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Robin Williams - Idol Chatter
Robin Williams - Idol Chatter

THE COMIC GENIUS GETS IN TOUCH WITH THIS DARK SIDE FOR HIS NEXT THREE PROJECTS. AND YOU THOUGHT PATCH ADAMS WAS EVIL.

ON THIS, THE EVE OF YOUR 50TH BIRTHDAY, YOU, THE FORMER SAINT ROBIN (PATCH ADAMS, BICENTENNIAL MAN, ETC), ARE UNLEASHING THREE PSYCHO ROBINS (DEATH TO SMOOCHY, INSOMNIA, AND ONE HOUR PHOTO). IS THIS LIKE A SICK BIRTHDAY GIFT TO YOUR PUBLIC?
Yeah, write me a nice letter now, BITCH! [as Mike Tyson] “Dear Robin, this is Mike Tyson. I love what you did in Insomnia, so if you ever want to go to dinner….” No, these characters just came in a weird wave of three. It’s not like saying, “Now we’re Villains-R-Us.”

BUT YOU KNOW THAT EVERYONE THINKS YOU’RE DOING THIS AS AN IMAGE REJIGGER, RIGHT?
But you can’t rejigger an image—people who found Patch to be the end of the universe as we know it, you can’t change them; you can’t go [as pod person], “Look. Now I am one of you. I see the universe is vile. Join me.” You just say, “Get over

it, girl!”

WHICH YOU’RE DOING WITH A VENGEANCE IN INSOMNIAWHY, YOU’RE A CRAZED KILLER GOING UP AGAINST SERPICO [COSTAR AL PACINO] HIMSELF.
But Serpico without sleep, because the movie is set in Alaska when it’s 23 hours of daylight—a crack addict’s wet dream!

AS IMPROV-CENTRAL, DID YOU GET TO RIFF IN CHARACTER AT ALL?
Everyone has this image that you’re just riffing like crazy, but, no, sometimes it’s like tits on a bull—unnecessary. Like Good Will Hunting was just well-written—there’s no need to add.

YOU “DISCOVERED” THAT SCRIPT, DIDN’T YOU?
Yeah, through my niece, who was working with Matt [Damon]. I went, “This is amazing—but, boys, I want some I.D.” [as a cop to Damon and Affleck] “Step away from Winona, boys.” [as a cop to Winona Ryder] “Girl, put back that jewelry!”

OF YOUR EARLY STUFF, I’M PERSONALLY PARTIAL TO CADILLAC MAN, A FILM THAT CHARMINGLY OPENS WITH YOU GOING DOWN ON FRAN DRESCHER.
Which was amazing, ‘cause there was a dog in that scene, too. [barks like a dog] “It’s my turn!” [as Drescher] “Chester, get away from there!” They used to clean the dog’s ass with a Q-tip and leave them around, and the makeup people were always going, “But which one did FRAN use?”

GROSS, MOVING ON, THE FISHER KING.
That’s a great movie. But it was another case of a Patch reaction—people said it trivialized the homeless. I said, “Um, I don’t think so….” But, man, Jeff [Bridges] is the best actor in America—he just gets ignored ‘cause he’s so fuckin’ good.

YEP, YOU’VE GOT THE OSCAR AND HE DOESN’T. SO WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THAT NIGHT?
It was a weird thing. But I do remember looking out and seeing [fellow nominee] Burt Reynolds, like, saying, “Drop it, fucker!”

YOU AND BURT HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON, THOUGHYOU’VE BOTH SEEMED TO ALWAYS BASK IN BEING ‘A STAR.’
Well, for me it’s a ride, and you can get on and off of it. That’s why I live in San Francisco—I don’t stick out here. But I love parties, I love premieres, and I literally get nuts when I’m around other famous people. Like meeting Bette Davis and her saying [as Davis], “Remember to say no—it’s the most difficult word.” Or Olivier at my first Academy Awards when he said [as Olivier],. “Are you wearing makeup?” and I went, “Yes, sir,” and he went, “Don’t—it makes you look effeminate.” [laughs] Those things stay in your mind and, man…..THAT’S what the ride is.

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