Production has been halted since Monday on Searchlight’s Being Mortal, the directorial debut film of Aziz Ansari, with reports swirling about that actor Bill Murray has been accused of “inappropriate behavior.”
A letter Searchlight sent to the cast and crew on Wednesday reveals the reasons for its decision to suspend production for the time being, but did not specifically mention Murray. Searchlight later told reporters that it did not comment on ongoing investigations.
Here is the text of the letter: Dear Being Mortal Cast and Crew,
We know you are all concerned about the recent delays in production and want to give you an update. Late last week, we were made aware of a complaint, and we immediately looked into it. After reviewing the circumstances, it has been decided that production cannot continue at this time. We are truly grateful to all of you for everything you’ve put into this project. Our hope is to resume production and are working with Aziz and Youree to figure out that timing. Production will be in touch with you to share details on the wrap, and we will let you know as soon as we have more information to share.
Ansari is writing and directing the film, and is starring in it with Seth Rogen. It was reported that they were not among the complainants. Shooting on the film had begun in late March, with a 2023 release date in mind. The script is based on the book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande.
This is not the first time that Murray has been the butt of complaints about his unruly behavior over the years, earning the SNL icon a “bad boy” reputation. Old timers still remember his altercation with Chevy Chase on the set of Saturday Night Live during the show’s early days.
In 2000, Murray had a riff with Lucy Liu, who’d complained he’d made “unexcusable and unacceptable” comments to her while they were filming Charlie’s Angels. The film’s director, McG, later recounted that Murray had nearly “obliterated” his nose in a head-butting incident, an allegation that Murray called “bullshit” and “complete crap.” In an interview two years ago, Richard Dreyfuss called Murray a “drunken bully” claiming the actor had thrown an ashtray at him when they were filming What About Bob? back in 1991. Murray also reportedly threatened Laura Ziskin, its writer/producer. It’s still unclear when production might resume or whether the suspension might affect the projected release date.