Bill Murray's Little Shop Of Horrors Casting Was A Major Point Of Contention

Bill Murray isn't everyone's cup of tea. Now, I'm obviously not speaking of him as an actor, because as an actor he is absolutely most people's cup of tea. But as a person, as a man, Murray can leave a lot to be desired. From his numerous public feuds with other celebrities to his recent string of allegations of on-set abuse, Murray does not make many friends wherever he goes.

Murray does not have a major part in "Little Shop of Horrors," but his masochistic character who visits a dentist's office for a "long, slow root canal" certainly leaves an impression on the viewer. Knowing Murray's reputation, the fact that his inclusion in the movie, even in such a minor part, was a point of contention is unsurprising. According to an oral history of the film done by The Hollywood Reporter, director Frank Oz and producer David Geffen argued over Murray's casting. According to Oz, he had another actor in mind for the part when Geffen cast Murray without consulting him.

"I did not cast Bill. I wanted to cast somebody else, but David had already cast Bill. I got very upset — not that Bill had been cast, but David and I had an agreement that we both had to sign off on whoever was cast. We had a little problem there, but David agreed he would not do that again, and I was glad to have Bill."

Backstage issues

While the Bill Murray situation is certainly indicative of a surprising lack of communication between Oz and Geffen, it would ultimately not be a huge issue, with the two settling their differences rather quickly. The situation was likely helped by the fact that Bill Murray was the one cast behind Oz's back, as he put in a characteristically hilarious performance in his small amount of screen time in the film.

These sorts of disputes between the creative and production sides of the film wouldn't be its only problem during its production. Famously, the original ending of the film featured Seymour and Audrey dying, something test audiences reportedly absolutely hated. This led to a rewrite of the film with a happier ending where the main couple survive and reunite happily at the end.

Ultimately, despite these problems, "Little Shop of Horrors" went on to great success, a surprisingly sweet horror flick with absolutely infectious songs. Like much of Bill Murray's work, the final product looked fantastic despite the apparently numerous problems he caused backstage. But for once on Murray's part, it wasn't really his fault that he caused fights behind the scenes.