring for an ill man. In that movie adaptation of the stage play, Keaton and
Meryl Streep play sisters with opposite temperaments. Keaton plays Bessie,
who has dedicated her life to taking care of her father ever since a stroke
left him bedridden. Meryl Streep plays Lee, who has cut herself off from the
family to establish an independent life. After Bessie is diagnosed with
leukemia, Lee comes home to visit for the first time in many years, and Bessie
confronts her.

(Soundbite of "Marvin's Room")

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) Why can't you take Dad and Ruth?

Ms. MERYL STREEP: (As Lee) I don't think so.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) You could move down here; you could have the house.

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) No. I got Hank to think about.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) He's very unhappy there.

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) Of course, he's unhappy. If he were happy, he wouldn't
be there.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) You could have him transferred. You could find a
very nice place for him here. You could have the whole house. You could have
the sunshine. You could find work down here, Lee.

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) No.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) Why not?

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) Just no.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) Well, then give me one good reason.

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) Because I don't want to. I made this decision once
already. When Daddy had his first stroke, I made this decision then I was not
going to waste my life.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) Do you think I've wasted my life?

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) My God, of course not.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) I can't imagine a better way to have spent my life.

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) Well, then we both made the right decision.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) What decision? Dad got sick and I came down to help
out for a little while. You didn't.

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) I had plans, I had a husband. I couldn't come down.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) You didn't come down. And what makes you think we're
saying that I didn't have plans? You know, you're just the most...

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) Come on, say it. Say it. Say it. You've been saying
it a million different ways since I first came down here.

"HANK": Leave her alone. What are you yelling at her for?

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) She wants to tell you what a terrible person I am.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) I have bent over backwards to be nice to you from the
moment you walked in that door.

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) That's right. You are nice to me when you want
something.

"HANK": What are you talking about?

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) Oh, come on, Hank. You think your Aunt Bessie is being
nice to you all of a sudden because she--What?--felt an urge?

"HANK": Shut up.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) What?

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) Oh, come on. Come on. Did you ever get a birthday
present from your Aunt Bessie?

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) I've thought about you all the time. It's just...

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) How about a card? Did you ever get a card from your
Aunt Bessie?

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) We were not close. We weren't...

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) You didn't speak to me for 20 years.

Ms. KEATON: (As Bessie) You're supposed to take care of your family.

Ms. STREEP: (As Lee) I took care of my family. I raised two kids all by
myself, never even heard from you people. Now I am finally getting my life
together. Nobody's going to take it away from me.

TERRY GROSS, host:

Your role in "Marvin's Room" is really the opposite of the kind of role we
first got to know you from in your Woody Allen movies.

Ms. KEATON: Uh-huh.

GROSS: Your character of Bessie is somebody who, first of all, dresses in
very kind of Kmart type fashions.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KEATON: Literally.

GROSS: Lives in a very sheltered world; is steadfast in her devotion to her
family...

Ms. KEATON: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: ...and has very little of a life outside of that. She is the kind of
person who doesn't leave home, has never left home.

Ms. KEATON: Uh-huh.

GROSS: Nothing is couched in irony. And many of your other characters, well,
particularly in the Woody Allen movies, there are so many things that have
quotation marks around them. And I guess I'm interested in what it's like to
inhabit both of those worlds through your roles, you know, the character who
doesn't live in a world of irony and then the character who does.

Ms. KEATON: It's easier for me to be in the world of the ironic because it
sort of comes more naturally to me. I had trouble with this part regarding
certain primary scenes, and I'm talking about the part of Bessie in "Marvin's
Room." I would go up to the director and say, `Do you know that last
scene"--I don't know if you saw this, Terry, but the last scene where--well,
obviously, you did; you had to, probably. Anyway, the last scene...

GROSS: I did, yes.

Ms. KEATON: ...where I have to say to Meryl, `I'm so lucky to have loved so
much. I'm so lucky.' I really literally couldn't say that because it's
dead on, flat on the truth, the feeling of the moment, the depth of that
moment. And I remember the director saying, `No, Diane, you have to say that.
You have to say those lines.' And I was going, `No,' because, listen, let me
tell you something. As far as I'm concerned, if somebody called me up--if
somebody--doctor called me up and said, `Guess what, nothing's working, and,
yeah, you are gonna die,' I couldn't sit there and get down on the floor and
pick up those pills and say to my sister, `I'm so lucky to have loved so much.
I'm so lucky.' I said--I would be terrified. `No, no, no, that is not the
intention,' because, really, the heart of the piece is in that. You know,
it's right there in those lines at the end there. And I was fighting it. And
Meryl Streep came up into my room, and she told me also in a very kind way
that this is someplace I have to try and go. And imagine--of course, I can't
imagine it, but on the other hand, you have to kind of get swept away. And
one of the reasons I think that I was helped was, of course, because of Meryl,
because somehow being and looking into Meryl's face, she just kind of lifted
me up and helped me go there. But, frankly, it's not easy for me. It's just
not easy.

GROSS: Well, tell me what was so difficult about saying, `I'm so luck to have
loved so much.'

Ms. KEATON: It's just so hard for me to imagine that someone says to you,
`You're going to die,' and then two minutes later you look at your sister and
you say, `I'm so grateful to have been able to love,' instead of thinking, `My
God.' I mean, I would be in a panic. I would be in a complete panic. I
could cry with her and, like, I could do the scene with her where I say, `I'm
afraid, I'm afraid, you know, if I close my eyes I'll never wake up.' That I
got. I mean, I get that spades, you know, hands-down. That's easy for me.
But the other is hard to imagine being that kind of a person. I guess I'm
shallow.

GROSS: No, but let me ask you this: How do you decide, with lines like that,
whether there's something that doesn't ring true about the script or whether
it's just because you're a different kind of person...

Ms. KEATON: No, because I don't...

GROSS: ...than the character.

Ms. KEATON: No, I think that it did ring true as a script. I think I did
have to say those lines because I think that that's the kind of person she is
at the core, that she can leave it and she can accept the fact that she's
going to be leaving everybody permanently. So in that case, I really think I
was just begging for help, and I got help. I think that I'm afraid. I think
I'm kind of a chicken actress, and I think that people really have to keep
saying, `You can do it. You can do it.' And it really tells you--I mean, as
an actress, it really informs me how much I desperately need a director who
cares. It's so important to have somebody watching me, and lots of times it's
easy for me to give up. And, you know, my tendency is to just kind of rush
through everything. Like I love to be fast. My favorite thing in life is to
be speedy and quick and get through it. But I think they said no, and that
was another thing that Jerry Zaks would say to me, `Take the moment.' And I'd
be going, `Oh, get out of here.' You know, I mean, what is he talking about?
he's nuts. I did take that moment. You know, I mean, you constantly are
battling with yourself when you're acting in a part, at least I am, because
it's just not that easy for me.

GROSS: Yeah.

Ms. KEATON: I think that I'm more inclined to live comfortably in the world
of humor.

GROSS: Diane Keaton, your mother was a beauty queen, yes?

Ms. KEATON: No. No, here's what she was--although she is very beautiful, by
the way. No, she was Mrs. Los Angeles. That's entirely different. It means
that when I was growing up in the '50s...

GROSS: Yeah.

Ms. KEATON: ...we lived in Highland Park in Los Angeles, and I remember, I
was about eight or nine, and my mother, you know, became Mrs. Highland Park.
And I remember sitting down on the stage and watching her being crowned Mrs.
Highland Park. And it was that she was a perfect homemaker. To win Mrs.
Highland Park, she kept making these chocolate cakes every day that we had to
eat. And this was, you know, what she was. And then she went on to be Mrs.
Los Angeles because she made a good spaghetti or something, I don't know. And
they came around at like 7 in the morning, the judges, and looked at our
house, which was insane, to see if she was a neat homemaker. And so that was
very exciting for about--I think it lasted for about four months. But then
she made it to the finalists of Mrs. California, but then she didn't get Mrs.
California. She was too good for them. She was too good for them.

GROSS: What did she win when she won Mrs. Highland Park?

Ms. KEATON: Oh, appliances. Oh, please; you know, just the best appliances
ever and, you know, luggage and all those great things.

GROSS: Did you want to be a happy homemaker?

Ms. KEATON: No. No, I did not want to be a happy homemaker. Uh-uh, that did
not appeal to me. But I did want to go on stage. I saw that that was
something that did appeal to me. There she was in the theater and I saw the
curtain open, and there was my mother. And I thought, `Hmm, I think I like
that for myself.'

GROSS: It's funny, so you kind of got the wrong message here. She...

Ms. KEATON: I did, I got the total wrong message.

GROSS: She was...

Ms. KEATON: Have like life.

GROSS: You know, she was presented as the picture of domesticity and you
interpreted that as show business.

Ms. KEATON: Oh, yeah; leave it to me.

GROSS: One of your early roles was in "Hair," and every profile I've read of
you, every written profile...

Ms. KEATON: Yeah, I didn't take off my clothes.

GROSS: Exactly.

Ms. KEATON: Yeah.

GROSS: Every profile mentions that during the nude scene or nude scenes in
"Hair" that when everybody else was naked, you were wearing a body stocking.
And I couldn't help but wonder if the cast...

Ms. KEATON: No, I wasn't wearing a body stocking, no, no.

GROSS: Oh.

Ms. KEATON: The situation was that we were all under this huge tarp or
something doing--you know, and we were lying there and there would be holes in
the tarp and people would stand up at the appropriate moment and you sort of
just stand naked. That was how that was. And I just remember lying under the
tarp and seeing all my friends get naked over the course of time, and I just
didn't want to do it. It just didn't seem worth it to me at the time. I
didn't want to do it. Standing naked in the dark and getting cold. You know,
it just didn't seem like fun.

GROSS: So how did...

Ms. KEATON: The only reason I didn't do it, it just, you know, it wasn't
worth it.

GROSS: So how did you avoid doing it?

Ms. KEATON: I didn't. It wasn't a requirement, by any means.

GROSS: Oh, OK.

Ms. KEATON: It was optional, and it was suggested and you would get $50
extra.

GROSS: No.

Ms. KEATON: It's a money gig. It was a money gig, like everything else.

GROSS: That's funny. So did anybody in the cast kind of make fun of the
people who were not willing to take their clothes off?

Ms. KEATON: Not really, but it was sort of `get behind the spirit of it
all.' But, hey, frankly, I was, you know--I'd just graduated from the
Neighborhood Playhouse, and I really wasn't a hippie. I never was a hippie.
I was basically always an actress, and so I just didn't really get behind it
in terms of the spirit of the moment. Besides, we were all in show business.
I never believed that it was, like, you know, peace, love and happiness.

BIANCULLI: Diane Keaton speaking with Terry Gross in 1997. Keaton is up for
an Academy Award for her role in the film "Something's Gotta Give." More with
Keaton after a short break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

BIANCULLI: Let's get back to our 1997 interview with Diane Keaton. But
first, here's a scene from "Annie Hall."

(Soundbite of "Annie Hall")

Unidentified Man: You play very well.

Ms. KEATON: Oh, yeah? So do you. Oh, God, what a dumb thing to say, right?
I mean, you say, `You play well,' and right away I have to say, `You play
well.' Oh, God, Annie. Oh, well. La-di-da, la-di-da, la, la. Yeah.

Unidentified Man: You want a lift?

Ms. KEATON: Why? You got a car?

Unidentified Man: No, I was going to take a cab.

Ms. KEATON: Oh, no; I have a car.

Unidentified Man: You have a car? So I don't understand, if you have a car,
so then why did you say, `Do you have a car?' like you wanted a lift?

Ms. KEATON: I don't--Jeez, I don't know. I wasn't--pffft. I got this VW out
there. What a jerk, yeah. Would you like a lift?

Unidentified Man: Sure. Which way are you going?

Ms. KEATON: Me? Oh, downtown.

Unidentified Man: I'm going uptown.

Ms. KEATON: Oh, well, you know, I'm going uptown, too.

Unidentified Man: You just said you were going downtown.

Ms. KEATON: Yeah, well, but I...

Unidentified Man: So are you going...

Ms. KEATON: I need to go uptown, too. I live uptown, but what the hell. I
mean, it would be nice having company, you know. I mean, I hate driving
alone.

GROSS: Now the inflections that you used in "Annie Hall," a voice that's
often speaking in irony, a voice that has a lot of insecurity in it as well as
humor. How did you come up with that inflection?

Ms. KEATON: Well, that, I didn't even come up with it. I just delivered it.
It was just there. I think that was something that he trusted and enjoyed.
Did you happen to read that profile on him in The New Yorker?

GROSS: No.

Ms. KEATON: That was interesting because Dianne Wiest was talking about him.
And if something isn't working, he's very simple about why it isn't working.
Well, with "Annie Hall," when I was doing "Annie Hall," everything seemed to
be working; he just didn't question it. We were going with kind of the
spontaneous impulses that we were feeling at the time in those scenes, and we
just let it rip. I think Dianne Wiest was saying, you know, in "Bullets Over
Broadway" when she won the Academy Award that that character wasn't happening.
And he called her up and he said, `It's no good.' And she didn't know what to
do. She didn't know. And he came up with an idea, and he said, `I think it's
your voice. Let's just lower it.' Do you believe it? Just that simple. And
then she had it. She had the character, and it was amazing. I mean, she's
amazing anyway, but what I'm saying is it was a very simple solution to what a
lot of people would have made a very complicated problem. Do you see what I
mean?

GROSS: Yeah. Yeah.

Ms. KEATON: He just cuts through all the time in every way.

GROSS: Was your inflections in your voice in "Annie Hall" a voice that you
really spoke in, or is it the voice of the character that you found? And what
was your process of finding it?

Ms. KEATON: No, I think I spoke in that character at that point in my life.

GROSS: Oh, OK.

Ms. KEATON: I think that's the way I talked.

GROSS: Did you say `La-di-da?'

Ms. KEATON: Never did say that, though. That he wrote.

GROSS: Was that on the pa--I mean, if I saw `La-di-da' on the page, I'd
think, `Oh, man, this is never going to work.' And, of course, it really
works terrifically. Did you think...

Ms. KEATON: I think it works because I think that there was this--it was the
way we were working. In other words, it's how he directs, which is to loosen
it up, just to loosen the whole thing up and just fly with it. And then it
worked. I know that doesn't seem like a very good line--Does it?--`La-di-da.'

GROSS: Well, it wouldn't to me on the page; it really would not.

Ms. KEATON: No. Hmm-mm.

GROSS: But it does in the movie?

Ms. KEATON: It worked, yeah.

GROSS: Now I want to ask you about the Godfather movies you were in, all
three of them.

Ms. KEATON: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: Now particularly in the first two movies, you were the woman in a
world of men...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KEATON: I have to laugh--I mean, it's just funny. Yes, I was. I was
the woman in a world of men.

GROSS: And that's really brought home at the end of the first Godfather movie
where Al Pacino...

Ms. KEATON: That's a great moment, isn't it?

GROSS: Yeah. Slams the door in your face...

Ms. KEATON: Yeah. Yeah, I love it.

GROSS: ...and makes it really clear that now that he's the head of the
family...

Ms. KEATON: He's the head, yeah.

GROSS: ...you're going to be shut out of a lot of his life.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KEATON: That was a world I knew nothing about. Do you know when we were
making it, it was just--I didn't know what was going on, and I just did feel
left out. I really felt that way. And I also felt--I never understood why he
cast me in that ever. I still don't understand why he cast me in that. I
never thought--you know, at that point in my life, people viewed me as being
kind of kooky. You know, it was like the kooky actress, and he cast me in
that role.

GROSS: Right, a r--you...

Ms. KEATON: So serious.

GROSS: Yes. And sensible, down to earth, practical.

Ms. KEATON: I'm telling you, it's nothing--I never got it, and he never--I
don't know what made him pick me. That was a lucky break...

GROSS: What was your audition?

Ms. KEATON: ...because I'm really glad to be a part of those movies.

GROSS: Oh, boy...

Ms. KEATON: I'm proud to be part of it, just being there.

GROSS: ...I could only imagine how much, yeah.

Ms. KEATON: Yeah, but they were a mystery to me. They still are a mystery to
me. That's a world I really don't understand. I do understand what she was
like feeling left out. No one likes that. That's a horrible thing. It's a
cold thing.

GROSS: So in what ways did you feel maybe kind of left out or the outsider on
the Godfather sets?

Ms. KEATON: I think in every way I felt the outsider. There was nobody that
really became my friend on those movies. I guess, you know, I really...

GROSS: What about Al Pacino, though? You had a relationship with him.

Ms. KEATON: But not as--I mean, it wasn't like we palled out. We
weren't--do you know what I mean?

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Ms. KEATON: He was very private and separate from me. And in the first one,
I really didn't know him very well, and I think he was also overwhelmed by the
enormity of his part and he was so profoundly, I think, great in that movie.
I think when he has to murder for the first time, I think that's a very
amazing performance he gave.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Ms. KEATON: So he was really a loner. He was really involved with that
part. He was separate from the other guys, I felt, and he was in the movie,
too. But I just didn't know what the hell was going on. I was--What?--23. I
didn't know anything about movies. I was overwhelmed by the entire
enterprise; I really was.

GROSS: Well, you said you had no idea why Coppola gave you the part.

Ms. KEATON: Not one.

GROSS: What was your audition like? What had he seen of you?

Ms. KEATON: I don't know. I have no idea. I came and I auditioned like
everybody else, and I don't know what it was that he saw in me to cast me
instead of Jill Clayburgh or whoever else was up. I remember she was up for
it. And she and I were kind of similar at that time. We were sort of, you
know, together, up for the same parts and things like that. I don't know; I
really don't know. I think Michelle Phillips was up for it. I think--Who
else was up for it? I don't know.

GROSS: What are you...

Ms. KEATON: All the gals at that time, I'm sure, were up for that part.

(Soundbite of unidentified Godfather movie)

Mr. AL PACINO: (As Michael Corleone) I'll change. I've learned that I have
the strength to change. And you'll forget about this miscarriage and we'll
have another child and we'll go on, you and I. We'll go on.

Ms. KEATON: Oh--oh, Michael. Michael, you are blind. It wasn't a
miscarriage. It as an abortion. An abortion, Michael, just like our marriage
is an abortion, something that's unholy and evil. I didn't want your son,
Michael. I wouldn't bring another one of your sons into this world. It was
an abortion, Michael. It was a son, a son, and I had it killed because this
must all end. I know now that it's over. I knew it then there would be no
way, Michael, no way you could ever forgive me, not with this Sicilian thing
that's been going on for two thousand y...

(Soundbite of slap)

Ms. KEATON: Ohh.

Mr. PACINO: (As Michael Corleone) You won't take my children.

Ms. KEATON: I will.

Mr. PACINO: (As Michael Corleone) You won't take my children!

Ms. KEATON: They're my children.

BIANCULLI: Diane Keaton speaking with Terry Gross in 1997. Keaton is up for
an Academy Award for her role in the film "Something's Gotta Give."

I'm David Bianculli, and this is FRESH AIR.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Interview: Actor Bill Murray discusses his acting career
DAVID BIANCULLI, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli in for Terry Gross.

Bill Murray broke into television playing wise guys and goofy characters on
"Saturday Night Live" and broke into movies the same way. In "Caddyshack," he
was a human cartoon chasing a rodent with the same single-mindedness that Wile
E. Coyote pursued the Road Runner. And in movies like "Stripes" and
"Ghostbusters," he defined the laid-back wisecracker persona for a whole new
generation of filmgoers and imitators.

It was right after succeeding so wildly in those comedy films that Murray
tried making the transition to drama as the star of "The Razor's Edge." That
attempt failed, but that was 20 years ago. Now he's gotten rave reviews and
an Academy Award nomination for best dramatic actor for his starring role in
"Lost in Translation." He plays Bob Harris, an American actor visiting Japan
to film a commercial. He's all alone and feeling out of place, and so is a
young woman named Charlotte who's in town accompanying her photographer
husband and killing time by hanging out in a bar. These two isolated
characters end up confiding a great deal to one another.

(Soundbite from "Lost in Translation")

Ms. SCARLETT JOHANSSON: (As Charlotte) What about marriage? Does that get
easier?

Mr. BILL MURRAY: (As Bob Harris) That's hard. We used to have a lot of fun.
Lydia would come with me when I made the movies and we would laugh about it
all. Now she doesn't want to leave the kids, and she doesn't need me to be
there. The kids miss me, but they're fine. It gets a whole lot more
complicated when you have kids.

Ms. JOHANSSON: (As Charlotte) Yeah, it's scary.

Mr. MURRAY: (As Bob Harris) It's the most terrifying day of your life the day
the first one is born.

Ms. JOHANSSON: (As Charlotte) Yeah, nobody ever tells you that.

Mr. MURRAY: (As Bob Harris) Your life as you know it is gone, never to
return, but they learn how to walk and they learn how to talk and you want to
be with them, and they turn out to be the most delightful people you'll ever
meet in your life.

Ms. JOHANSSON: (As Charlotte) That's nice.

BIANCULLI: Terry first spoke with Bill Murray in 1991.

TERRY GROSS, host:

You actually started performing when you were in high school, right?

Mr. MURRAY: Well, everybody did, didn't they? I mean--no, I performed in
high school just to get out of class. You know, that was the thing. You
auditioned for a show and you would get certain hours off in the afternoon and
not have to do homework and, you know, be excused from certain things.
Actually, at my school, it was a boys' school, there were girls in these
shows, so you could get out. And you even got to rehearse at night, which was
really insane.

GROSS: To musicals? What did you get to be in?

Mr. MURRAY: Well, "The Music Man" was the big one because it was great 'cause
we had to rehearse for months to learn all these dance numbers and vocal
numbers. And to work with girl dancers from Sacred Heart, you know, the
high-school girls; and these were, like, rich girls from downtown who drank
gin out of 7 Up bottles and stuff. So that was the best job I ever had, I
think.

GROSS: I'm trying to imagine--you were a dancer in this, in "The Music Man"?

Mr. MURRAY: Yes, I was a dancer.

GROSS: Yeah, I'm trying to imagine you dancing in the chorus of a high-school
musical.

Mr. MURRAY: They wanted somebody who was big enough to lift up this one girl
dancer, and the other people that auditioned--I walked by and the auditions
were going on, and there were a couple very pretty girls in there. So I just
walked in there, and they said, `You!' you know? And I literally just did it
just to see what was going on, and I was, like, the biggest guy by about five
inches. So they said, `You're going to pick up the big girl,' you know? And
she was big. You know, I had to pick her up on my shoulder. She was large.
It was just typecasting. It could have been Lou Ferrigno who got the job.
You know, he would--yeah, `Lou Ferrigno? You're a dancer.' `Yes, I am,' you
know, at once. I mean, it was really all about getting somebody up on your
shoulders. But I don't regret it. Yes, I was a dancer, Terry. Yes. And I
still go out and dance every once in a while, although I don't do it on the
Broadway stage.

GROSS: Oh, I just know high-school musicals had just the corniest
choreography ever on.

Mr. MURRAY: Well, actually, ours was just the rote one that came with "The
Music Man" book. It wasn't bad. It was pretty good. So we were sort of
doing pretty much the Shapoopy number from the musical.

GROSS: Now in the movie "Tootsie," I think you improvised a lot of this role,
but you played a very self-involved kind of experimental playwright. Did you
know a lot of people like that in theater?

Mr. MURRAY: Self-involved?

GROSS: Yeah, what could I possibly be thinking of?

Mr. MURRAY: Well, yeah, I guess so. I mean, I always--guys whose art was so
precious that it couldn't be explained to people, you know, really in asking a
question was the `Shh!' `Oh, man, if you don't get it,' you know, that kind
of thing. I always enjoyed that. You know, I enjoyed meeting people like
that because it gave me an opportunity to unleash, you know, the darker side
of my own wit upon them, you know? And you just wait and you could sit with
them for an hour and a half, and then finally, there'd be that opening and
then you could just put a dagger right through their gut, you know? Because
anyone, you know--that attitude was just--it just invited trouble. But some
of the things I said is that self-involved guys really do believe, you know?
So I was just being a drunk and obnoxious guy, but some of the things were
really true, just like these guys that I would meet, you know, had some things
to say.

GROSS: Well, what's something that you said in "Tootsie" that you really
believed in but was also kind of funny and ironic at the same time?

Mr. MURRAY: I wanted to have a theater that was only open when it rained.

GROSS: You genuinely did?

Mr. MURRAY: Yeah. Well, I said that in the movie.

GROSS: Oh.

Mr. MURRAY: I said I wanted to have a theater that's only open when it rains.
And I believe that from my own experience in the theater that the best
audience you could ever have was not a full house but a house that was
three-quarters full or half full because of a very bad storm which had kept
people away and they hadn't bothered to come. And they would come in still
shaking the water off their shoulders and their heads and their hats and
they'd still be wet. Their hair would be wet on the back of their neck,
because it grounded them in a reality. It put them on the planet. They
weren't dreaming. They were really on the planet. So they were ready. The
ideal specimens, they lived here, you know?

BIANCULLI: Bill Murray speaking with Terry Gross in 1991. We'll hear a more
recent interview with Murray in a moment.

This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

BIANCULLI: Let's hear more from Bill Murray. He spoke with Terry again in
1999 as he was getting raves for his role in the movie "Rushmore." That's the
name of the private school where Murray, as a self-made millionaire and school
benefactor named Mr. Blume, gets to inspire some students and confuse others.
In this scene, Mr. Blume addresses the student body.

(Soundbite from "Rushmore")

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. MURRAY: (As Herman Blume) Thank you.

You guys have it real easy. I never had it like this where I grew up, but I
send my kids because the fact is you go to one of the best schools in the
country, Rushmore. Now for some of you, it doesn't matter. You were born
rich and you're going to stay rich. But here's my advice to the rest of you.
Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them
down. Just remember they can buy anything, but they can't buy backbone.
Don't let them forget that. Thank you.

(Soundbite of applause)

GROSS: I asked Bill Murray if he related to the experience of attending an
academy like Rushmore.

Mr. MURRAY: I did. I went to an academy. I went to a Jesuit academy in
Chicago in the suburbs, and most everybody had money. And I was one of the
ones that did not have money. I worked in the summer. I caddied in the
summer and made enough money to pay my tuition, and then my money was gone.
That was pretty much the money I made. So I would go through the school year
without, you know, sufficient funds. I didn't have a car and I didn't have,
you know, really a wardrobe to speak of. I used to take a lot of abuse for
wearing golf shirts to school. `Golf shirt, Murray. Golf shirt.' You know,
there were guys who would pimp you for wearing golf shirts. I had inherited a
collection of ill-fitting golf shirts from my older brothers, and that's what
I wore to school.

GROSS: Did you have a complex because you didn't have the money that the
other students did or you didn't have the clothes that they did?

Mr. MURRAY: I haven't heard `complex' in a while. Yeah.

GROSS: Me neither. I couldn't believe I used the word. I haven't either.

Mr. MURRAY: Yeah, I haven't heard `complex.' I had issues.

GROSS: Issues, that's right.

Mr. MURRAY: But I had complex issues there. I guess I had a complex. That's
why I tip so heavy nowadays. I think I feel for people that--you know, when I
see somebody working in a golf shirt, you know, I (hums)--you know, my hands
vibrate. Yeah, I guess I had a complex. Yeah, gee, it sounds worse than it
was, but I remember it, and I remember growing up without it. And, you know,
I came from a big family and there wasn't spare dough and, you know, I think
about a couple of weeks ago. I got very upset with my boys, my older boys
because I said, `God, you're spoiled rich kids. I'm a failure. I'm a total
failure,' and, you know, they got very sad and, `Well, that's who you are,
Dad. That's who you were, you know?' and blah, blah, blah. But they're
actually really sweet guys, and, you know, I was just giving them some tough
love.

But to grow up without money and now have money is just kind of a--you know,
it's a funny thing. I now loan money to the kids I knew in high school who
loaned the money their parents left them, you know? It's a kind of fun thing,
you know, but I don't know. To have a complex about it, well, I knew I wanted
to pay my own way, you know, and I felt very good to be able to provide my
mother with things later in life. And, you know, I remember the first year I
made more money in reruns than my dad ever made, you know, in a year, and I
didn't even work. It was just reruns.

GROSS: Right.

Mr. MURRAY: I thought, `It's a funny world, a funny life.' So I grew up that
way, the same way this kid grows up in "Rushmore," and I could see--you know,
I remember when they said, `Well, you'd be playing a tycoon.' I thought, `A
tycoon. I'm going to play a tycoon,' and the more I thought about it, I
thought, `Well, hell, I am a tycoon. I am a self-made tycoon of some sort,
and I've got a sort of a blue-collar chip on my shoulder,' and so that part of
it was not hard.

GROSS: I want to talk about another movie that I think is a really terrific
film and I regret that, I think, very few people actually saw it, and it's
called "Mad Dog and Glory," and the screenplay was by novelist Richard Price,
who's probably best known for "Clockers." And you play a loan shark in this
who owns a comedy club and really wants to be a stand-up comic, and you even
get to do stand-up as this mobster in the movie. I mean, you know a lot about
delivery in comedy, but your character doesn't know a lot about it,
particularly at the beginning of the film when he's really very stiff. Tell
me a little bit about playing a comic who doesn't know what they're doing.

Mr. MURRAY: Well, I found that mobsters, the ones I've met, are really funny
people. You know, that's part of the paradox is that they're often the most
charming people. And the terror of what they're like in their criminal side
is almost hard to imagine, but his lines had a menace to them that, you know,
it was his club, you could be thrown out if you weren't enjoying yourself,
enjoying the act, and it gave him a confidence to say it any old way he
wanted. And he talked almost like he was talking to his posse, you know, to
his own--What do the hoods call their group?--you know, their gang. And it
was an angry kind of comedian. You know, he was angry. He had a chip on his
shoulder ,and he truly spoke down to his audience and at the same time was
delighting in the fact that what he was doing in the way he spoke, his comedy,
was now getting public notice. You know, he was charmed with himself. He was
really enjoying himself.

GROSS: Why don't we hear a scene from early in "Mad Dog and Glory," where
you, the mobster, are doing comedy at the club that you own...

Mr. MURRAY: OK.

GROSS: ...with a lot of your boys in the audience.

(Soundbite from "Mad Dog and Glory")

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. MURRAY: (As mobster) (Foreign language spoken). Our thing.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MURRAY: (As mobster) Our thing, my ass. (Italian spoken) is Italian for
cheap bastards.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MURRAY: (As mobster) (Italian spoken) babies. How the babies, they're
born, they cry, they go, `Waah, waah.' Our kids, they cry, they go, `What?'

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MURRAY: Yeah, he probably heard some comedian sometime say, `Well, you've
got to work with your life. You've got to use your life as your comedy.'

GROSS: Well, in this movie, Bill Murray, you've got to work opposite Robert
De Niro, and De Niro plays a cop who's a forensic photographer and he saves
your life in a convenience store holdup. And to thank him, you loan him a
beautiful young woman played by Uma Thurman, and you basically own this woman
because she owes you about $75,000, and she pays it off by doing whatever
favor you ask of her. And in this scene from later in "Mad Dog and Glory,"
you've come to pick her up, but De Niro doesn't want her to go because he's
fallen in love with her. Let me play an excerpt of this scene.

(Soundbite from "Mad Dog and Glory")

Mr. MURRAY: (As mobster) Bring it down, Wayne.

Mr. ROBERT De NIRO: I love her.

Mr. MURRAY: (As mobster) You love her. I own her! I knew it, I knew it, I
knew it. Didn't I call it right on the nose when I saw you in the office?
You're a schmuck if you don't think she's playing you like a violin right now.
Women. (Censored) women. You can't live with them, you can't kill them. OK.
If you want, you can assume the debt.

Mr. De NIRO: Assume the debt?

Mr. MURRAY: (As mobster) Yeah. Be my friend. For what? I don't exactly
know. You're a cop, maybe something, maybe nothing. You want me to forget
about her. For the next year, if I call you, you have to pick up the phone.
That I can live with.

GROSS: Bill Murray, what was it like to work opposite Robert De Niro and
thinking, you know, you're such a verbal guy and you're so good at improvising
and De Niro seems much less verbal.

Mr. MURRAY: Well, he is less verbal, but he's also a hard-working guy and
he's serious about his job. I tend to, like, keep it light and goof around on
the set just so I'm relaxed. And that got a little distracting for him at one
point. I remember one day thinking, `Oh, God.' He's, like, `Yeah, can we
just do this here now,' you know? So--but we've become friends. I like
talking to him. You know, I think he likes my verbal qualities, and I like
his sort of surprising sense of humor. And I delighted in really pushing him,
you know, and getting him--like, if he was supposed to be angry in a scene and
I was behind the camera, I would infuriate him, I would enrage him, you know?

GROSS: How?

Mr. MURRAY: Well, I mean, he's a man who demands respect; that's one thing.
You have to respect him, and if you disrespect him, he goes crazy. You know,
he will really not like you, you know, but in character, you could get away
with that. You could disrespect him and it would enrage him. And, you know,
he's very proud of his heritage, too, you know, and if you somehow didn't
respect the heritage, you would see something happen in his eyes that was just
terrifying, really scary. So if you called him--you know, used an Italian
slur of some sort, he could not control himself, you know, 'cause, you know,
where he grew up in downtown, you know, there was an Italian neighborhood and,
you know, they had their turf and they were very protective of their own, you
know? Anybody from the outside was a potential trouble maker and those
insults were a throw-down, you know, and you don't speak that way. And if you
spoke that way, you're just asking for real trouble, you know, and had to be
responded to, you know?

BIANCULLI: Bill Murray speaking with Terry Gross in 1999. Murray is up for
an Academy Award for his starring role in "Lost in Translation."

We'll hear more in a minute. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

BIANCULLI: Let's get back to Terry's interview with Bill Murray. When she
spoke with him in 1999, she asked him about his role in "Kingpin" which is
directed by the Farrelly brothers, who also directed the raunchy comedies
"Something About Mary" and "Dumb & Dumber."

Mr. MURRAY: They have more fun making movies than anybody I've ever worked
with. It really is a riot. They will go to any length.

GROSS: Yes, exactly right. They won't stop at anything, and were there times
when you decided, `No, that's too broad. We ought to stop here'?

Mr. MURRAY: Well, I didn't see everything that was in the movie, and when I
finally did see the movie, I was, `Oh, God.' I went, `Holy cow,' because I
was happy with all of my stuff because I did all my stuff, but the stuff I
hadn't seen, I was just, `Oh, man. Oh, God.' You know, it was rough. The
first scene of the movie is so rough and I'd taken my boys and they were--I
don't know. I thought it'd be OK to take them to this movie. I mean, I think
they were, like, 14 and 11 or 13 and 10 or something. And they were shocked,
really shocked. I mean, the first scene in the movie involves, you know, sex
with an extremely unflatteringly painted woman, you know? Not a painted woman
but a woman that's made to appear just almost like grizzly, you know, and
it's, like, retching and terrible. And I was stunned into total, like,
ice--goose flesh hair standing up on your skin silence through the entire
movie. And when I left the movie theater, well, I kept thing, `Oh, my God,
what have I done taking them to this thing?' And we walked in silence from
the movie to the car, which was in an underground parking lot. We must have
walked three-eighths of a mile, and my 10-year-old finally said, `You were
good, Dad.' It was really sad. I felt like, you know, that Child Services
was going to come and, you know, take me in. `You took them to that?' So
their taste goes beyond mine, you know? I wish I could work with them all the
time and have final cut, you know, 'cause I'd say, `OK. Just--we don't have
to do this one here,' but they have so much funny stuff that they do.

GROSS: I'm going to ask you to choose a scene that you improvised in part
from "Kingpin."

Mr. MURRAY: Oh, well, I don't know. There's one line that I improvised, and
I don't know if this will play on the radio. I don't know if it--but there
was a scene that I improvised the--one line of, and it's a scene where I'm
eating breakfast with Woody. And this guy just hits on anybody. I don't
know. He's like a--Is it a peccary? Is that the animal that's in the zoo?
It's kind of a small-time pig that they can--it's one of the few animals they
have in the Central Park Zoo is a peccary. And they have a thought and then
they want to mate. Then they have a thought and then they want to mate. It's
pretty much--that's their pattern.

But this guy was like that where his impulses were basically, `I'm fed and now
a woman, please,' you know? So I just sort of made up this line where it's
just--and it's a horrible offensive line, but it's my standard of
offensiveness to show, you know, as opposed to theirs.

GROSS: OK. Let's hear the scene.

Mr. MURRAY: So this will offend my people out there that's on my wavelength.

GROSS: This is Bill Murray in "Kingpin."

(Soundbite from "Kingpin")

Mr. MURRAY: (As Ernie McCracken) A young bowler like yourself, the tour can
be very difficult, very expensive.

Unidentified Actress #1: Tangueray and Tab.

Mr. MURRAY: (As Ernie McCracken) Keep 'em coming, sweets. I've got a long
drive. Do me a favor, will you? Would you mind washing off that perfume
before you come back to our table?

A little bad luck. If you added it today, all your dreams can go up in smoke.
That's why even we veteran bowlers, we work our way tournament to tournament.
We need a supplemental income.

Mr. WOODY HARRELSON: (As Roy Munson) A supplemental income?

Mr. MURRAY: (As Ernie McCracken) Supplemental.

Mr. HARRELSON: (As Roy Munson) Supplemental.

Mr. MURRAY: (As Ernie McCracken) Yeah, it's extra is what it means. You
interested?

Mr. HARRELSON: (As Roy Munson) Interested?

Mr. MURRAY: (As Ernie McCracken) Interested. Would you be interested in some
extra income?

Mr. HARRELSON: (As Roy Munson) About extra income?

Mr. MURRAY: (As Ernie McCracken) Want to make more money? OK. Why don't you
go eat that outside and then come on back in.

Hi.

Unidentified Actress #2: Hello.

Mr. MURRAY: (As Ernie McCracken) Not you. Hi.

Unidentified Actress #3: Hi.

GROSS: That's a scene from "Kingpin," which was made by the Farrelly brothers
who also made "Something About Mary" and "Dumb & Dumber." And just in case
our listeners didn't make out the final words of that scene, can you tell us
what you were saying to the women at the next table?

Mr. MURRAY: I said, `No, not you. You.'

GROSS: Right.

Mr. MURRAY: He's just a guy who's hitting on women at the next table, and one
woman responds and he goes, `No, not you. You. I mean, I'm not talking to
you. I'm talking to the lady next to you.' And it just came into my head at
that moment, and it was such a horrible thing to say that there was a moment
of complete disbelief and then everyone laughed really hard because it was,
you know, the guy should be taken out and shot, you know?

GROSS: I know you have to go, so I'll just ask you one more question. Are
you ever able to kind of sneak into lounges and watch lounge theater types?

Mr. MURRAY: Well, they usually catch me after a little while, and sometimes
they get extremely nervous, more especially the musicians backing up, 'cause
they're, like, `Oh, God,' 'cause the guy performing may not get it. You know,
he may not be a--they're often--I shouldn't say get it. But, I mean, they're
often in their own little world, you know? So they don't even...

GROSS: They actually think they're good.

Mr. MURRAY: They are--yeah, and they're out of focus to the audience.
Anyway, they don't really see. So it's fun to see the musicians behind them,
and they'll spot me and go, `Oh, God,' you know. And they'll be embarrassed
because they're backing up a guy that is the guy that I did on "Saturday Night
Live."

GROSS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mr. MURRAY: And they'll be, like, winking, going, `Yeah, it's as bad as you
say and we've got to do this every night.' It's funny.

GROSS: Well, Bill Murray, it's really been a pleasure. I want to thank you
very much for talking with us.

Mr. MURRAY: Well, thank you, Terry. I've enjoyed talking to you, too.

(Soundbite from movie)

Mr. MURRAY: Well, good night, everybody, and this is Nick Summer(ph) saying
a Minnamonka(ph) summer is a fun summer. That's what you're here for; that's
what I'm here for. I am a fun guy, and I hope that you had fun tonight. Say,
and one more thing. I want you just to remember (singing) `to sing, that's
right, sing a song. Sing it loud. Sing it sharp.' Remember to put on some
612(ph) when you go out. (Singing) `To say you're happy, not sad.' You know,
we've got beer. It's over at the garbage Dump. Just flash your headlights.
(Singing) `Singing the good times and not the bad. Well, no matter if it's
not good enough'--this is my seventh summer up here--`for anyone else to hear.
Just sing, sing a song. Please won't you sing me a song.

Thank you. Good night.

(Soundbite of applause)

BIANCULLI: Bill Murray speaking with Terry Gross in 1999. Murray is up for
an Academy Award for his role in the film "Lost in Translation."

(Credits)

BIANCULLI: For Terry Gross, I'm David Bianculli.

(Soundbite from movie)

Mr. MURRAY: (Singing) And it's time I feel like it's inside. There's one
thing I want to know. What's so funny about peace, love and understanding...
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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