Bill Murray really needs no introduction. His comedic work in Ghostbusters, Stripes, Groundhog Day, and Caddyshack has become the stuff of legend. Similarly, his work in the indie circuit with such directors as Sofia Coppola, Jim Jarmusch and Wes Anderson has earned him a pleasant-but-edgy persona while also showcasing the actor’s range. Couple this with the fact that the actor is rumored to have covered the eyes of fans before asking “Guess who?” only to tell them shortly afterward, “No one will ever believe you,” whilst walking away. In short, the man is untouchable.
For Hyde Park on Hudson, Bill Murray took on a character very similar to himself. Like Murray, FDR enjoyed the affection shown to him by the American public to the point of entertaining for it. In the film, this is demonstrated by showing the FDR’s skill in entertaining King George VI. On the other hand, Hyde Park on Hudson shows a side of Roosevelt not usually known by the general public – one comprised of affairs with distant cousins and other women, days of self-loathing and a general ennui.
“When I was doing it, it came from a major highway in here,” Murray said, pointing to his chest. “Some of that stuff was coming right down the interstate. It was like whoosh. Because I can do that. I’ve got that weapon, or that tool. I can do that at 90 miles an hour, I can do that at 115.”
Director Roger Michell claims to only have had Bill Murray in mind for starring role due to his seemingly endless amounts of charisma. Michell claims it was a combination of something he sees in Murray as “forgivable,” “mischievous,” and “ineffably charming”.
“Roger said to me, ‘If you don’t do it, I’m not going to do the movie,’” Murray said. “They always say that, but I could see why I was a good call for this one. You like to get ones like that, where you go, ‘Holy cow, I can kill this one. I can kill this thing.’”
Fortunately, audiences will not have to wait long to see if Murray is right. Hyde Park on Hudson hits theaters Dec. 7. Murray will star alongside Laura Linney, Olivia Williams and Samuel West. We’re sure that the leading man is right about his own abilities and natural gift for playing FDR. After all, it is Bill Murray we’re talking about here.