Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Bill Murray-Lorenzo Music Cycle

Bill Murray has explained to GQ why the hell he lent his voice to the live-action Garfield movie. A quote from the interview, via Pajiba:
GQ: Well, how about Garfield? Can you explain that to me? Did you just do it for the dough?

Murray: No! I didn’t make that for the dough! Well, not completely. I thought it would be kind of fun, because doing a voice is challenging, and I’d never done that. Plus, I looked at the script, and it said, “So-and-so and Joel Coen.” And I thought: Christ, well, I love those Coens! They’re funny. So I sorta read a few pages of it and thought, Yeah, I’d like to do that.
The joke being that Garfield: The Movie wasn’t written by Joel Coen but instead Joel Cohen, whose list of credits includes not The Big Lebowski and Burn After Reading but instead the Cheaper by the Dozen remake and the upcoming film adaptation of Walter the Farting Dog. (And also an outlier in the form of this little movie called Toy Story.) I truly think Murray is joking when he says he confused one Joel for another, since he seemingly would have realized the mistake either when he read the Garfield script and realized it sucked or before he signed on to the sequel. But at least we have been given some explanation for why Murray allowed himself to be associated with something that was only slightly more necessary than a live-action Healthcliff movie.

So that’s all funny, but Bill Murray’s involvement with Garfield: The Movie is notable for one other reason. An actor known previously for voicing the doorman on Rhoda, Lorenzo Music, was cast to voice Garfield in the first animated special. Music kept the role until his death in 2001. The guy’s voice is unmistakable. Even as a kid, I can remember hearing Music’s voice — and therefore Garfield’s voice — in Gummi Bears or in those 80s-era public safety commercials that starred talking crash test dummies.

As I think it was first pointed out to me over at Ironic Sans, Music also voiced Peter Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters, which, counterintuitively, is the animated and therefore faker version of the movie Ghostbusters, in which Murray played Venkman. So you have two instances in which a character’s live-action, big screen version was played by Murray and the animated, TV version was played by Music. And though it wasn’t intentional — neither as a tribute to Music nor because Murray and Music necessarily sound all that similar — it’s still a neat little coincidence.

Had Saturday morning cartoons been made of Lost in Translation or Broken Flowers, surely it would have been Lorenzo Music who voiced the main characters.

A final note: In looking for a video of Lorenzo Music’s voiceover work, I found a “tribute” to him posted after he died that inadvertently pisses on his legacy. It’s just clips from the Ghostbusters cartoon but with the audio track replaced by an Evanescence song, thereby eliminating the one thing he contributed to show. Also, it’s a fucking Evanescence song.

Really, it’s like posting a Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire tribute video consisting of a static shot of a rotting cow carcass set to the soundtrack of the couple’s feet squeaking on the floor as they dance. And that would be equally funny. Way to go, internet!

And, of course, way to go Bill Murray. As always.

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