Groundhog Day

We caught this on tv recently and it still stands up to the test of time. Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis‘ script is inventive, romantic, charming. What a great comedy.

Download an early draft here.


Rumour has it that the original shortlist for the lead role of PHIL included Tom Hanks, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and John Travolta. Imagine how differently the movie would have turned out with any one of those guys…

According to director Harold Ramis, most of the times when he tried to explain a scene to Bill Murray, Murray would interrupt and ask, “Just tell me – good Phil or bad Phil?”.

So here are a few roles that you can use as part of your learning lines programme. C’mon – in this lull between Christmas and New Year what else are you going to do?

Remember – try to make the roles your own, don’t simply imitate the wonderful cast that brought the film to life. But by all means check out their performances to see how they made the most of the opportunity.

CHUBBY MAN – script page 13, 27 and 100. A classic day player role – one location, more or less one set up. If you can make this role interesting then you are well on your way to being a useful actor.

NED RYERSON – here are scenes we would use to audition for this role: bottom of script page 14, then page 15 and 16, pages 29/30, script pages 103 and 104. One of the great all time character actors, Stephen Tobolowsky, made this role truly memorable.

NANCY – audition scenes would be script pages 23/24, 50/51, 53/54/55. A lovely role that most likely would be filled by a regular actress through the audition process.

The PSYCHOLOGIST – described as “a marriage and family counselor at the local Lutheran church. His appearance and manner indicate he may have some serious problems of his own.”  – wonderful. He appears on script pages 42 and 43. Another classic day player role – an opportunity for a memorable performance.

NURSE – again, a pretty functional day player role – be bold, make her interesting – script pages 104 and 105.

And finally, alas, a role that was cut – the WOMAN on page 77. It happens to the best.

Go ahead, choose some of these scenes, learn the lines. If you like – tape yourselves and send us a link.


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