Where the Buffalo Roam

I remember once being so low on cash that my friends and I saved money by watching the same rented movie several nights in a row. That movie was Where the Buffalo Roam.

Bill Murray is not a name associated with method acting, but in 1979, he came face to face with Hunter, spent weeks of all night drug-fuelled bad craziness to get into character and nearly didn't survive to tell the tale. During production Bill and Hunter staged a series of dangerous one-upmanship duels. Legend has it that after many drinks at the author's Colorado home and after much arguing over who could out Houdini the other. Hunter tied Bill to a chair and threw him into the swimming pool, he nearly drowned before Hunter relented and pulled him out. Bill immersed himself in Hunter so deeply that when Saturday Night Live started its fifth season, he was still in character. The role overtook him, he had virtually become Hunter—complete with long black cigarette holder, dark glasses and bad habits. His memory of shooting the film are a little sketchy. Bill recalls: "I rented a pad in L.A. with a guest house that Hunter lived in. I'd work all day and stay up all night with him, I was strong in those days and could take it. But I took on another persona and that was tough to shake. I still have Hunter in me, wanting to break out."

The whole movie is now on the Tube. Trivia alert! Neil Young is hanging out outside a bar at the 15:32 mark.

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