In the United States and Canada , the famous Groundhog Day is celebrated every February 2, when the groundhogs come out of their burrows to predict the end of the winter season .
If the rodent does not see its shadow when it comes out of its burrow, it knows that winter has only a few days left. If it comes out and sees its shadow, it returns to its cave to continue hibernating and that ensures at least 42 more days of winter. This situation motivated the great Harold Ramis to carry out Groundhog Day ( Groundhog Day for Latin America and Trapped in Time for Spain), the successful comedy and science fiction film starring another great, Bill Murray.
This 1993 film had a modest budget of $14 million dollars and stomped at the box office grossing more than $70 million dollars . Its story introduces us to the hateful meteorologist Phil Connors (Bill Murray) who along with his team, producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott) attend Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to witness the famous Groundhog Day. . With the cover over, Phil returns with his team to the inn for the next day’s travel. The moment he wakes up, this mean and unsympathetic media man discovers that the same day has started over, and over, and over again.. This loop in which he gets trapped will lead Phill to change his attitude and see the world in a different way.Groundhog Day brought a totally different and fresh concept to comedy, presenting a device straight out of science fiction. This, added to the shooting style that was used, the extreme attention to detail , the growth and evolution of its main character , among other points, made the film a cult film that, almost three decades after its release, continues to being at the top.
To celebrate Groundhog Day, we bring you some curiosities from Ramis’s film that you probably did not know.
Bill was not the first Phil
It is hard to think of another star to fill the role of the unfriendly Phil Connors , but the truth is that Bill Murray had not been the first on the list . In principle Harold Ramis had tried to convince another great of the 80’s comedy, Tom Hanks. Tom couldn’t accept the offer because at the time he was attached to the drama Philadelphia , the film for which he won his first Oscar. It is also said that the director contacted Michael Keaton sending him the script, but that the Batman star did not accept because he did not understand the story.
Phil’s mean and unfriendly personality was the complete opposite of Bill’s. One of the lesser-known anecdotes of the film is that while exteriors were being shot in Woodstock , Illinois, locals came to the set to watch. At that moment Murray noticed the visitors and considering that it was cold, he went to a local bakery where he bought food and coffee in bulk for all the visitors.
How long was Phil trapped?One of the biggest questions that the film has is the amount of time in which Connors is trapped. For the viewer the loop only lasts 1 hour and 41 minutes , but for Phil it is much longer . During an interview with Harold Ramis, the director commented that he initially thought the loop lasted 10 years , but later adjusted the amount, leaving the sum between ” 30 or 40 years .” Other data say that in the first drafts of the script it was stated that the amount of time of the loop was close to 10,000 years , the truth is that in the film only 38 days are counted .
Family of actors
A fact that few know is that Mayor Buster of Punxsutawney is the brother of Bill Murray . The actor Brian Doyle-Murray put himself in the shoes of the likeable mayor of the small town in Pennsylvania. Brian has participated in several of his brother’s movies taking small roles, he has also participated in successful comedies such as Seinfeld , Waynes World , Ghostbusters , he even put his voice on different animated series, such as SpongeBob , where he gave life to The Flying Dutchman , the Ghost pirate from Bikini Bottom.Brian Doyle-Murray as Mayor Buster.
The real problem
Every film has its obstacles and Groundhog Day was no exception. The comedy faced a bigger problem than going over budget: the clash between Bill Murray and Harold Ramis .
These great friends are known for being extremely meticulous in the stories they came up with, as well as when acting and shooting. The same thing happened with Groundhog Day , Bill wanted to make changes to the script, so he called Harold at all hours, especially at dawn. On Ramis’s side, the director wanted the shots to be perfect , which is why he asked that they be repeated over and over again, something that Murryan did not see favorably.
It took 20 years for them to make peace . In 2014 Bill took the olive branch and made it true to his humorous style: he asked for police custody, bought a box of donuts and went to visit his friend From him. At that time , Harold’s health was completely deteriorated by vasculitis and despite not being able to speak, he hugged his friend again. Days later, Ramis passed away.