Comic Con 2015: Rock the Kasbah panel with Bill Murray

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

No one really knew what Open Road Films was bringing to the first big Hall H panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Would it be MAX STEEL? The new FIFTY SHADES movie? (Not likely, but still.) SNOWDEN? No, it was nicer surprise: Bill Murray. The legendary comedian brought his irreverent personality to Hall H to help promote ROCK THE KASBAH, Barry Levinson‘s new comedy about a rock n roll manager who finds himself in Afghanistan inadvertently helping a talented young Afghani singer become a contestant on Afghan Star.

– Murray made a rock star’s entrance, to be sure. Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water blared after the film’s trailer (which can be found below), and Bill Murray – in character as manager Richie Lanz – came out singing. He acted like Lanz for a few minutes during the Q+A before admitting that yes, he’s Bill Murray after all.(They replaced the name card in front of Murray.) The film’s writer (and longtime Murray friend) Mitch Glazer was also on stage.

– When asked why this is the first Comic-Con he’s attended after such a fine career, he cooly responded that he’s done some good films, he’s done some comical ones, he’s done some he should be convicted for. Doesn’t really answer the question, but funny nonetheless. 

– Glazer said the film’s idea came from a misspent lifetime of being around rock n roll promoters; it was a longtime in the making. 

– Glazer said the rest of the cast – which includes Bruce Willis, Zoey Deschanel, Danny McBride and Scott Caan – gravitated to the movie because Murray was involved. Murray apparently had a party bus with disco lighting on set. Not hard to believe.

– The panel host wondered if the legendary mystique and aura of Bill Murray intimidates other actors. Murray joked that he goes to set with a knife strapped to his leg. 

– This is Murray and Willis’ second movie together (after MOONRISE KINGDOM), but they actually have a history going further back. Murray claims Willis told him he was once a page on the set of SNL during Murray’s glory days on the series; it was apparently his job to refill the M&M bowls and such. Willis told Murray that he and Gilda Radner were the only castmembers who were ever nice to him.

– The film is loosely based on a true story, revolving around a teenager who tried out amid controversial circumstances for Afghan Star (the Afghanistan version of American Idol).

Bill Murray is apparently a big fan of Miley Cyrus, doesn’t want to hear anyone bad-mouthing her anymore. He is decidedly not a fan of Rick Ross.

– Murray on whether or not he was once up for the role of Han Solo, and if he’s down for taking on the character in the Solo-centric prequel: “I’m not sure if I was ever up for Han Solo, but I’m working out now in the hopes of scoring this new thing. Just a lot of swimming and pilates.”

– A fan in full GHOSTBUSTERS regalia asked Murray if he had any favorite characters, while conspicuously waving a ghostbusters flag. Murray’s response: “Well… Once upon a time, I did save the city of New York. I had the coolest damn car to drive around Manhattan with.” Surprisingly, that was the only GHOSTBUSTERS talk of the day.

– One audience member asked Murray if Bruce Willis was difficult to deal with. While it was a bit hard to decipher the following response, it was clear Murray has respect for Bruce: “He’s a movie star. You hear stories about people. When you’re a movie star, you have to take matters into your own hands. In the name of entertainment, for one, and more often than you’d think, just respecting the crew. Some people try to dominate people, I don’t want to say producer slime, but there are people who want to dominate people. A movie star can step in and say, ‘That’s not going to happen,’ and that story can get repeated. But the movie star, they’re a noble race, and an endangered species, they can get loud and angry… My experience with Bruce has been on two films, Moonrise Kingdom and this one… He wasn’t tripping at all.”

I believe Murray’s point was that Willis’ reputation for being difficult only stems from him being a champion for the blue collar crew members as opposed to the suits. But who knows…

– Here’s a twisted tidbit: Bill Murray used to call Mitch Glazer whenever ROADHOUSE was on, which co-starred Glazer’s wife, Kelly Lynch, and would say, “Your wife is banging Patrick Swayze.” Murray’s brothers would do the same. 

– Murray quipped that he brought a taser to SDCC because he didn’t know what to expect. BUt he now feels very comfortable here. He also says some of the best parties he’s ever been to were thrown by nerds, including one at the Skywalker Ranch. 

And just like that, it was over. Murray exited as he entered, to hoots and hollers from his adoring crowd. Check out the ROCK THE KASBAH trailer below if you haven’t seen it yet. The film comes out October 23rd.


About the Author

Eric Walkuski is a longtime writer, critic, and reporter for He's been a contributor for over 15 years, having written dozens of reviews and hundreds of news articles for the site. In addition, he's conducted almost 100 interviews as JoBlo's New York correspondent.