Bad Weather And Bill Murray Made For A Perfect Storm On The Set Of Stripes

P.J. Soles is celebrated by fans for her darker genre work, voice-over work, and comedic roles alike. She's crossed Carrie, she's been carjacked by Captain Spaulding, and she's one of the first teens killed by Michael Myers in John Carpenter's "Halloween." But few are quoted more than "Stripes," Ivan Reitman's 1981 knee-slapper starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. Soles plays Stella Hansen, the military police officer love interest to Murray's hapless soldier John Winger. The movie features an incredible cadre of talent (Warren Oates! John Candy! Sean Young! John Larroquette!) and takes the slacker-joins-the-Army conceit to the limits of its natural absurdity. In fact, a graduation scene from the movie made /Film's list of top Ivan Reitman movie moments.

Leaning into the absurd is Bill Murray's business, according to Soles. In a tender scene between high jinks, Winger and Stella flirt and share a kiss. In an interview with Yahoo, Soles reveals that the original scene was supposed to take place outdoors, but a storm rained on the parade. "We were supposed to be sitting on a hillside, looking at the stars, but it was pouring," she told Yahoo. "So we went inside, and Bill opened the refrigerator in the kitchen and took out a carrot. I said, 'What are you going to do with that?'"

Reitman, who previously wrangled Murray into his first starring role in "Meatballs," he knew magic brewing when he saw it. The "Ghostbusters" director called for a camera to be brought in.

The Aunt Jemima treatment

In the kitchen of General Barnicke's house (Stella and fellow MP Cooper, played by a pre-"Blade Runner" Sean Young), the love blossoms. Bill Murray acts a fool and digs through the general's fridge before gently threatening an exasperated (but not really) Stella with the now-outdated "Aunt Jemima treatment." What is the Aunt Jemima treatment? Well, according to the movie, it involves being picked up by the britches and plopped onto a cold stove, subject to all manner of pinches and pokes from an assembly of kitchen torture devices like rolling pins and an ice cream scoop. Very spicy stuff.

P.J. Soles' only instruction from Ivan Reitman: Keep Murray going until your character finally gives in. Soles did just that, and the proof is in the pudding. The scene plays so well that you wouldn't know it was a last-minute change-up. Such is filmmaking. The "Private Benjamin" star told Yahoo:

I'm an organic actress — I like seizing the moment, so that scene is an aspect of how I like to perform. It was like doing a dance where the steps aren't laid out for you and you're just dancing together. The whole scene was just, 'All right Bill, you've got something on your mind and I'm just going to follow you.' And luckily it went to a good place! There was something real in his eyes, and when I say 'Yes,' the way he looks at me is so sweet. I've never seen that look on his face in any movie, so I'm very proud that I brought it out of him.

She did indeed. Following the "treatment," Winger and Stella decide to head upstairs to check out the general's bedroom. Ever the jokester, Bill Murray grabs a golf club on the way up for some undetermined — but surely spicy — usage. So Stella has got that going for her, which is nice.