Bill Murray on acting

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orange camo
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Bill Murray on acting

#1 Post by orange camo » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:11 pm

Here are some quotes by Bill Murray on acting, and some quotes by Bill's peers on his acting technique:

Bill: I went to Second City, where you learned to make the other actor look good so you looked good and National Lampoon, where you had to create everything out of nothing, and SNL, where you couldn't make any mistakes, and you learned what collaboration was.

Bill Murray: (In a 1999 interview for BNet Magazine) I really believe an actor's job is to serve.

'Second City's first law was that onstage its performers should avoid tension and strive for harmony. "You're supposed to make your fellow actors look good," says Ramis, also an early Second City star. "Bill internalized that ethic more than most. Belushi would come out, and the audience would laugh before he opened his mouth, but then he'd go into an extended character thing that would make the other actors feel superfluous. Bill got other people involved. He had energy, integrity. He was fascinating to watch."

Bill: Well, there's something about him that's… there is a certain integrity when you can destroy about what you do—you know, when you're able to laugh at yourself. Even in life, people who can laugh at themselves are the only ones I can really bear.

Bill: "Harold [Ramis] and Dan [Aykroyd] wrote the script wherever there wasn't a line, they'd say, 'Well, we gotta have a line here'. We just made stuff up. When I saw the movie the other night. I realized more of it was improvised than I thought especiallv the action stuff. I'd never worked on a movie where the script was good. Stripes and Meatballs, we rewrote the script every single day. I think most movie actors change their lines nowadays. I didn't use to think so. Then I worked for Dustin Hoffman [in Tootsie]. Dustin changed all his lines a lot of the time. He gave a different performance every single take. He shot five different movies. Even if he didn't change the lines, he would change the meaning. How they cut that movie, I don't know. I think it's the only way to work. I don't believe that you can give the same performance every take. It's physically impossible, so why bother? If you don't do what is happening at that moment, then it's not real. Then you're holding something back." Rolling Stone, August 16, 1984

Bill: "Comedy is not effortless. The key is to get in a good humour - to have fun. That's not as easy as you might think. Obviously, if you're going to work for eight to 12 hours, you're not going to be in a good mood all day. So it takes a lot of tricks. You really have to get yourself to a place where you're ready to work. You've got to free yourself of a lot of tension so you can make your responses as genuine as possible. The real magic happens when you've got it socked in - when you know all the moves. You know exactly what you're supposed to do, but you're also relaxed. And then, something happens. It's physical, but it's also in the way you speak. And it's within. Then, when you face the camera, the real magic comes. To get to that point, though, can take years of practice." Stills, December 1984

Bill: "If you're a real true comedian, you can act," Murray said. "Because it's the ability to say a line straight. You have to be able to play straight to do comedy."

'After graduation, Murray briefly studied pre-med at Regis College in Denver before running out of money, drifting back to Chicago and landing at the improvisational comedy troupe Second City, where his gifts for performance and his nascent moral code merged into the beginnings of the person he is today. "He had a very special talent," recalls Josephine Forsberg, Murray's first improv teacher. "He could project the good part of himself, the part that is optimistic and charming, onto an audience. His darker side he'd show in private, but never onstage. But what I really loved about Billy was that he supported everybody so well."

Bill Murray: (Speaking at the Columbia University School of the Arts 2000 graduation) I have a degree-from high school. But I am a [expletive deleted] millionaire....I just sort of got into acting to get out of the house....My mother was driving me nuts....And I stayed with it because I found that the more fun I had doing it, the better I did....If you have fun and don't become envious, you can do this art thing; you can get art done.

'He is nonchalant about the process of his acting or creating imaginary backgrounds for his characters because, "it tears you away from where you are, from the moment. The most important thing is, when the camera rolls, you're there."

Here are some books that illustrate the acting training that Bill recieved in Second City and continued learning at Saturday Night Live:

Truth In Comedy The Manual of Improvisation

The Second City Almanac of Improvisation, ed. Anne Libera

Live From New York

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