CANNES, France — Sitting across from “Moonrise Kingdom” filmmaker Wes Anderson, decked out in a corduroy suit on the beaches of the French Riviera during the Cannes Film Festival, I can’t help but ask about his relationship with his muse (and my personal hero), Bill Murray.
Anderson feels around for the words to adequately characterize their connection, which has developed over the course of six films. “Bill is the kind of guy,” he begins, “There aren’t that many people you could turn to if there was a mob and say, ’Please, guide them this way or that way.’ ”
Just then, a voice off camera distracts Anderson. The voice remarks how great the “Moonrise Kingdom” premiere party was the previous night.
“Yes it was, it was,” Anderson responds. “We were literally in the middle of me speculating about what you get out of this experience of working together.”
At this point, I realize Bill Murray is standing just over my left shoulder. “I was going to go on,” Anderson says to Murray, “but then I thought maybe it’s better if you just say.”
It occurs to me that this is actually happening: Bill Murray is crashing my interview with Wes Anderson. Looking more like he’s on vacation than promoting a film, Murray joins Anderson on camera. I take my cue to sit back and watch.
“It’s really fun, and I do feel that I am sort of in the center, because I’ve been in [Anderson’s films] a long time,” Murray says. “And I welcome others to come in, and I try to inform them of the rules of the place and how they have to behave. And the great thing is that the kid [Anderson] keeps getting better and better. … I’m so proud of what he does now and how much fun he’s having doing it. Because that’s the reason I do it, ’cause I have fun doing it. And he’s really done an excellent job of instructing others how to have fun and make it a real adventure to play.”
“Pretty good, pretty good!” Anderson says.
“Yeah, for just waking up!” Murray replies.
After this moment of sincere, shared admiration, Anderson asks, “Can I hug him on MTV News?”
Who am I to stop them? I look back to the camera to make sure this is real. After their embrace, Anderson compliments the longhorn skull on the sleeve of Murray’s polo shirt. There’s some discussion of meeting on a boat later. I immediately get the impression that these two are as close as we all like to think they are. I imagine the two of them taking turns playing old 45s for each other by lantern light in a tent in the living room.
And then he was gone. Anderson acknowledges that his moment with Murray ate up a bunch of my interview time, a point so ludicrous it actually proves what an earnest guy he is. Someone tells me I’ve still got a couple of minutes left with him. How do I possibly follow that?
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