Richard Dreyfuss says Bill Murray was a 'drunken bully' on 'What About Bob?'

Sam Ashurst
Richard Dreyfuss (Photo by Brittany Murray/Digital First Media/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

Richard Dreyfuss has been revisiting his career with Yahoo Movies, as part of regular video series Role Recall’ and he’s revealed a pretty shocking story about his time working with Ghostbusters star Bill Murray on the set of ‘What About Bob?’ (a 1991 film in which an annoying patient follows his egotistical psychiatrist on holiday).

"I didn't talk about it for years,” Dreyfuss says. “Bill just got drunk at dinner. He was an Irish drunken bully, is what he was... He came back from dinner [one night] and I said, 'Read this [script tweak], I think it's really funny.' And he put his face next to me, nose-to-nose. And he screamed at the top of his lungs, 'Everyone hates you! You are tolerated!'

“There was no time to react, because he leaned back and he took a modern glass-blown ashtray. He threw it at my face from [only a couple feet away]. And it weighed about three quarters of a pound. And he missed me. He tried to hit me. I got up and left."

It’s a surprising story, not least because of Bill Murray’s reputation as being so a laid-back about his career he doesn’t have an agent.

Still, his propensity to be difficult on set is something the Groundhog Day actor has talked about in the past.

Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss in 'What About Bob?' (credit: Buena Vista Pictures)

“I remember a friend said to me a while back: ‘You have a reputation.’ And I said: ‘What?’ And he said: ‘Yeah, you have a reputation of being difficult to work with.’ But I only got that reputation from people I didn’t like working with, or people who didn’t know how to work, or what work is. Jim [Jarmusch], Wes [Anderson] and Sofia [Coppola], they know what it is to work, and they understand how you’re supposed to treat people,” Murray told The Guardian.

He continued, “People think because they employed you they’re allowed to treat you like a dictator, or whatever the worse word for dictator is. And that’s always been a problem for me. Opening the door for someone behind you is as important as designing a building.”

Bill Murray has yet to comment on Dreyfuss’ claims, but we’ll update the story if he makes a statement.