San Francisco – On the 30th anniversary of the beloved comedy “Mrs. Doubtfire,” director Chris Columbus reflected on the late Robin Williams’ iconic role and his unparalleled talent.
In an interview with Business Insider, Columbus revealed that Williams insisted on improvising during the filming of the movie, resulting in 2 million feet of film for the production team to go through. According to Columbus, Williams would give three or four scripted takes before asking to play around with the scene, often leading to unpredictable and hilarious moments.
Columbus also shared that Williams’ improv skills made it challenging for the script director, who had to record all the changes by hand. However, despite the difficulties, the director admitted that it was a privilege to work with Williams and witness his genius in action.
The director also described how Williams’ spontaneous nature disrupted the filming process, often causing the crew to run out of film in the camera. To keep up with Williams, Columbus had to shoot the entire movie with four cameras, capturing both the actor’s performance and the other actors’ reactions.
According to MRS. DOUBTFIRE director Chris Columbus, they “shot almost 2 million feet of film” over the course of the film’s production due to its late star Robin Williams‘ incessant and impressive improv: https://t.co/fEMRJWu0Pw pic.twitter.com/kGQFRiQlrr
— Decider (@decider) November 25, 2023
Co-stars Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan also struggled to keep a straight face while filming with Williams, who was in full improv mode. Columbus shared that it was “quite difficult” for them not to break character and laugh at Williams’ antics.
Based on the 1987 Anne Fine novel “Madame Doubtfire,” the story follows a divorced man who poses as a British nanny to stay close to his three children. The movie came out at the peak of Williams’ career and became a huge box office hit, grossing over $440 million worldwide.
Columbus hinted at the possibility of a documentary about the making of “Mrs. Doubtfire,” as there is an abundance of unused footage that could showcase Williams’ process and talent. The director hopes to hire an editor to go through the footage and preserve Williams’ legacy.
Williams passed away in 2014 at the age of 63 after years of battling depression. His death was later attributed to Lewy Body Dementia, a type of brain disease that can cause hallucinations and memory loss.