The Hidden Connections of Bill Murray’s Star-Studded Christmas Special
On December 4, Bill Murray, Hollywood’s champagne-swirling, funny-making vagabond, will drop A Very Murray Christmas, a Rat Pack-style holiday special full of singing, dancing, and deadpan wonder. The Netflix one-off pairs Murray with, of all people, his Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola, as well as famous actors the comedian knows. But this wasn't some slapdash talent grab -- Murray's costars are Actors of Christmas Pasts, A Very Murray Christmas looks like it'll be his gentler, real-life A Christmas Carol (compared to Scrooged, his vicious, fictional take on the Dickens story). Here's where the cast popped up in Murray's life the first time:
Amy Poehler and Julie White
Besides bumping into one another at awards shows, Murray appeared on the penultimate episode Parks and Recreation alongside Poehler. White costarred on Garry Trudeau’s Amazon series Alpha House, on which Murray guest-starred for three episodes.
Schaffer played with and conducted the Saturday Night Live band from 1975 to 1980, overlapping with Murray’s tenure on the sketch comedy show. He briefly appears in Murray’s 1988 Christmas movie, Scrooged, as a street musician.
Jason Schwartzman and Rashida Jones
Both Schwartzman -- Sofia Coppola’s first cousin -- and Murray are part of director Wes Anderson’s acting stable. They costarred in Rushmore, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. A Very Murray Christmas marks Jones’ first shared credit with Murray, although they may have known each other previously -- the two will both appear in the animated film B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, which is currently sitting on a shelf in the Shrek-filled halls of Dreamworks.
No apparent Murray connection. Must be a big "Party in the U.S.A." fan? Who isn’t?
Though they share the SNL connection, Rock and Murray’s only true shared credit is the 2001 film Osmosis Jones. Rock played a white blood cell policeman solving a mystery inside Murray’s ailing body.
A Very Murray Christmas marks Cera and Murray’s first shared credit. Over the years, Cera’s openly idolized the actor, so his appearance in the special is the best Christmas present ever. Thanks, Santa Murray.
Cera makes a wisecrack at the expense of Clooney’s fourth directorial effort, The Monuments Men, the World War II drama that paired the actor-filmmaker and Murray (and as alluded to, it tanked at the box office). Luckily, the pair share one prouder moment: Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Known more for his musical career than his acting, Johansen did appear opposite Murray as a demonized cab driver in Scrooged.
The maître d’ of Los Angeles’ Tower Bar appears in A Very Murray Christmas because he’s a legend. And Murray once gifted him a pricey Timex watch. They’re tight.
Jenny Lewis & Phoenix
Despite making name for herself as a child actress, the Rilo Kiley frontwoman never worked with Murray on screen. But they are pals -- close enough that Page Six recently mistook them for a couple. And right beside Lewis are the members of Phoenix, including Coppola’s husband, Thomas Mars.
Paul McCartney & the Pope
Will McCartney make an actual appearance? A cameo would reunite the Beatles musician for the first time since a May 1980 episode of SNL. And Pope Francis was Murray’s roommate in college. No, really.
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment Editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. He is not friends with Bill Murray but his favorite movie is Groundhog Day, so that's something. Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.