The Razor’s Edge Production Timeline

1976
Director John Byrum and friend Rob Cohen becomes interested pursuing the movie rights to the W Somerset Maugham novel, The Razor’s Edge. 20th Centruy Fox declined to meet Byrum and the idea was put on hold.
Byrum continues developing an initial script but abandons it.

1977
John Byrum meets Bill Murray shortly after his first appearance on Saturday Night Live. John sends Bill a number of film projects over the years with no success.

1981
John Byrum visits Bill Murray on the set of Stripes.
1982
Robert Marcucci aqcuires the domestic film rights to The Razor’s Edge from 20th Century Fox for $20,000.00 (Who had released the 1946 version starring Tyrone Power).
A week after the rights are acquired, John Byrum and Rob Cohen successfully strike a deal with Marcucci to make the film. Byrum sends Murray a copy of the book with the intention of casting him in the lead role of Larry Darrell.

Spring 1982
Bill and John take to the road over the next 18 months to develop the script including an impromptu visit to a cinema screening Murray’s latest release Tootsie (December 1982).

While 6 months are spent sorting out legal issues,

March 1982
While developing the script to Ghostbusters, Dan Aykroyd learns of John Belushi’s death and asks Bill Murray to replace him in the role of Peter Venkman.

Bill Murray attends a wake from John Belushi at Dan Aykroyd’s house in which he Dan and James Belushi engage in the Persian tradition of roasting the recently deceased.

Autumn/Winter 1982
Bill Murray and John Byrum take to the road again to write the script for The Razor’s Edge. They took time out to asneak into a screening of Tootsie and take a mud baths in Calistoga.

March 1983
2nd Draft script completed

May 1983
Shooting script completed

Summer 1983
Shooting begins in England (Warminster). The mountain scenes are shot on a sound stage but abandoned and later reshot in Switzerland.

Summer 1983
1 month shooting in Paris including a mansion that was due to be demolished, but was put on hold for John Byrum to complete shooting.
Reconneteurs to Bombay, Kashmir for India scenes. Srinagar and Ladakh are agreed upon.

Sep 1983
Shooting moves to Srinagar. After a day’s shooting, the crew of The Razor’s Edge share an evening with David Lean in the Hotel Oberoi Palace in Srinagar, who was currently shooting A Passage to India.

Shooting continues in Srinagar where the crew contract food poisoning from some chicken.

Sep 21 1983
Shooting moves to Ladakh, the cast and crew fly to Ladakh on Bill Murray’s birthday.

October 1983
Bill returns to New York briefly for costume fittings for Ghostbusters before returning to Paris for reshoots including a new ending.
Murray flies to London to view a rough cut of the film being edited at Colgems Productions.
Murray then takes a Concorde back to New York to begin shooting Ghostbusters.

Byrum stays in London for another six months on post-production of the film, including the soundtrack with Jack Nietzche at Abbey Road.

Summer 1984
Cast and crew return to Paris, to shoot a new ending at Bill Murray’s request.

September 1984
Film premieres at Ziegfeld
October 1984: First public screening in Quebec is attended by Murray, who introduces the film to the surprised audience.

21 October 1984
Bill Murray attends a screening of The Razor’s Edge at the Denver International Film Festival.

(c) 2017, Shaun Kelley

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