A new report details Bill Murray's allegedly inappropriate behavior on the set of Being Mortal.
The film, directed by Aziz Ansari, was shut down in April after a complaint was made against the comedic actor by an unidentified person working on the film. That same month, Murray said he had done "something I thought was funny, and it wasn't taken that way" and it was "a difference of opinion with a woman I'm working with." Now, details of what happened have emerged in a new report, including Murray reportedly making a $100,000 settlement.
Puck reports, via multiple sources, that Murray, 72, was "particularly friendly" with one "much younger" female production staffer. Murray, who felt she had been flirting with him, allegedly straddled her on a bed that was part of the production set. He kissed her on the mouth while they both had on masks, amid COVID protocols. Murray said he was joking, but the "horrified" woman, who was allegedly pinned down under Murray's weight, couldn't move and "interpreted his actions as entirely sexual."
The report noted that the person accusing Murray of inappropriate behavior was not actress Keke Palmer, as some speculated it was.
After the incident, the production staffer made a complaint as did a witness. Disney's Searchlight unit suspended production. Murray reportedly felt "miserable" about what happened. Not just what he deemed a "miscommunication" with the production staffer, but that the crew had lost their jobs as a result of his behavior. He decided to mediate with the staffer in hopes of putting it behind him and resuming production. The woman also reportedly wanted to finish the film, and they agreed to a settlement in which he would pay her just over $100,000. The settlement also included a non-disclosure agreement, and the woman reportedly waived the right to sue the producers of Being Mortal, including Searchlight and Disney, in the future.
While Murray was hoping to continue the film — adapted from Atul Gawande's non-fiction book about end-of-life care — there has been no movement on that front due to the nature of controversy in this post-#MeToo era, per the outlet. Making it even more complicated, director Ansari faced resurfaced sexual misconduct allegations amid #MeToo. Ansari is said to be shopping the film elsewhere.
Murray's lawyer David Nochimson has not responded to request for comment about Puck's report. The actor spoke to CNBC in April about the film being suspended, saying, "I did something I thought was funny, and it wasn't taken that way. The company, the movie studio wanted to do the right thing so they wanted to check it all out, investigate it and so they stopped the production. But as of now, we're talking and we're trying to make peace with each other. I think that's where the real issue is between our peace. We're both professionals. We like each other's work. We like each other I think and if you can't really get along and trust each other, there's no point in going further working together or making a movie as well."
He called the experience "quite the education" for him. "What I always thought was funny as a little kid isn't necessarily the same as what's funny now. Things change and the times change so it's important for me to figure it out."
The details about Murray's alleged behavior on the set comes on the heels of Geena Davis detailing a negative experience with him making their 1990 crime comedy Quick Change.
In her new memoir, Dying of Politeness, she detailed an uncomfortable first meeting with Murray, who co-directed the film, in a hotel suite, where Murray reportedly "insisted" on using a massage device on her. Davis, who said Murray wouldn't take no for an answer, finally relented and let him place "the thing on my back for a total of about two seconds."
Later, while making the film, Davis claimed Murray verbally berated her in front of the crew. He came to her trailer, where she was waiting for her wardrobe, and screamed at her for being late. He then continued to scream as she hurried to to the set. She there were more than 300 people there witnessing it.
"For publicity, I saw him after we made the movie, but other than that, I haven't seen him or spoken to him," Davis told People magazine. "I figure it's sort of rather universally known that he could be difficult to work with. And so I don't feel like I'm busting him in a way that will necessarily shock him. I think he knows very well the way he can behave."
Last year, Lucy Liu detailed a hostile exchange with Murray while making 2000's Charlie's Angels. She said a scene had been reworked, but Murray didn't attend the rehearsal, and he was angry when they were set and the script had been changed. He singled her out, she claimed, and hurled insults at her.