Bill Murray Tried to Make an Improvised Movie in 1984

Will Harris over at The A.V. Club has a great interview with actress Jami Gertz today. Gertz was one of the stars of Anne Beatts’s short-lived, much-loved sitcom Square Pegs, which Beatts’s SNL buddy Bill Murray guested on once. In the interview, Gertz reveals that Murray was trying to put together an improvised movie circa 1983/1984 and had recruited her to be part of the cast:

“I did some improv with [Bill Murray] back in Chicago, with Del Close. He really introduced me into the improv world and what improv is all about. In fact, there was a small time there where we were… well, he was trying to get a movie through improvisation, and he had put together a whole group of people, including Dana Delany, Bud Cort, Bill Irwin, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Bill. And for a couple of months there, he was trying to get a movie script through improv. I mean, it never happened, but for me, I think I was 19, maybe only 18 at the time. We went to study with Del at Second City, then we went to New York and studied, and we would just do improv all day long. It was very interesting, and it was like school for me. It was like a master class in improv.”

The interview also contains a great story about Bill Murray spontaneously teaching a teenage Jami Gertz how to drive, proving that we haven’t even scraped the surface on all the crazy Bill Murray stories out there:

“Because I was from Chicago, he called me ‘Chicago.’ And I had just gotten my driver’s license, so he threw me the keys to his car at lunch one time and said, ‘Let’s go!’ And I got in the car, and we just started driving around. We went to In-and-Out Burger in Norwalk, California, and I think they started looking for us, because he had absconded with a minor! [Laughs.] But I was like, ‘Mr. Murray, I know how to drive!’ So he threw me the keys to this, like, Mercedes convertible, and we were just driving around for an hour during lunch. We came back to, like, ‘Where the hell were you?’ And he’s like, ‘She just learned how to drive!'”

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