Mrs. Doubtfire Director Reveals Tons Of Robin Williams Footage For A Documentary

In the 90s when Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed a camera crew couldn't just keep rolling forever, they would eventually need to stop Williams when the film ran out.

By Britta DeVore | Published

Next year will mark a full decade since legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams tragically passed away. While his memory has been kept alive in all of his wonderful performances, Mrs. Doubtfire director Chris Columbus has 972 boxes of extra B-roll footage that’s ready and waiting to be used for a documentary about the film.

In an interview with Insider, surrounding his plans for the documentary, the director revealed, “We are talking about it and trying to get it done.”

With almost 1000 boxes of extra footage on hand, what exactly would be in Chris Columbus’ Mrs. Doubtfire documentary? As the director, who has also helmed such projects as the first two Home Alone films as well as the first two Harry Potter titles, explained, the extra bits include “outtakes” and “behind-the-scenes footage” of everyday life on the set of the classic ‘90s comedy. Getting to the material would be easy as Columbus says it’s currently being stored “in a warehouse somewhere” and that they’ve been talking about recruiting “an editor” to make all the pieces come together.

Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire
Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire

While the film is celebrating its 30th anniversary, Columbus says there’s much more behind his wanting to release the unseen Mrs. Doubtfire footage than that. His main drive is to bring fans a closer look at the talent held by Robin Williams – an A-class performer loved around the world for his comedy and voice roles. Columbus praised Williams’ work on the project and said, “There’s 2 million feet of film in that warehouse so there could be something we can do with all of that.”

Looking back fondly on his time filming Mrs. Doubtfire and working with Robin Williams, Columbus revealed the reason there was an extra 2 million feet of film lying around in a warehouse somewhere was because of the star’s improv abilities. Unlike today’s world of digital, in the 90s when Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed a camera crew couldn’t just keep rolling forever, they would eventually need to stop Williams when the film ran out. Columbus says that by the end of production, he had four cameras working together in order to not miss any of Williams’ extra material. 

Praising his leading man’s talent for improvisational comedy, Chris Columbus said many takes were ruined by Robin Williams’ incredible abilities. Columbus said sometimes he wanted to keep the camera on fellow Mrs. Doubtfire stars Pierce Brosnan and Sally Field, but the pair of actors had a more than difficult time holding back their laughter. While Columbus and the others on set were having a wonderful time watching the actor do what he did best, the movie’s script supervisor was living in misery as Williams constantly made in-the-moment changes.

pierce brosnan robin williams
Pierce Brosnan cracking up in Mrs. Doubtfire

As some may know, a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire was in the works before the actor died in 2014. Mentioning this in his interview, Columbus says that the last conversation he had with Robin Williams was about the finished script for Mrs. Doubtfire 2 and how long the actor would be expected to be in the “physically demanding” Mrs. Doubtfire suit.

With the tenth anniversary of Robin Williams’ death just around the corner, there’s no better way to celebrate his legacy than with a Mrs. Doubtfire documentary. The project could celebrate one of his most beloved roles and give fans a closer look into the extreme talent the brilliant comedian possessed.