Given how difficult he is to contact, it is amazing Bill Murray is ever in a film. The comedic legend does not have an agent or a manager (he fired them over a decade ago), so if you'd like to approach Murray about appearing in your movie you have call a 1-800 number and leave a message on the answering machine. If he's interested he'll call you back. Some filmmakers are more persistent than others: Sofia Coppola claims to have left over 500 messages on the service just to get Murray to look at the script for 2003's Lost in Translation. Robert Downey Jr. recently admitted that he had suggested Murray for a role in the original Iron Man, but the producers never heard back from the deadpan actor.
Nonetheless, Murray works steadily, if to the beat of his own drum. With Hyde Park on Hudson, where Murray plays revered U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in cinemas now, he already has roles underway in George Clooney's The Monuments Men, where he joins an all-star cast of the director, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett, in the story of art historians trying to secure purloined Nazi loot at the end of World War II, and the next Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Anderson, who changed the perception of Murray when he snared him for 1998's Rushmore, is making a period comedy that also stars Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law and Saoirse Ronan.
Murray's latest commitment is to the independent comic drama St. Vincent De Van Nuys. The feature debut of writer/director Ted Melfi is the story of a 12-year-old boy who following the divorce of his parents comes under the unlikely care of a new neighbour, a misanthropic retired war veteran. Murray, naturally, plays the latter, bestowing choice wisdom on the child, while the boy's struggling mother will be played by comic actress Melissa McCarthy. The cast is rounded out by Sam Rockwell and Chris O'Dowd.
Thompson takes St. Tropez
The French writer-turned-director Daniele Thompson, who grew up in the cinema thanks to being the daughter of famous comic filmmaker Gerard Oury and actress Jacqueline Roma, looks likely to continue her run of deft, crowd-pleasing comic melodramas that already includes Jet Lag and Orchestra Seats. It Happened in St. Tropez will tell the story of two disconnected middle-aged brothers who are drawn closer together when one loses his wife just as the other's daughter marries. Thompson, who writes with her own son Christopher as her father did with her, has cast Eric Elmosnino (Gainsbourg), Monica Bellucci (Irreversible) and Kad Merad (The Chorus).
Shailene splits town
Can't get enough film adaptations of young adult novels about dystopic futures and strange names? Expect Divergent to join The Hunger Games and other franchises currently going into production. Veronica Roth's novel, the first in a trilogy, depicts a future Chicago divided into five states each based on a dominant personality trait (selfless, peaceful, honest, brave, and intelligent). Trouble comes when a 16-year-old girl – Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) – learns that she is capable of belonging to all the tribes. The likes of Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) and Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class) have been cast, but the movie has now secured a fascinating nemesis for Woodley's Tris, with the addition of the gifted English actress Kate Winslet.