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Get Serious: Comic Actors in Dramatic Roles
Posted September 27, 2010 to photo album "Get Serious: Comic Actors in Dramatic Roles"
Slide 2: Bill Murray in Lost in Translation
As the deadpanned, quick-tongued comic from Saturday Night Live, Bill Murray proved early on that he was one of America’s great comedians. But as funny as he was, there was also something soulful and sad in Murray just waiting to get out. In films like The Razor’s Edge, Rushmore and Groundhog Day, Murray demonstrated his talent for playing emotionally complex characters. But perhaps nothing prepared audiences for his turn in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 Lost in Translation. Murray plays an American actor (not unlike himself) who’s been brought to Tokyo to shoot an ad for Suntory Whisky. There, in between commercial shoots, he connects to another lost soul, Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), who is waiting at the Park Hyatt Tokyo for her husband to finish a photo shoot. In casting the film, director Coppola was so sure that only Bill Murray could flesh out the complexity of the Bob Harris character that she spent over five months tracking down the elusive actor. And even after Murray agreed to come on board, he didn’t appear on set until the very first day of shooting. But none of that mattered, since his performance was pitch perfect. In the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan wrote, “Like Buster Keaton, his deadpan predecessor, Murray has a face that's tragically sad in repose, and the heroic way he copes with civilization's discontents makes you both laugh and shake your head in rueful empathy.”