Drew Barrymore is weighing in on Lucy Liu and Bill Murray’s infamous blowup on the set of their 2000 movie Charlie’s Angels.
On her eponymous talk show Tuesday, Barrymore shared recollections about making the film, which she also produced, and the bond she shares with co-stars Liu and Cameron Diaz, who remain close friends. It led to her revealing how she reached out to Liu in July after Liu confirmed the blowup in a Los Angeles Times interview.
“I did this whole video and sent it to her to back her up and she was like, ‘Nah, I don’t need it,'” Barrymore said of Liu.
Guest Danny Pellegrino asked what really happened during the disagreement and Barrymore said she’d “spill the tea.”
“Bill was just in a — you know, comedians can be a little dark sometimes — and he just came in in a bad mood,” she explained. “What you have to know is how much Lucy stood up for herself. That was the great thing that came out of an unfortunate circumstance. She literally said, ‘I do not accept that kind of behavior from you.’ And we all supported her and backed her up and we moved forward.”
Pellegrino asked if Murray — who played Bosley to the trio of angels Natalie (Diaz), Dylan (Barrymore) and Alex (Liu) — was just acting out toward everyone or Liu specifically as it played out. She said it was “general,” but then he “zeroed in on” Liu.
Barrymore went on to say,”I respected [Liu] then, I respect her now. I am proud of us as a team and a company that we didn’t tiptoe on the eggshells. We dealt with it right then and there, we were strong and we moved forward and we didn’t accept anything less moving forward.”
Barrymore agreed that Liu was an action hero on screen in the film but a superhero in real life amid the drama.
“She really was,” Barrymore said.
The story about the Liu-Murray blowout on the set circulated for years — but it was resurrected in July when Shaun O’Banion, who said he was a production assistant on the film, tweeted about what he allegedly saw go down. In short, he said Murray insulted Liu, calling her just a TV actress, in front of the whole cast and crew.
Liu broke her silence in the Asian Enough podcast. The Ally McBeal alum said part of a scene was reworked, not by her, over a weekend, and Murray couldn’t be there for rehearsals. When it came time to shoot, “Bill starts to sort of hurl insults, and I won’t get into the specifics, but it 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 … ? 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.”
She continued, “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, nor should I have.”
Murray didn’t comment, but in 2009 he told the Times of London (via Entertainment Weekly), “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.”