There Was An Incredible Cameo In Last Night’s ‘Parks & Recreation’; Here’s How It All Came Together
Obviously this posts contains spoilers. I mean, it's OBVIOUS.
It was way back in 2011 when an earnest Amy Poehler appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and broke format for a minute to make an appeal directly into the camera. “Bill Murray, if you’re listening. I will pay you $250 to do one episode of my show. I love you.”
The perfect role for Murray, she said, would be Pawnee’s oft-mentioned but never-seen Mayor Walter Gunderson. And last night, in the penultimate episode of Parks and Recreation — which will be farewelling us forever next week — she got her wish.
Except: Mayor Gunderson was dead.
— Parks and Recreation (@parksandrecnbc) February 18, 2015
For any who worry that Poehler didn’t get her money’s worth: he recorded a video message, too.
Entertainment Weekly have published a great wrap-up of how exactly they lured Murray into this particular role: Poehler and her castmates Aubrey Plaza and Rashida Jones had been working it in person for years, every time they were in his vicinity at events — to the extent that they at least got him watching the show. And then, in the lead-up to filming last night’s episode, Poehler and Plaza just went for gold: “Aubrey and Amy were like, ‘This is your last chance. The mayor’s dying. Do you want to come lie in a coffin? It would be really funny,’” the show’s Executive Producer Michael Schur told EW. Soon, Shur received a short, excellent voicemail: “Hey, this is Bill Murray. I hear you might have some dead work for me.”
They re-shot the coffin, with Murray inside, and then gave him about thirty different versions of the video message. He recorded all thirty, then improvised two more — one of which made it into the final cut. “He was just the most delightful person,” reports Schur. “Not only was he incredibly complimentary of the show, he went around to every one of the actors and told them how great they were and cited specific episodes and moments. He hung out on the set for three hours, watching us shoot the show.”
Bill Murray 5eva.