With Bill Murray As…
It occurred to me yesterday that Bill Murray might make a fantastic Alfred Pennyworth. I know that probably sounds absurd, especially if your only exposure to Murray is his early comedic works like Caddyshack and Ghostbusters, but a mildly toned, British-accented Bill Murray just feels perfect in my head, and his resume backs up his abilities to play such a character.
For the serious, proper side of Alfred, imagine a less depressed/desperate Don Johnston (played by Murray in Broken Flowers) or a less obsessive Raleigh St. Clair (played by Murray in The Royal Tenenbaums). Murray demonstrates his ability to play the wise counselor in his portrayal of FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson, and his few interactions with Klaus Daimler’s young nephew Werner while playing Steve Zissou in The Life Aquatic is exactly the way I imagine Alfred would treat a young Dick Grayson. On top of these more serious-minded credentials, Murray has a knack for delivering extremely subtle, dry comedic lines (both in film and in real life) that is perfect for the way Alfred slips humor into conversation from time to time .
Despite his varied past roles, Murray may find playing Alfred to be an interesting challenge, not only because he’d need to master a British accent but because Alfred’s personality sits somewhere between the many characters he has already appeared as. Alfred isn’t a cynical wisecracker like Dr. Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters) or John Winger (Stripes), but neither is he fully Bob Harris (Lost in Translation), Don Johnston, or Raleigh St. Clair. There’s a certain grounded earthiness and experienced humility in Alfred’s personality that I don’t believe has ever come together in a character played by Bill Murray before, and watching him tackle that mixture would, I think, be fascinating.