Lucy Liu finally spilled the tea on longstanding rumors over her coming to blows with Bill Murray on the set of the first Charlie’s Angels.
The now 52-year-old actress was one part of the iconic crime-fighting trio alongside Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz in the 2000 action comedy. The big screen adaptation of the classic TV show also starred the 70-year-old comedian as the group’s liaison to Charlie himself, Bosley.
And while things may have seemed perfectly friendly between everyone onscreen, rumors have circulated for years of an altercation between Murray and Liu on the set.
Speaking with the Los Angeles Times‘ Asian Enough podcast on Tuesday, Liu finally opened up about the confrontation with the Saturday Night Live alum, revealing he had used “inexcusable and unacceptable” language towards her behind the scenes.
While she didn’t want to “get into the specifics,” the Elementary star explained that the cast had a rehearsal for a scene that Murray was not a part of because he had to attend a family gathering. When he returned to set, however, Lucy claimed he started to randomly “hurl insults” — and the behavior “kept going on and on.”
“I was, like, ‘Wow, he seems like he’s looking straight at me.’ I couldn’t believe that [the comments] could be towards me because what do I have to do with anything majorly important at that time? I literally do the look around my shoulder thing, like, who is he talking to behind me? I say, ‘I’m so sorry. Are you talking to me?’ And clearly, he was, because then it started to become a one-on-one communication.”
The Emmy nominee then immediately stood up for herself at the time, explaining:
“Some of the language was inexcusable and unacceptable, and I was not going to just sit there and take it. So, yes, I stood up for myself, and I don’t regret it. Because no matter how low on the totem pole you may be or wherever you came from, there’s no need to condescend or to put other people down. And I would not stand down, and nor should I have.”
Good for you! As franchise fans know all too well, Murray ultimately decided not to reprise his role in the 2003 sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and was replaced by Bernie Mac.
In an interview with the Times of London in 2009, he basically confirmed the long-rumored incident, though he certainly made it sound like he was in the right. He said at the time:
“Look, I will dismiss you completely if you are unprofessional and working with me …When our relationship is professional, and you’re not getting that done, forget it.”
It really seems like Bill was the “unprofessional” one in this situation based on Lucy’s version of events…
Meanwhile, Liu claimed she has “nothing against” Murray these days, saying he was “perfectly nice” when they attended an SNL reunion. So that’s nice at least.
However, the Kill Bill alum also made clear on the podcast that she thinks you should always stand up for yourself, no matter who you are.
“I’m not going to sit there and be attacked… I don’t want to be that person that is not going to speak up for myself and stand by the only thing that I have, which is my dignity and self-respect.”
And taking a stand left an impression on the crew, who have since told her how much they agreed with her!
“I remember years later, maybe even decades later, some crew members that I didn’t even know at the time came up to me on other sets and told me that they were there at the time and they were really grateful that I did that.”
Unfortunately, that was not how the media saw it at the time. Elsewhere in the chat, Liu recalled how she was often blamed for the fight because she is a woman:
“It was incredible to me how it was turned around and they automatically thought that the woman was the difficult one. But I didn’t understand how it got flipped when I had nothing to do with instigating it or creating that platform of confrontation or anxiety. So even though it’s been decades, it’s something that obviously I remember very intimately and have not forgotten.”
Thoughts on the clash between Lucy and Bill, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments (below)!