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Trivia / What About Bob?

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  • Dawson Casting: Anna is implied to be high school age, but was played by 25-year-old Kathryn Erbe.
  • Enforced Method Acting: According to Richard Dreyfuss, he and Bill Murray did not get along on set, making it easier to portray real animosity for Leo against Bob.
  • Hostility on the Set: Frank Oz admitted in interviews that there was tension on the set during the making of the film. In addition, both Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss have confirmed in separate interviews that they did not get along with each other during filming:
    Murray: It's entertaining—everybody knows somebody like that Bob guy. (Richard Dreyfuss and I) didn't get along on the movie particularly, but it worked for the movie. I mean, I drove him nuts, and he encouraged me to drive him nuts.
    Dreyfuss: How about it? Funny movie. Terribly unpleasant experience. We didn't get along, me and Bill Murray. But I've got to give it to him: I don't like him, but he makes me laugh even now. I'm also jealous that he's a better golfer than I am. It's a funny movie. No one ever comes up to you and says, "I identify with the patient". They always say, "I have patients like that. I identify with your character". No one ever says that they're willing to identify with the other character.
    • In subsequent interviews, Dreyfuss reiterated what he said of his experience working with Murray, notably when he guest appeared at Fan Expo Canada in 2017. Dreyfuss further alleged in 2019 that at one point during the production, Murray screamed at him while intoxicated, telling him "Everyone hates you! You are tolerated!" and then threw an ashtray at him. When Murray guest appeared on The Howard Stern Show in 2014, Howard Stern asked him if he intended to annoy Dreyfuss. Murray responded: "I really try to make the other actor look good whenever I can (...) In this particular film, annoying Dreyfuss, which I kind of got to enjoy I gotta confess—but I didn't try to annoy him off the screen". Although neither of them have crossed paths since the release of the film, Dreyfuss confirmed in a 2020 interview that he has forgiven Murray.
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    • Producer Laura Ziskin recalled having a disagreement with Murray which led him to toss her into a lake. Ziskin confirmed in 2003:
    Bill also threatened to throw me across the parking lot and then broke my sunglasses and threw them across the parking lot. I was furious and outraged at the time, but having produced a dozen movies, I can safely say it is not common behavior.
  • Production Posse: Lily Marvin was played by Fran Brill, whom director Frank Oz would have known from their work together on Sesame Street, in which Brill played several characters (most notably Little Bird, Zoe and Prairie Dawn).
  • The Red Stapler: Bob's turquoise and yellow "Don't Hassle Me I'm Local" T Shirt.
  • Throw It In:
    • Bill Murray improvised a lot, such as when he crawls head first under the sheets, causing Julie Hagerty to crack up.
    • The scene with Bob entertaining the nursing staff at the mental institution was unscripted — Murray was just having fun.
  • Troubled Production:
    • Casting took a long time. Bill Murray was set for the title role, but the possibility of snaring Woody Allen as director, cowriter and costar as long as he could get Orion to let him do that stalled everything for a while. Ultimately he declined as he preferred to do that level of work only on projects he had initiated himself. Patrick Stewart was also considered, as well as Robin Williams; finally Richard Dreyfuss was able to take the role of the psychiatrist.
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    • The film was originally meant to shoot in central New Hampshire during summer 1990. But the casting delays meant that when production could finally begin, it was mid-September, by which time the woods in that area are showing extensive evidence of autumn, which wouldn't work with a movie meant to be set in August. So production was hastily moved to Virginia, where it still looked like summer but nothing like New Hampshire.
    • Murray and Dreyfuss did not get along,note  as they have both admitted in subsequent interviews.note  At one point the former, heavily intoxicated, lit into the latter about his reputation for being sometimes difficult to work with, screaming "You are not loved! You are tolerated!" and then threw an ashtray at him. For the scenes at the climax of the film, where Dreyfuss's character is in a constant state of rage and planning to kill Murray's, Dreyfuss didn't need to act.
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    • He also got into it with producer Laura Ziskin, throwing her into the lake after one disagreement and breaking her sunglasses and throwing them across a parking lot after another.
    • After the film was finished, Disney head Michael Eisner, wanting the company to have a strong start with 1991's summer movie season, insisted that the trailer basically tell the story of the film, and include all the scenes that preview audiences had found funniest. It indeed opened strong and ultimately made money, but many audiences wondered what there was to see that they hadn't already seen ...
  • What Could Have Been: