Day 6

That time Bill Murray crashed the party: A new film chronicles the actor's random real-life cameos

Bill Murray's habit of randomly dropping into the lives of strangers is explained in the new documentary 'The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man.'

The Bill Murray Stories explores chance meetings with the actor-comedian

Bill Murray is the subject of a new documentary that explores his surprise encounters with everyday people. (Axel Schmidt/Reuters)

Bill Murray's has got plenty of attention for his cameos in films like Zombieland, Space Jam and Little Shop of Horrors. But lately, his seemingly-random offscreen appearances are also creating buzz.

Over the years, stories have surfaced about him showing up at birthday parties, stealing french fries at a Massachusetts airport and riding a kid's bicycle through a Walmart in Michigan. And that's just the beginning.

These bizarre encounters with the actor have become the stuff of legend online, and they're now the focus of The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man, a documentary making its international premiere at Hot Docs on April 30 in Toronto.

"I just think Bill (Murray) lives his life in a particular way that once you see it and you're a part of it, you know that's an interesting way to live," film director Tommy Avallone said in an interview with Day 6.

"There's so many times you're just stuck in a routine and he likes to do these sort of things that shock you out of that."

During a baseball game, Bill Murray invited Karen Michel, a random fan, to watch the match with him. (@MLB/Twitter)

Bill Murray 'just fits in' with the crowd

Hearing stories of Murray's random appearances fascinated Avallone because of their contrast to the actor's enigmatic personality.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Murray has no manager or agent. And for those who want to reach him, they can leave him a message at a 1-800 number, and he'll reply if he's interested.

Avallone's documentary looks into why someone as private as Murray would do such quirky things. He interviewed dozens of people to see whether their encounters with Murray were true.

He's not like, 'Hey, look at me, I'm Bill Murray — the star.' He's eating lasagna in the kitchen, just blending in.- Tommy Avallone, film director

One of his favourite stories was when Murray apparently showed up at a college party in Scotland and started washing the dishes.

"Who goes to someone else's party and cleans the dishes? No one wants to clean up, but Murray is actively pursuing the dishwashing," he said.

Avallone also recalls the time Murray showed up to a house party in Austin, Texas, playing roadie to a band for their gig. The actor ended up playing the tambourine for them as well. And when the cops were called in by the neighbours, they were convinced to join in on the festivities.

"He just fits in," Avallone said.

"He's not like, 'Hey, look at me, I'm Bill Murray — the star.' He's eating lasagna in the kitchen, just blending in."

'The Bill Murray Stories: Life lessons Learned From a Mythical Man' will make its premiere at Hot Docs in Toronto. (Double Windsor Films)

Director waiting for his Murray moment

Avallone says these encounters allow everyday people to connect with Murray on a personal level. 

"I think he uses what could be entrapping to some people as a free pass on to just fun times and experiences."

His recognizable face "allows him to get away with certain things like stealing someone's french fry. What does it feel like to steal someone's french fry and get away with it?"

Avallone jokes that he's hoping Murray will make his next surprise appearance at the film's screening in Toronto.

"If this was a scripted movie, I'll be at Hot Docs with our international premiere and he'll be in the audience and only I could see him," Avallone said.

"He'll give a nice little golf clap, give me a thumbs up and just walk away and disappear. No one else will see it."

"That's my Hollywood-envisioned story that will never happen."

Bill Murray poses with documentarian and director Tommy Avallone. (Double Windsor Films)

T​o hear from Tommy Avallone, download our podcast or click the 'Listen' button at the top of this page.