After Hyde Park on the Hudson screened at the Toronto film festival, Murray who plays Franklin Roosevelt talks about his approach to the role
Bill Murray on Oscar buzz for playing Roosevelt: 'You can't get all ramped up'
Most stars shun the "O word" - Oscar - when they might be in the running for an Academy Award, not wanting to jinx their chances or look too eager.
Bill Murray, however, has no problem dissecting Hollywood's highest honours.
A Best Actor nominee for 2003's Lost in Translation, Murray could have Oscar prospects again as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park on the Hudson, a comic drama that played at this week's Toronto International Film Festival.
Murray won a string of key prizes for Lost in Translation leading up to the Oscars. When he lost on Oscar night, it was a lesson not to get your hopes up too high, Murray said.
"You can't get all ramped up and amped up about this thing all the time," says the 61-year-old actor. "I mean, I got excited about it once and it was odd. I came all dressed up and didn't win. So I'm not going to get all crazy about that."
The former Saturday Night Live regular first dabbled in heavy drama with the 1984 adaptation of W Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge. Audiences and critics were not kind. The reaction toughened him up for the inevitable double-takes as people mull the notion: Bill Murray as Franklin Roosevelt?
"After The Razor's Edge, I remember a certain famous movie reviewer saying, 'Bill Murray should not be allowed to do anything but comedy'," Murray says. "Sometimes when you've got a biopic and they go, 'Jerry Lewis will play Albert Einstein' or something, the first thing is, 'No, don't buy it. Not for a second'."
Murray says he approached the Roosevelt character with the same thoughts he had when he played Hunter S Thompson in 1980's Where the Buffalo Roam.
"I had the feeling of, like, I've got to revere the best of this person," he says. "The same with Roosevelt. I had to revere the best of him."
Murray is a very credible Roosevelt, capturing the grace, humour, subtle tact and homey wisdom of the president as he plays host to the king and queen of Britain, who have come over to seek US support as the Second World War approaches.
Directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill), Hyde Park on the Hudson is told largely through the eyes of Roosevelt's spinster cousin (Laura Linney), a confidant of the president. The film opens worldwide in December. * AP