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Bill Murray: Complaint about behavior was over ‘difference of opinion’

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Roughly two weeks after Searchlight Pictures suspended production on the film “Being Mortal” to investigate a complaint filed against Bill Murray, the actor described the inciting incident as “a difference of opinion.”

On Saturday, Murray attended Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, where he sat down with CNBC for an on-camera interview. Murray, a shareholder himself, was asked about the production shutdown first reported April 20 by Deadline, which the next day named Murray as the subject of the complaint.

“I had a difference of opinion with a woman I’m working with,” Murray told CNBC. “I did something I thought was funny, and it wasn’t taken that way. The company — the movie studio — wanted to do the right thing, so they wanted to check it all out and investigate it, and so they stopped the production.”

Murray said he and the woman who filed the complaint are “trying to make peace with each other.”

“We’re both professionals,” he continued. “We like each other’s work. We like each other, I think. If we can’t really get along and trust each other, there’s no point in going further working together or making the movie as well.”

Searchlight confirmed the suspension but said it does not comment on investigations. “Being Mortal,” based on surgeon Atul Gawande’s book of the same name, is comedian Aziz Ansari’s directorial feature debut. Deadline reported that the film, which also stars Seth Rogen and Keke Palmer, was halfway through filming.

Someone close to the production who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation previously told The Washington Post they believed most crew members to be “extremely sad and heartbroken that this particular production is shutting down” because, “for many people, this was the best set they had been on.”

The person said they had “great concerns about the legitimacy of the complaint” and that, from their perspective, everyone on set “was respectful and supportive of one another.”

The complaint against Murray arrived nearly a year after actress Lucy Liu spoke to the Los Angeles Times about her issues working with the actor on the set of 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels.” She recalled Murray “hurl[ing] insults” at her while doing a scene and said “some of the language was inexcusable and unacceptable.”

“I was not going to just sit there and take it,” Liu said. “So, yes, I stood up for myself, and I don’t regret it. Because no matter how low on the totem pole you may be or wherever you came from, there’s no need to condescend or to put other people down. And I would not stand down, and nor should I have.”

Speaking to CNBC, Murray said the past couple of weeks had been “quite an education for me.”

“You know, the world is different than it was when I was a little kid,” he said. “What I always thought was funny as a little kid isn’t necessarily the same as what’s funny now. Things change. The times change. It’s important for me to figure it out, and I think the most important thing is that it’s best for the other person.”

He added, “You learn so much more from your mistakes than from your successes.”

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