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Bill Murray has missed out on a lot of big movies — here’s every strange reason why

By all accounts, Bill Murray is a strange guy. You might pick up on this by his movie roles or his talk show appearances or that time he crashed a random kickball game. But there’s also some pretty compelling evidence in a new book out this week titled “The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray” by Robert Schnakenberg.

The 271-page tome is an alphabetical guide to everything you ever wanted to know about the eccentric actor, and it’s a pretty absorbing read even if you are ambivalent about Murray and his quirks. One of the most entertaining aspects is how the book delves into the well-known fact about how much Murray hates agents and Hollywood representation.

[The ever-elusive Bill Murray will appear in the new ‘Ghostbusters’ movie]

“In 2000, he fired his agents — reportedly for calling him on the phone too often — and replaced them with an automated 800 number,” Schnakenberg writes. “Filmmakers who wish to pitch projects to Murray must leave a message on his voice mailbox, which he rarely checks. When he is interested in a script, Murray demands that it be faxed to him care of his local office supply store.”

“This unique arrangement,” Schnakenberg says, “has resulted in Murray missing out on a number high-profile job offers.”

That’s putting it mildly. Schnakenberg lists many instances where Murray missed out on roles and many of the reasons are … interesting, to say the least. Here are some of the highlights, according to the book:

He refused to pick up the phone.

“Iron Man”: “We wanted Bill to consider a role in ‘Iron Man,’ but nobody could find him,” Robert Downey Jr. said.

“Bad Santa”: “According to director Terry Zwigoff, Murray made a verbal agreement to do the film, but when the time came to sign his contract, he was incommunicado,” Schnakenberg writes. Zwigoff said, “I left several messages on his answering machine, but after a few weeks of hearing nothing, we eventually moved on.”

“Monsters Inc”: Can you imagine the giant blue Sulley as any voice but John Goodman? It could have belonged to Murray. “But when studio executives tried to contact him to offer the part, he was nowhere to be found. Calls to the actor’s vaunted 800 number went unanswered,” Schnakenberg says. Adds director Peter Docter: “We took that to mean no.”

“The People Vs. Larry Flynt”: “Director Miloš Forman claims Murray never returned his phone calls.”

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”: “The elusive actor proved impossible to track down.” (Schnakenberg adds that Murray later regretted missing out on this one.)

“The Squid and the Whale”: “When Murray proved impossible to reach by phone, [director Noah] Baumbach gave up on him.”

He hated the script so much he couldn’t even physically hold it.

“Splash”: “According to actress P.J. Soles, when she presented Murray with the script, he proceeded to fling it across the room in disgust.”

He had an issue with his co-stars.

“About Last Night”: Filmmakers wanted Murray to play the lead and Nick Nolte was also being considered for a supporting part. That was a recipe for disaster. “Negotiations with Murray apparently broke down after a disastrous meeting between Murray and Nolte in New York,” Schnakenberg writes.

“Legal Eagles”: The 1986 legal comedy was supposed to star Murray and Dustin Hoffman. But when Hoffman dropped out so he could make “Ishtar,” Murray was a no-go.

He was taking a cross-country road trip.

“Bottle Rocket”: Schnakenberg notes that “Murray was traveling the country in a Winnebago at the time the film was being cast and never saw the screenplay.” However, he liked Wes Anderson’s style, so got on board for “Rushmore.”

He was legitimately too busy.

“The Dead Zone”: His schedule was too packed for the 1983 David Cronenberg horror film.

He was tired of a certain “type” of movie.

“The Santa Clause”: “After his unpleasant experience on ‘Scrooged,'” where he clashed with filmmakers, “he had no interest in pursuing another holiday-themed project.” So Tim Allen was more than happy to take over.

Untitled Clint Eastwood World War II comedy: “Murray, who had just made ‘Stripes,’ feared being typecast as the ‘service comedy guy’ and declined.”

Multiple romantic comedies: Schnakenberg reports that Murray repeatedly refused to do another rom-com after “Groundhog Day.” “The romantic figure has to behave romantically even after acting like a total swine. It’s ‘I’m so gorgeous, you’re going to have to go through all kinds of hell for me,’ and that isn’t interesting to me,” Murray once said.

It didn’t feel right.

“Airplane!”: “This is gonna work, but it’s not,” Murray was quoted as saying about the cult favorite, after turning down the lead role of Ted Striker.

It took too long to get made.

“Shrek”: According to Schnakenberg, the DreamWorks movie took a decade to get made — and by that point, Murray’s interest had waned.

He was in Paris on sabbatical from showbiz.

“The Witches of Eastwick”; “Lost in America”

Turned down, but no reason listed.

“Alvin and the Chipmunks”; “Boogie Nights”; “Forrest Gump”; “Gung Ho”; “Kindergarten Cop”; “Rain Man”; “Toy Story”

Bill Murray | Create infographics

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