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Scanner talks with Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Robert Duvall about “Get Low”

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Bill murray in Get Low SXSW

"Get Low," the low-key comedy starring Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Robert Duvall opens today in select cities. The film is an excellent, memorable and highly entertaining retelling of an old Southern (true) story of the man who threw his own funeral party while still alive… because he didn’t want to miss out.

I spoke to the stars, producer and director recently about the film and we touched quite a bit on music, mainly because all three stars are music nuts and the climactic hoedown (not to give anything away) features some amazing old bluegrass. Here’s what they had to say:

Bill Murray: I’m a huge fan of the Steeldrivers from Dallas [Georgia], who I thought were just extras but turned out to be real players of bluegrass. It turns out everyone in Nashville knows who these guys are, but they just formed. Incredible stuff. And every one of them is a big star in their own right — just a great player.

[What are you doing tonight? You want to go see Motorhead with us?] I don’t know, I’m not that organized. I’m not in charge. You look like you are, you’ve got the badge.

[What drew you to the project?] The script is really an amazing script… then they said Bobby’s the guy and you don’t get more than one or two chances to ever work with him, so you take the gig. And then I saw the director’s Oscar-winning short and some of the behind-the-scenes footage and he looked like a nice guy. You haven’t seen it yet? I look for you guys [indicating a female friend standing next to me] afterwards… I’ll remember the dress. 

Robert Duvall in Get Low SXSW

Robert Duvall:

[What story would you want told at your funeral?] You’d have to ask my wife. I don’t know, man. There’re a few, I guess, I’d have to think about that. I just hope [they say] that I didn’t hurt too many people and got through life the best I could.

[I see you admiring my beard.] Ha, yes. Usually, a guy from Italy makes my beards, so we got another guy from California for this film.

[You’re in Crazy Heart and now this movie and I know you’re a big music fan. Is there somebody that we should be listening to?] Billy Joe Shaver, but everybody in music knows him. Go way to back Lefty Frizell from Coriscana, Texas — interestingly, he’s from the same city that Billy Joe is from. [What did you think of the Crazy Heart soundtrack success?] It seemed nice… well, T-Bone Burnett’s terrific.

Sissy Spacek in Get Low SXSW

Sissy Spacek: [On doing the terrifying CD recording of Stephen King’s "Carrie] The audio book of Carrie? Oh man, that was a hard one to read out loud!

[There’s a slew of great thirties music in the film — did you listen to music from that era while you were making the movie?] It was impossible. Bill Murray was always blasting some kind of rap music the whole time! It was totally inappropriate. My daughter Schuyler Fisk — you gotta listen to her music. It’s going to be something — I could tell you what it sounds like, but that would ruin all the fun.

All photos by Dan Katz.