We talk to the legend that is BILL MURRAY about Ghostbusters 3 and this weekend’s sci-fi adventure movie City Of Ember
Based on the 2003 novel by Jeanne Duprau, City Of Ember tells the tale of two children, Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow, who live in an underground city built to house a human community for 200 years.
The film which stars Bill Murray, Tim Robbins and Irish actress Saoirse Ronan was filmed here in Ireland. A former paint hall in the shipyard of Harland and Wolff in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter was transformed into the post-apocalyptic city.
Here Bill Murray talks about the movie, filming in Ireland and Ghostbusters three!
Q: How’d you get involved with City Of Ember?
BILL MURRAY: I can’t remember, but someone sent me the script. And I opened the script and it said written by Caroline Thompson. And Caroline Thompson’s a writer that I met a long time ago when I first went to California and my agent sent me around to meet other writers. We went out to a bar that was a diner during the day on Lincoln Avenue. At night, it became a Mexican horn bar. And it was like a full orchestra with, like, six horns. And the temperature was about 130 degrees. And all people did was drink rum straight and dance. And I thought, I could work with this writer. But I never saw her again. But she’s written some great films – Beetle Juice and a number of others. So I got her number and I called her. And she said, “Oh, you’re gonna love this– this director,” this Gil Kenan. “You’re gonna like him.” So then I figured out who he was and I saw Monster House. And I figured this guy’s good enough to work with.
Q: What type of research did you do to prepare for your role?
BILL MURRAY: I did a little research. I found that the book was a book that kids in America read in school now. They read it in middle school. And when I told my sons I was gonna be in it, they said, “Oh! You’re gonna be the mayor?” And I hadn’t even read the script or the movie yet. And I thought, “They already know what’s being spoken about and I don’t.” So when I read it, I read it from their point of view. I tried to think of, like, what they made of this guy, what this mayor was. And to the degree that a mayor can be a father figure who can disappoint you – I’m a father and I’ve probably disappointed on occasion. So, I just thought of when you’re most disappointed is when you talk the talk and you don’t live up to it. And that’s pretty much what he did.
Q: How was it filming in Ireland?
BILL MURRAY: As far as Ireland goes, thecrews were amazingly professional and devoted to the work. And the extras were unlike any extras I’ve ever worked with anywhere in the world. They were so completely devoted to the scene and to being in the scene. It was so helpful.
Q: The City of Ember itself was built for this film. What was it like, in an era of CGI and green screens, actually being immersed into a “real world”?
BILL MURRAY: When you walk in and there’s a street and an underground city that’s 55 or 60 feet high with tunnels underneath it and there’s decaying doors and windows and real doors that open, real glass, it’s not so hard to say “I’m living in a crumbling society,” when you walk in for work and there it is. It was so simple. And the costumes as well – the best costumes I’ve ever worn – the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in any film by far.
Q: You play a hero in Ghostbusters and a villain in this movie. Is it more fun playing a good guy or a bad guy?
BILL MURRAY:It’s so much easier to be a bad guy. It’s a piece a cake. I keep saying, “Why do they give Oscars to guys
that play bad guys,” ’cause it’s so simple. Play a good guy some time.
That’s hard. Play a really, decent good person. That’s hard.
Q: What is the latest on Ghostbusters 3?
BILL MURRAY: There’s someone trying to write a script – two fellows from The Office. But I have yet to see it. But it’s possible. It’s a great idea that they hired these two guys to do it, ’cause I think it could be a fresh look at it. And it could be funny. I think the original was the goods. The sequel had a few great scenes in it but it wasn’t the same movie. So there’s never been an interest in a third Ghostbusters ’cause the second one was kind of disappointing – for me, anyway. But the third one could happen. They’ve hired two guys from The Office to write a screenplay, which I think is a smart idea. It’s a fresh look at it.
City Of Ember is at Irish Cinemas from October 10th