Two days ago, production on Aziz Ansari’s feature directorial debut, Being Mortal, was suspended after a complaint was made and production company Searchlight determined “that production cannot continue at this time”. Yesterday, further details emerged that star Bill Murray was the subject of the complaint for “inappropriate behavior”. That covers a wide swath of possibilities, but for anyone who doubts Beloved Superstar Bill Murray could ever be guilty of such things, just remember how he treated Lucy Liu back in 1999 when they were making Charlie’s Angels. Back then, everything that came out painted Liu as the one in the wrong, the “difficult” one. But if something like that happened today? It would be a different story. Maybe even a “the production is suspended” story.
Beyond clarifying Bill Murray as the subject of the complaint, there are no other details at this time. It’s not known if Murray will be cut from the production and replaced, as Netflix recently did when Frank Langella was the subject of complaints on set, nor is it clear what the nature of the complaint even is. Could be lewd jokes, could be interpersonal conflict as was recounted by Liu, could be full-blown sexual harassment, like Langella. This leaves Being Mortal and everyone working on it in an awkward spot, with no solid information about what happens next, if the project is cancelled or will resume at a later date, but that they have fully suspended production while they continue investigating doesn’t bode well. Something serious must have happened, because this is money down the drain, not unlike the Langella situation at Netflix. While I don’t think as much has changed in the industry as needs to following the revelations of the #MeToo era, it is also clear that some things HAVE changed, one of them being poor behavior on set is a lot less tolerated now, even among the superstar class.