Bill Murray and Harold Ramis friction over ‘Groundhog Day’ made the movie ‘considerably less fun to make’, says producer
Although they shot six movies together, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis didn’t have a healthy relationship after filming “Groundhog Day” in 1993.
Ramis, who died in 2014 after suffering complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, not only starred opposite Murray in films but also directed the former ‘Saturday Night Live’ actor.
In addition to co-writing the screenplay, Ramis directed “Groundhog Day,” which producer Trevor Albert said caused a “tense” environment on set between the director and star actor Murray.
“It was a tense shoot for a number of reasons,” Albert told The Hollywood Reporter, ahead of the film’s 30th anniversary.
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“It was unfortunate and it probably made the movie a lot less fun to make. But you can still make a really good movie when people aren’t in perfect harmony,” he added.
Danny Rubin, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ramis, told The New Yorker in 2004 that Ramis and Murray’s relationship was changing at the time of filming, in part due to Murray’s personal life and behavior.
“They were like two brothers who didn’t get along,” Rubin explained. “And they were pretty far off on what the movie was about – Bill wanted it to be more philosophical, and Harold kept reminding him it was a comedy.”
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Ramis, for his part, elaborated on the flaw, saying after filming, “Sometimes Bill was really irrationally mean and unavailable; he was constantly late to set… What I would like to say to him is exactly that. that we tell our kids, “You don’t have to throw tantrums to get what you want. Just say what you want.”
Ramis and Murray, who also collaborated on films such as ‘Caddyshack’ and ‘Ghostbusters’, had a rocky friendship, although Murray was godfather to one of Ramis’ daughters.
After the film, their communication stopped; the men stopped talking to each other.
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“It’s a huge hole in my life,” Ramis said of the loss. “But there are so many pride issues with reaching out. Bill would give you his kidney if you needed it, but he wouldn’t necessarily return your phone calls.”
Other than brief exchanges at parties over the years, the men wouldn’t get together until just before Ramis died in 2014, according to a report by Variety.