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Geena Davis details the nightmare of working with Bill Murray

In a recent podcast appearance, Geena Davis explained what making Bill Murray’s movie Quick Changeentailed

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Geena Davis and Bill Murray
Geena Davis and Bill Murray
Photo: Jon Kopaloff (Getty Images), Emma McIntyre (Getty Images)

While promoting her new book, Dying Of Politeness, actor, archer, and humanitarian Geena Davis dovetailed into the ongoing public scrutiny of Bill Murray. Known for his grouchy screen demeanor and his viral dalliances with trespassing, Murray became the subject of controversy after allegations of Murray’s misconduct forced Searchlight Pictures to suspend production of Aziz Ansari’s movie Being Mortal. In Dying Of Politeness, Davis detailed her experiences working with Murray on the actor’s 1990 directorial debut Quick Change, but there’s more to tell.

Appearing on On With Kara Swisher (via Variety), Davis described her time with Murray, and, put simply, it sounds awful. Davis paints an abusive picture of the actor many want to believe is a fun-loving guy who could interrupt a wedding at any moment. To Davis’ mind, he’s more of a “pushing women to do things that would make them uncomfortable” guy.

“I went to meet with Bill Murray and his co-director and a producer in a hotel suite,” Davis told Swisher. “And, uh, I came in and went to sit down with everybody sitting there. But Bill Murray popped up and said, ‘Hey, have you ever tried the thumper?’ And I’m like, ‘What? No. What’s that?’ ‘Well, come try it.’ ‘No, no, no.’”

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Davis describes “the thumber” as a “giant massage device with big handles on it,” asking her to “lay down here. I want to try it on you.” Despite her pleading with Murray to stop, telling him, “No, no, no thank you,” he refused to relent. “I keep saying ‘No’ to the point where I would’ve had to scream at him, ‘Stop fucking asking me! I am not doing it. Do you understand?’ Which I was far too timid to do. So I perched on the corner of the bed and let him do it, and he did it for like one second, and then didn’t ask how I liked it or anything. So I realized it was just to see if he could force me to do something inappropriate.”

Unfortunately, the other two men in the room weren’t much help either. “And I looked to them hoping they would say, ‘Come on, Bill, give it up’ or something.”

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Murray’s domineering continued onto the first day of shooting. The first day was complicated, she said, shooting in Manhattan with hundreds of extras and a giant crew. When there was a miscommunication about whether she should be on set or waiting for wardrobe. “They said, ‘We’re ready for you to come to set.’ And I said, ‘Well, costumes asked me to wait here one second. Can I do that, or should I come with you?’” The assistant director answered by telling her that she should wait for the costumes.

However, Murray allegedly cleared up the confusion by humiliating Davis in front of the entire production. “Seconds later, Bill Murray—in a full clown costume, by the way—slams into the trailer with rage coming out of his eyeballs and starts screaming at me and swearing at me, ‘Get the fuck out there! What the fuck are you doing? Move! Move!’” Davis said. “And he got behind me and screamed in my ear, ‘Move! Move faster! Move it!’ And we’re getting to this intersection where there’s hundreds of people watching this, and he keeps it up and keeps it up until he says, ‘Stand there’ and points to a mark on the pavement and starts shooting.”

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“Talking about it actually, it’s still — it’s very emotional for me because I felt so ashamed,” she said, telling Swisher that she was “literally shaking” over the incident.

Obviously, people hate hearing that a beloved screen icon might not be a great person. It’s very easy to conflate feelings of appreciation for one’s work and their actual character, especially when Murray’s been playing the same character for so long that many assume that’s just who he is. But in no other industry would it be acceptable to take abuse from a boss or employer in this way, and this situation is no different.