Take one aging cult film star, add Crayola. That’s the genius idea behind Thrill Murray, the Bill Murray colouring book. We tracked down the man behind the crayons, Michael Coley, to ask one pivotal questions: why?
Why Bill Murray, and why a colouring book?
One evening I was eating pizza with friends and we got on to talking about Bill Murray. One of my friends just swung into this speech on how sexy she thought he was. The next hour was a really smutty love letter, the pizza didn’t taste quite the same. The one phrase, ‘I’d love to fill him up’, just stuck with me and the idea of a colouring book planted its seed.
Seriously, I’m not sure it could work with anyone else. Bill plays these rich characters, who are deeply sad but ultimately positive, in a goofy way.
Was it difficult to convince artists to contribute to your book?
Not really! Initial research told me that EVERYONE likes at least one Bill Murray film and every illustrator I got in touch with had an idea they wanted to run with. The colouring book concept, rather than make people sceptical, actually inspired them even further. In the end I was fielding so many contributions and I’d like to thank everyone who got involved, they’ve made it such an awesome project to run.
Who came up with the name Thrill Murray?
I can’t quite remember but I’m definitely taking full credit for it. I’m often hunting down bad puns for band names. We landed on Chill, Trill or Thrill Murray as possibles. I think Thrill’s the best.
Which is your favourite Bill Murray film?
This is a toughie! I think I’m going to go with Lost in Translation. Bill puts together a sad portrait of a man who is slightly over the hill. It’s a really funny film with great moments, it’s also visually beautiful. One to show your mum, your girlfriend or to play with friends, an all round winner.
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What would you do if Bill Murray turned up to your party?
I can’t even begin to imagine how awesome that would be. Possibly yelp really loud? No, no, that’s stupid. Piggy back? Faint? Oh god I feel funny…
Were you a big fan of colouring books when you were younger?
You name the show, I had the colouring book. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Thunderbirds, Biker Mice from Mars… My next project is a Kurt Cobain inspired sticker book, Kurt and the Gang.
What’s your favourite crayon to use for colouring in?
I’m a huge Attitude-era WWF wrestling fan. So as a reference to the classic Vince Mcmahon / Stone Cold Steve Austin matchups, I’d love to colour one in using the blood from my arch-rival… Granted, pretty limited colour palette.
Have you tried getting in touch with Bill Murray about your book?
A few times now! I want to meet up with him and colour in a few pages together. From all the stories you hear about him crashing parties and freaking people out in the street, I think he’d really like it. So if anyone can help, get in touch!
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not producing Bill Murray colouring books?
I started Belly Kids a year a go – a label which releases a whole bunch of books, comics, records, tapes and DVDs. There was no mandate, or grand plan, just the idea to release ace and interesting art. And I love listening to records, buying really awful knitwear and watching The X Files. Scully is a babe.
You can order Thrill Murray through Belly Kids. We also have 3 Thrill Murray colouring books to give away – tell us on Facebook what your favourite Bill Murray film is.
Words: Zing Tsjeng