Help is on the way! Mrs. Doubtfire hit screens in November 1993 and became an instant classic beloved by families everywhere.
Based on Anne Fine‘s 1987 novel Alias Madame Doubtfire, the comedy follows voice actor Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams), whose wife, Miranda (Sally Field), files for divorce because she thinks he’s unreliable. In order to prove his mettle and spend more time with his kids, Daniel poses as an elderly British nanny named Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire.
When his trick is uncovered by a judge, the court awards Miranda full custody of the children, but she quickly realizes that the kids are hurting without their dad. After seeing Daniel’s new show, Euphegenia’s House, on TV, she decides to arrange joint custody.
While the movie had a bittersweet ending, some of its cast members still look back on the project with fondness. Field, for her part, remembers Williams trying desperately to make her break character on set.
“Everybody was always breaking up in the scene, falling apart in the scene because Robin was always improvising,” the Oscar winner told Yahoo! Entertainment in December 2022. “And people were laughing. Crew was laughing. Everyone except me. I would be like, ‘What? Just this?’ and keep going. It would drive him crazy that he couldn’t break me up in the scene. I just went, ‘I’m a professional, Robin … just keep going. If you do it, I promise you, I won’t laugh.’ And I never did.”
Finally, Field lost her cool one day while filming a dinner scene — but it wasn’t Williams who cracked her up. “Pierce Brosnan made this inappropriate [fart] noise on his arm. And I fell down laughing,” the Norma Rae star recalled. “I mean, that was it. They had to cut for the day, practically. And Robin said, ‘Well, who knew that it was only potty humor that you were gonna laugh at?’ It was Pierce that made me laugh and broke me up, and not Robin. Robin would say that it drove him nuts that he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t make me laugh.”
The late comedian, who died by suicide in 2014, also dispensed advice to his young costars. Matthew Lawrence, who played Chris Hillard, said that Williams told him to “stay away” from drugs, especially cocaine. The Good Will Hunting actor struggled with an addiction to the stimulant in the 1970s and 1980s.
“He talked to me about it,” the former Disney star recalled during a March 2022 appearance at 90s Con. “He was very serious. He was like, ‘You know when you come to my trailer and you see me like that?’ He’s like, ‘That’s the reason why. And now I’m fighting for the rest of my life because I spent 10 years doing something very stupid every day. Do not do it.’ I stayed away from it because of him.”
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