In September 2015, the actor Bill Murray mysteriously appeared at Oscar’s Tavern in Rittenhouse Square, where he was spotted celebrating his son’s wedding while missing that year’s Emmy Awards.
Weird, yes — but not for Murray, who has become something of a legend thanks to his appearances in unusually normal places for a celebrity of his caliber. The actor, after all, has crashed house parties in Austin, Texas, taken part in an engagement photo shoot in South Carolina, and done dishes at a home in Scotland, among other outlandish acts.
Now, one Philly filmmaker is making a documentary about the phenomenon that is the Bill Murray story. And he needs your help.
Director Tommy Avallone, known for his work on 2014’s I Am Santa Claus and 2015’s Ghostheads, hopes to highlight Murray’s many maneuvers with The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man.
“He’s Bigfoot, man,” Avallone says. “Well, he himself isn’t, but the stories are. He’s a normal dude that happens to be extremely famous.”
Avallone has been traveling around the country to collect Bill Murray stories for the film, and has made it as far as Scotland and London to hear fans’ tales. So far they have documented the big stories, but the director hopes to fill in his doc with some lesser-known stories from fans.
Avallone is accepting story submissions online via the film’s official website, TheBillMurrayStories.com, and email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, through Oct. 7. As the filmmaker notes, he wants to hear tamer fare in addition to wild tales — and if you’ve got more info about Murray’s visit to Oscar’s a couple of years ago, he’ll take that, too.
“It doesn’t always have to be the crazy story, like Bill Murray stealing your French fries,” the director says. “It’s the small, little things that are very funny. I’m sure there are ones that we haven’t gotten, and we want to hear about them.”
Avallone wouldn’t reveal whether members of the film’s crew have heard from Murray himself, though they did call the actor’s storied 1-800 number — a line Murray uses in lieu of an agent or manager.
“It’s a difficult number to get,” Avallone says.
With any luck, Avallone says, we’ll find out the answer in mid-2018, when he hopes to release the film. It is unclear how it will be distributed, but Avallone’s previous work has been featured on Netflix after runs on the film-festival circuit.
While a documentary about Bill Murray sightings might sound odd for a filmmaker who has focused on Santa Claus impersonators and Ghostbusters cosplayers, Avallone says it isn’t that far off. Murray, as the director put it, is similar to Santa.
“We did documentaries about these people who make magical moments happen in your life, and to make a Bill Murray documentary next is quite the same,” Avallone says. “He’s not unlike Santa, except Santa has a designated date when he does his thing, and Bill Murray doesn’t.”