Chris Columbus’s comedy-drama film Mrs. Doubtfire turns 30 this year but for most of the cast and crew, it might as well have been yesterday that the movie hit theaters. For actor Pierce Brosnan, the occasion was especially meaningful as it set him up to meet Robin Williams for the first time – and it was exactly as zany and memorable as you’d expect it to be.
Brosnan reminisced over this first meeting while chatting with Kelly Clarkson for a recent episode of her eponymous talk show. During that trip down memory lane, he revealed how helpful Mrs. Doubtfire was for his career and the way Williams relentlessly channeled the quirky nanny every second Brosnan saw him…or her.
Pierce Brosnan recalls meeting Robin Williams and Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time
The cast of Mrs. Doubtfire almost looked a bit different than what we know today. It almost included the likes of Blake Lively as the youngest Hillard child. On top of that, Warren Beatty was actually the first choice of Anne Fine, the author of the book Madame Doubtfire, which inspired the film.’
Stu Hillard was also almost played by Tim Allen, only for the Toolman to turn the role down. So, Brosnan was offered the role of Stuart “Stu” Dunmeyer.
“I remember the first day up in San Francisco,” recalled Brosnan, “it was a gorgeous, sunny day–and they said, ‘Well, uh, welcome, and do you want to meet Robin?’” he recalled, “and I said, ‘Yeah,’ and he said ‘he’s in the makeup trailer.’”
“So I went into the makeup trailer and he was sitting there and he had a Hawaiian shirt on, and big hairy arms and legs and cargo pants, but Mrs. Doubtfire’s head,” Brosnan continued. Williams exclaimed “Oh, hello, Pierce! Give us a kiss!” in his Mrs. Doubtfire voice. The hilarious encounter has a place of honor in his heart to this day.
‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ provided much for Pierce Brosnan well after he first met Robin Williams
Brosnan was actually quite relieved to have been offered a job. He admitted, “This job came at a time where I was really worrying about the mortgage payment. And they said, ‘You got a job that’s for Robin Williams,’ and it was a truly magnificent experience.”
Magnificent would be the perfect word to describe the whole filming process. To this day, Brosnan reflects upon Mrs. Doubfire and excitedly – and fondly – says, “It was such a blast, so memorable. I mean, if I never did anything else, I made Mrs. Doubtfire.” Of course, Brosnan also recalled, Williams did nothing but Mrs. Doubtfire because of how long the makeup process took. But the actor never showed his fatigue or broke character. “I really never worked with Robin,” said Brosnan, half-teasing, “I worked with Mrs. Doubtfire the whole time.”
It’s also worth noting Brosnan almost still worked with Tim Allen; he wasn’t just offered the role of Stu but also of Mrs. Doubtfire. What would that film have looked like?