Lucy Liu Talked About Her Altercation With Bill Murray On The Set Of “Charlie’s Angels”
The story about Lucy Liu and Bill Murray getting into it on the set of the 2000 film Charlie’s Angels has been rattling around Hollywood for two decades. Legend had it that Bill stopped a scene mid-take, pointed to Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy in order, and said, “I get why you’re here, and you’ve got talent….but what in the hell are you doing here. You can’t act!” Um, rude. Then, Lucy *allegedly* “blew her lid” and “attacked” Bill. Apparently, this altercation was at least part of the reason Bill didn’t return as Bosley for the 2003 sequel.
Earlier this month the story got dredged up again when Shaun O’Banion, who says he was a production assistant on Charlie’s Angels, tweeted his version of events. Basically, Shaun says Bill upset the three female leads, Lucy told him he was way outta line, Bill insulted her (saying that she was just a TV actress, and this was the “big leagues”), Lucy responded with “Fuck you, you fucking cocksucker!”, and then she ran off the stage crying. Shaun said “no punches were thrown,” and called Bill’s behavior “really belittling and shitty.” Now Lucy is opening up about her side of things on the Los Angeles Times Asian Enough podcast. She says Bill was hurling insults at her, she stood up for herself, and she doesn’t regret it a goddamn thing. All the women! Who are INDEPENDENT! Throw your hands up at me!
Lucy explains, via Yahoo:
“I feel like some of those stories are private,” Liu said at first. “But I will say, when we started to rehearse this scene, which was all of us in the agency, we had taken the weekend to rework that particular scene and Bill Murray was not able to come because he had to attend some family gathering. So it was everyone else, and we just made the scene more fluid. I wish I had more to do with it but I didn’t, because I was the last one cast and I probably had the least amount of privilege in terms of creatively participating at that time.”
At the time, Drew was a producer on the movie and Cameron Diaz was Cameron Diaz. Lucy was the least well-known lead, and her main claim to fame was her role as Ling Woo on Ally McBeal. She continues:
“As we’re doing the scene, Bill starts to sort of hurl insults, and I won’t get into the specifics, but it kept going on and on,” Liu said. “I was, like, ‘Wow, he seems like he’s looking straight at me.’ I couldn’t believe that [the comments] could be towards me, because what do I have to do with anything majorly important at that time? I literally do the look around my shoulder thing, like, who is he talking to behind me? I say, ‘I’m so sorry. Are you talking to me?’ And clearly, he was, because then it started to become a one-on-one communication.”
Lucy decided enough was enough, so she took action:
“Some of the language was inexcusable and unacceptable, and I was not going to just sit there and take it. So, yes, I stood up for myself, and I don’t regret it,” she said. “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.”
Lucy says over the years crew members, who were there that day, have come up to her and told her they were grateful she stood up to Bill. She adds that she hasn’t held a grudge:
“I have nothing against Bill Murray at all. I’ve seen him since then at a SNL reunion, and he came up to me and was perfectly nice,” Liu said. “But I’m not going to sit there and be attacked.”
Lucy relates the incident back to a traumatic incident from her childhood. Lucy, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, remembers accompanying her non-English speaking mother to the store. She says the saleswoman there was extremely condescending and Lucy got so angry she “felt so unable to speak.” She says she didn’t want to freeze up like that in the Bill Murray altercation:
“I don’t know if it goes back to what happened to my mom in the store. But I don’t want to be that person that is not going to speak up for myself and stand by the only thing that I have, which is my dignity and self-respect,” Liu said. “Because in the end, we all end up in the same place as time goes on. Nobody is immortal. But in that time, no matter what happens between now and whatever career choices I make or whatever life decisions I make, I will walk away with my dignity.”
Lucy says she thought the altercation was reported in a sexist way:
“What came out in the press was that I was this and I was that. It was incredible to me how it was turned around and they automatically thought that the woman was the difficult one,” Liu said. “But I didn’t understand how it got flipped when I had nothing to do with instigating it or creating that platform of confrontation or anxiety. So even though it’s been decades, it’s something that obviously I remember very intimately and have not forgotten.”
Back in 2009, Bill shared his version of events with the Times of London, saying:
“Look, I will dismiss you completely if you are unprofessional and working with me…When our relationship is professional, and you’re not getting that done, forget it.”
So it looks like all those rumors of Lucy kicking and punching Bill are totally untrue. This is a good thing for Bill since Lucy was in peak kick-your-ass shape in Charlie’s Angels. So were Drew and Cameron:
I refuse to believe any stunt doubles were used for that scene.