The One Reason Bill Murray Hated Making ‘Scrooged’

Bill Murray in a tuxedo against a blue background

By Elyse Johnson |

Bill Murray in a tuxedo against a blue background

(Getty Images)

Scrooged is one of Bill Murray’s most iconic and well-known films. While the movie is undoubtedly a cult classic, it wasn’t always Murray’s cup of tea. The actor had some serious frustrations when it came to its production.

Scrooged is the modern-day retelling of the Christmas tale and follows the life of corrupt television executive Frank Cross. Cross is visited by a succession of three ghosts on Christmas Eve who help him regain his Christmas spirit — it’s classic. While the film went on to become one of the most played Christmas films during the holiday season, not everyone was a fan of it. One notable critic was, of course, Roger Ebert.

In 1990, Ebert sat down with Murray, where he shared his distaste for the film with the actor. Ebert stated that he didn’t find the film amusing, leading Murray to share his frustrations with the movie. The biggest problem, Murray seems to think, was the director, Richard Donner. Ebert asked the actor if he’d ever had any disagreements with Donner.

“Only a few. Every single minute of the day,” Murray told the critic. “That could have been a really, really great movie. The script was so good. There’s maybe one take in the final cut movie that is mine. We made it so fast, it was like doing a movie live. He kept telling me to do things louder, louder, louder. I think he was deaf.”

Bill Murray, the difficult artist

To Donner’s credit, Murray has been known to be a handful on set due to his mood swings and temper. The actor has gotten into various feuds and altercations with fellow actors and directors. While filming the movie What About Bob?, the actor did not get along with co-star Richard Dreyfuss. The two confirmed in separate interviews that they had multiple disagreements on set, with Dreyfuss claiming that Murray even threw an ashtray at him while he was intoxicated.

Murray also got into a dispute with Lucy Liu while filming Charlie’s Angels, reportedly telling the actress that she “can’t act.” The actor was also not able to have certain chemistry with Scarlett Johansson while they filmed the movie, Lost in Translation.

There’s also the infamous tale of how Murray punched Chevy Chase in the face after Chase left Saturday Night Live to pursue an acting career. The incident occurred in 1978 when Chase had returned to guest host the late-night comedy show. The fight happened “because we all felt mad he had left us, and somehow I was the anointed avenging angel, who had to speak for everyone,” Murray explained.

The scuffle initially damaged the two actors’ relationship, but they are currently on friendly terms again. Murray also made amends with his former Ghostbusters co-star Harold Ramis before Ramis passed in 2014. The actor is currently signed on to reprise his role as Dr. Peter Venkman in the direct sequel to the 1984 classic.