Where have we seen this before? Bill Murray appears back in Woodstock

  • Bill Murray appears in the Woodstock Square on Saturday while filming a Jeep commercial.

    Bill Murray appears in the Woodstock Square on Saturday while filming a Jeep commercial. Courtesy of Jon Bergstrom via Northwest Herald

  • Bill Murray waits by a crew shooting a Jeep commercial Saturday in Woodstock Square.

    Bill Murray waits by a crew shooting a Jeep commercial Saturday in Woodstock Square. Courtesy of Gregg Hanson via Northwest Herald

  • Bill Murray shoots a Jeep commercial Saturday in Woodstock Square in front of a truck like the one that appeared in the 1993 film "Groundhog Day."

    Bill Murray shoots a Jeep commercial Saturday in Woodstock Square in front of a truck like the one that appeared in the 1993 film "Groundhog Day." Photo provided to the Northwest Herald

 
By Cassie Buchman
Northwest Herald
Updated 1/25/2020 6:38 PM

It was like 1992 all over again in Woodstock.

Bill Murray, star of the film "Groundhog Day," returned to the Square on Saturday, almost 28 years after the film was shot at locations on and around the Square and elsewhere in McHenry County. This time, Murray was there to film a Jeep commercial.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Though no one from Jeep was immediately available to confirm the date the commercial would run, it was filmed eight days before the Super Bowl, which falls on Groundhog Day this year.

A photo taken while the commercial was being filmed shows Murray in front of a red pickup truck that looks much like the vehicle his character, Phil Connors, drives away in when he steals a groundhog and later drives off a cliff. (The cliff-jump scene was actually filmed at a quarry in Loves Park.)

"Groundhog Day," which was released in 1993, features Murray as a TV meteorologist who finds himself stuck reliving the same day -- Groundhog Day -- in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Patti Zasada, owner of the gift shop Soul Focus at 120 N Benton St., said she had never seen a Hollywood actor before seeing Murray shooting the commercial on Saturday morning.

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"To see Bill Murray, that's pretty cool," Zasada said. "It was an unexpected surprise."

Mickey Mahler, who lives on the Square, said she wanted to check out what was going on, so she went out for the earlier shoot, got a massage, then came back.

"I missed Bill Murray. I guess he was over there earlier, by like 10 minutes," she said. "It's cool to see all the stuff going on. ... More people should film stuff here."

In addition to people reporting seeing Murray, several local businesses posted an image of him on the Square on Facebook.

In an email to the Northwest Herald, a spokeswoman for Jeep's parent company, FCA US, said the company does not comment on the details of ongoing video productions -- its own, or those of outside partners -- that may feature any of its vehicles.

She didn't disclose whether the commercial would air locally or nationally, and whether a new vehicle model or feature will be highlighted in the commercial.

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