Friday was Toronto’s inaugural Bill Murray Day, a soon-to-be-statutory holiday in celebration of the Groundhog Day actor, who has spent the last decade or so enjoying the aura of an international playboy—a sprightly ambassador of good times, summoned, we think, by saying his name three times into a mirror. The special day culminated at the Princess of Wales Theatre with the red carpet world premiere of St. Vincent, a buzzy drama about a cantankerous old man (played by Murray), who takes a young boy under his wing. On the carpet, Naomi Watts, in a dramatic Stella McCartney pantsuit, and Chris O’Dowd, in a festive (and very appropriate) Murray-print shirt, spoke glowingly of working alongside everyone’s favourite Ghostbuster. Melissa McCarthy said she’d be celebrating her costar’s special day by giving out full Bill Murray back tattoos after the screening (“you pick the era”). Novice director Theodore Melfi said the whole 800-number legend is true. He left dozens of messages, he said, like pennies down a well, hoping Murray might one day be on the other end. Jaeden Lieberher, who plays Murray’s young charge in the film, said the older actor had taught him not to be nervous, “to just be yourself.” D’awww. It wasn’t much of a surprise to find Oscar magnet Harvey Weinstein holding down the far end of the carpet for one of his prize ponies. Meanwhile, Linda Cardellini, fresh off her Welcome to Me premiere, snuck by to take in the flick.
Murray, soaked from the evening’s thunderstorm, but wearing a sash and crown nevertheless, shared some wise words about relaxing and enjoying the moment. For instance, where would the man himself hunker down for his own private Suntory time? “I think we’re going to start right here, inside the theatre.” He just can’t give a damn.