Ted Melfi directed the critically-acclaimed comedy-drama St. Vincent, which stars Bill Murray opposite the precocious Jaeden Lieberher.

‘St. Vincent’ Interview

In St. Vincent, Lieberher plays Oliver, the young son of a single mother (Melissa McCarthy) going through a contentious divorce. The little man, wise beyond his years, becomes fast friends with Murray’s cantakerous Vietnam War veteran Vincent. Due to the chemistry between Lieberer and Murray, the two created the buddy-film dynamic that Melfi was looking for.

“Jaeden’s got this quiet presence. He’s like a 50 year old trapped in an 11-year-old’s body,” Melfi told uInterview exclusively, explaining how he came to cast the young actor. “He’s just a wise soul. He’s strong and he’s centered, and he’s focused. He’s the perfect guy to go toe-to-toe with Bill Murray.”

As for Lieberher, he felt honored to join the cast of comedic heavyweights. “I felt so lucky to go to New York and get the movie. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it. But meeting Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy and all these amazing people, it was an honor,” he said. “It was really an honor. I was pretty intimidated by these great people. But above that I was excited.”

Read uInterview’s ‘St. Vincent’ Review HERE

Melfi confirmed the myth of Murray’s 1-800 number, which made landing him for the part a daunting – but ultimately rewarding – task. While getting Murray onboard the film and on set was one thing, keeping him on the set proved to be another matter. The veteran actor, who Melfi says, “lives in the present more than anyone,” often wandered away from the crew when he felt a pull somewhere else. Instead of being irritated by the compulsion, it left Melfi it awe.

“One time we were in Bay Ridge, in Brooklyn, and we couldn’t find Bill. It was like 20 minutes had gone by and someone finally says, I found him-he’s in that storefront,” Melfi recounted to uInterview. “I went in the storefront and it’s a U.S Air Force recruiting center and Bill was in there with the veterans, and the new recruits, and the recruiters and he was in there signing autographs, shaking hands and thanking them for serving. I thought that’s just incredible, and he does that all the time.”

St. Vincent opened in theaters last month to glowing reviews, sparking speculation that the movie could be in the running for some nods come awards seasons. For Melfi, who made his directorial debut with St. Vincent, awards come second to the palpable enjoyment he’s sensed from audiences. “We just know we had fun making it, and we hope people enjoy it,” he said. “We’ve been in audiences and there seems to be people responding to it. That’s really the trophy for us, is that people enjoy the movie.”