Bill Murray would theoretically be a great fit for the American remake of Toni Erdmann. He was even part of a fantasy cast put together by Indiewire. After all, what other over-60 male celebrity comes to mind when you think of an impish-yet-melancholy prankster? However, Jack Nicholson got the role, a move that might be in part because Murray could not get his shit together to watch the screener.
In an interview with CNBC, Murray, wearing overalls, doesn’t mention the film by name. He does, however, relay a story in which Kristen Wiig, who is co-starring with Nicholson, wanted him to watch “something” and he didn’t. “I’m in trouble with myself because Kristen Wiig, who I think is so wonderful, sent me something and said, ‘Would you look at this thing?’ And I’m just not very organized,” he explained. So he lost what we presume is a copy of the German film, and even though he has since found it, he missed his opportunity. “I didn’t get around to watching this thing that she wanted me to watch, and then she said, ’Well, Jack Nicholson took the job,’” he continued. “Well, you know that guy’s a poacher. He’ll take anything. So I think I’m out of that one.”
Considering the project was reportedly built around Nicholson’s desire to do it, it’s unclear whether Murray had a real chance. But apparently he couldn’t be bothered to figure that out.