Bill Murray's got some moves in St. Vincent, a big-hearted movie that had its New York premiere last night, a few days prior to opening the Hamptons International Film Festival this coming weekend. Murray's shimmying in his seedy Sheepshead Bay kitchen, and singing to Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm," are some of the film's many highlights, but he has nothing on Naomi Watts' pole dancing with a baby bump. You have never seen Watts like this, a "lady of the night," her Australian accent turned Russian. Harvey Weinstein called her to ask, do you want to do something different? This funny role of Daka, is, well, just that, revealing her chops as a genuine comedienne. But how could it be otherwise opposite Murray, Chris O'Dowd, and Melissa McCarthy, a dream ensemble sure to garner acting nominations in the coming season. They mixed it up with McCarthy in the straight role, playing the mother of Jaedan Lieberher, one of those wise-beyond-his-years kids, utterly polite considering the grownup shenanigans, and the movie's real star.
At the Zeigfeld's post-screening Q&A, the young actor said his favorite Bill Murray movies were Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters, and then first-time director, Theodore Melfi, made him see Caddyshack. There were a lot of jokes about pushing around a newby director, but there seems to be a secret weapon in Bill Murray. After all the years of great comedic roles, he's learned a thing or two about what makes a scene funny, and he explained how he gave notes for Melfi's original script, tweaking it to make each scene hit its mark.
A lively after party ensued at the Royalton, with Valerie Simpson and Liev Schreiber among the guests. Schreiber may be Showtime's "Ray Donovan," but had to get home with Naomi Watts to relieve the babysitter. And Bill Murray, as much a comic presence in real life, ended the night rushing out, then back into the Royalton, rounding up several dates, with the moves of a Marx brother in a funny hat.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.