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Only Murders in the Building: Who is Paul Rudd’s Ben Glenroy Based On?

Glenroy is hilariously dressed in cheeky high school garb to point out the absurdity of the age gap, and the show’s plot seems to be that Glenroy’s character and his female co-star go to school like any other kids during the day, and they fight crime after dark. Glenroy’s co-star mentions that she is worried about making it to both the prom and the drug bust on the same day. 

I immediately got some 21 Jump Street vibes from this scene, almost like the writers of Only Murders in the Building were riffing on the plot of that movie in which Tatum and Jonah Hill play cops who go undercover in a high school to catch criminals. In Girl Cop, Glenroy and his castmate are actually still high school students. Both stories rely on the corny and distracting fact that the actors are well past their youthful primes. 

Bruce Willis 

In a scene in the second episode of the season, Mabel and Charles (Steve Martin) are taken through a crazed fan’s elaborate display of movie posters paying homage to Ben Glenroy’s career. One of the biggest standouts is a war film titled Chinook Rising. The film appears to be about Glenroy playing a stereotypical soldier in an ambiguous conflict, with the term “Chinook” maybe referring to the Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter? 

When seen with some of the more light-hearted projects in Glenroy’s career, a war film almost feels like an ode to Bruce Willis. A famous action star, Willis was famous for taking on comedy roles alongside more serious, violent ventures. Willis got mixed reviews for his starring turn in Hart’s War in 2002, in which he plays a prisoner of war. 

Just like how Glenroy is taking on a Broadway role, Willis also decided to get in on the stage action when his career was in the twilight phase. Misery got decent reviews, but Willis’s performance was considered very underwhelming. Even though Glenroy dies before he’s able to appear in a second show, Oliver talks to a stage critic who was planning on decimating Glenroy’s acting ability in Death Rattle. Washed-up action and comedy actor who tries to rebound on Broadway? The similarities are uncanny!

Tom Cruise

When Ben Glenroy walks into the table read for the first time in the premiere, he has a whole spiel about how he can’t eat cookies. More than just their high sugar content, Glenroy insists the bakery treats will completely derail his ability to be in shape for CoBro, the already-mentioned action film series in which Glenroy plays a zoologist with the ability to transform into a cobra. 

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