Bill Murray Gets Serious On Acting, Religion, Seatbelt Safety, And Politics

Scott Falkner

Billy Murray was recently interviewed by the Guardian, and in the interview, the legendary comedic actor spoke about - among other things - the Catholic Church, seatbelt safety, and politics.

The interview took place the day after Bill Murray Day at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Murray was promoting his latest picture, St. Vincent.

When asked what he thought of having an entire day named after him, Bill seemed cautiously amused.

"I was sort of dreading it, I thought it would be so embarrassing. But people seemed to think it was as funny as I did. It was just as good as having a birthday and a great cake and fireworks. It was a good day."

Speaking of giving an actor an entire "day," Bill Murray was asked why he thinks the public puts so much stock in actors and Hollywood stars.

"It's always a question for me: how are people pulling this off? How can they live with it, how they can be that person up on a screen and then walk down a street or go to a grocery store or drive a car or have a conversation. Like: how does that happen? Where do you get to be superhuman? How can you do it? People identify with that. They think: I'd love to be Superman for a while, or be the guy who's being funny and not taking any guff. I wish I could say that to my neighbour or my wife. You'd like to have that kind of freedom. You go: yeah, that's what you're supposed to do. That's what a hero does."

Religion gets brought up. His parents were reportedly Irish Catholic, and one of his sisters is a nun. During the conversation, Bill actually worries about whether or not 19th Century Catholic Sainthood candidates will get overlooked because the church is trying to push newer, more relevant candidates like Mother Theresa and Pope Jon Paul II. Bill Murray says that he does like Pope John XXIII, who died in 1963.

"I'll buy that one, he's my guy; an extraordinary joyous Florentine who changed the order. I'm not sure all those changes were right. I tend to disagree with what they call the new mass. I think we lost something by losing the Latin. Now if you go to a Catholic mass even just in Harlem it can be in Spanish, it can be in Ethiopian, it can be in any number of languages. The shape of it, the pictures, are the same but the words aren't the same."

Is this really Bill Murray that's saying these things? Yes. It is. Apparently when Bill isn't serving Tequila shots at random bars, he's deep in thought.

Regarding who he thinks the "greatest living American" is? Ralph Nader. Why? Because in 1965, Nader introduced legislation to make seatbelts in new cars mandatory.

"People thought: 'Why is this son of a gun making me wear a seatbelt?' Well, in 1965 I think the number was 55,000 deaths on the highway a year. That's a lot of people dying. So he's saved just about a couple of million people by now. It's crazy! And that's just one thing he did! I mean, they made a movie about the German who smuggled the Jews out. He saved hundreds. Great man. Deserved a movie. Spectacular. Great film and a great human being. But this guy, Ralph – there's no movies about Ralph."

The mention of Nader gives the interviewer a chance to ask Bill Murray about politics .

"You know, I wish you could hold all of Congress prisoner and they'd get Stockholm syndrome and have to go along with their captors. And their captors would be people who were real true American citizens."

Bill Murray stars in St. Vincent, which is currently playing in theaters nationwide.

[Image via Gallery Hip]