Nearly 30 years after the release of Mrs. Doubtfire, actor Pierce Brosnan is reflecting on what it was like to work on the classic comedy and its lead star, late comedy legend Robin Williams. In the film, Williams plays a divorced man who pretends to be an elderly nanny in order to secretly spend more time with his children. Sally Field co-stars as Williams’ wife while Brosnan plays her new boyfriend, following the divorce. Mrs. Doubtfire tosses fruit at Brosnan in one memorable scene and winds up literally saving his life in another.
Sadly, Williams died in 2014 during pre-production on a planned Mrs. Doubtfire sequel. Williams’ death prevented Brosnan from reuniting with him for the follow-up film, but in a new interview with GQ, Brosnan looks back on what it was like meeting the late actor for the first time. This shouldn’t be of any surprise, but the first meeting was very memorable, as Williams was in his Mrs. Doubtfire makeup from the neck up. And when he saw Brosnan, Williams didn’t hesitate to jump into character to entertain his new co-star. As explained by Brosnan, via ScreenRant:
“I was so thrilled to be working with him, and Sally Field. I remember going up to San Francisco the first day. I went into the makeup trailer, and Robin was there. He had a Hawaiian shirt on, big hairy arms and cargo pants, hairy legs. But he had the head of Mrs. Doubtfire. [Chuckles, imitates Williams] ‘Oh, hello Pierce. Ooh, you’re very handsome, ooh, give us a kiss! Oooh!’ [Deepens voice] ‘Hey there, buddy. Nice to see you, glad you came up.’ [As himself] ‘Hello Robin, how are you man?’ [As Williams] ‘Oh, I’m good, man. Been here for hours.'”
Brosnan then clarified that Williams was practically in character throughout production so it wasn’t until shooting had wrapped that he really got to meet the real Robin.
“I would go to work, and I worked every day on that movie, and I was always working with, you know, Mrs. Doubtfire. It wasn’t ’til the end of the movie that I met Robin.”
The Mrs. Doubtfire Cast Misses Robin Williams
Back in March, some of the cast members of Mrs. Doubtfire also reflected on the movie for an appearance on Good Morning America. Lisa Jakub, who plays Williams’ teenage daughter in the movie, recalled how Williams was always kind on set and would help the child actors with remembering their lines. Jakub also remembers how Williams was open about his mental health problems.
“He was very open about his issues with mental wellness,” she said. “He taught me it was OK to be vulnerable. What was most meaningful to me was to see that human beneath the comedic act.”
Mara Wilson, who was just six years old when she played Williams’ youngest daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire, added: “I have so many moments of him being kind and looking me in the eye and talking to me very gently. He was a very gentle and quiet, introverted person underneath. He was also often silly, like making his carpet bag bark like a dog and making little hand puppets that would talk to you and make little jokes.”