Actress Keke Palmer has joined actor-director Aziz Ansari’s directorial debut, Good Fortune, nearly two years after what was supposed to be his directorial debut, a film called Being Mortal also starring Palmer, was scrapped amidst reports of costar Bill Murray’s “inappropriate behavior,” The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Being Mortal was shut down in April of 2022 after Murray reportedly straddled and kissed a member of the film’s crew while on set, and while both were wearing protective COVID-19 masks.
Murray was “particularly friendly” with the member of production he allegedly assaulted, according to Puck, and the woman, who later filed a complaint against Murray, said that the actor’s weight made it impossible for her to get him off. Puck reported at the time that contrary to rumors, Palmer was not the member of production who Murray allegedly assaulted.
At the time Being Mortal was canceled, Palmer wrote a post on Instagram interpreted by many to be a comment on the incident, saying, “It’s not always about how good you are at the actual job… It’s about how you show up to the job.” She added, “I’m talented but I’m not arrogant enough to believe that there aren’t many talented people. However, not every talented person is a professional and people PAY for PROFESSIONALISM.”
Palmer also told Variety at the time that she was disappointed that Being Mortal, which was based on a 2014 book by surgeon Atul Gawande, had been shelved. Without commenting on the Murray controversy directly, Palmer said that “[Ansari] would probably have to do a major rewrite, but I know what we got was gold.”
“If somebody could figure it out, it would be Aziz,” she said. “Obviously, we got cut short at a certain point but I will say that I am pretty devastated. It’s an amazing film. If there is some way to be able to complete, salvage it, I would want to do it.”
It appears that Ansari, who himself weathered a misconduct scandal when he was accused of sexually aggressive behavior by a Brooklyn photographer in 2018, has officially moved on but found a way to keep Palmer on board.
“Keke is a delight to work with,” Ansari told the Hollywood Reporter. “I’m so happy she’s a part of our cast and even more excited to provide a quote for this press release announcing her casting.”
The cast of Good Fortune reportedly includes Palmer, Seth Rogen and Keanu Reeves, but Murray, who reached a settlement of over $100,000 with his accuser in October of 2022, is not involved.
In an interview with CNBC in May of 2022, Murray described the incident a “difference of opinion,” and claimed he “did something [he] thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way.”