How Bill Murray lost the Toni Erdmann remake to Jack Nicholson
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Who did Kristen Wiig call when she had an opportunity to play the role of a lifetime? Bill Murray. The only problem? According to the Oscar-nominated actor, he didn’t answer as effectively as he should’ve.
During a recent interview with CNBC, Murray, recognized by the Academy for his work in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 drama Lost in Translation, explained how Hollywood icon Jack Nicholson nabbed the lead role in the upcoming American remake of Maren Ade’s Cannes comedy Toni Erdmann over him.
“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 said. “For a while, I lost it, and then I found it … but I didn’t get around to watching this thing that she wanted me to watch.”
Upon the premiere of Ade’s critically lauded feature last year, discussion of an American remake swirled. Names like Jeff Bridges, Al Pacino, Nathan Lane, and Larry David were quickly floated as likely contenders to tackle the role of an aging father, Winfried Conradi (Peter Simonischek), who dons a wig and false teeth as the titular alter ego, ultimately playing elaborate pranks on his workaholic daughter (Sandra Hüller) in the hopes of reconnecting with her.
Casting decisions for the Paramount adaptation surfaced last week, however, with Nicholson confirmed to come out of his rumored retirement to play the part, and Wiig stepping into Hüller’s role as his on-screen daughter.
Murray said Wiig broke the news to him after he’d misplaced the materials she’d sent him.
“She said, ‘Well, Jack Nicholson took the job,’” he revealed.
Toni Erdmann, which bowed in limited release last December before receiving an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film, competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes and won five European Film Awards, including best European film.
Ade will executive-produce the U.S. version, as will The Big Short helmer Adam McKay and actor Will Ferrell via their Gloria Sanchez Productions label.