See Pierce Brosnan Tell A Charming Story About Robin Williams

During a career retrospective, Pierce Brosnan talks about the dedication, creativity, and kindness he experienced from the late Robin Williams on the set of Mrs. Doubtfire.

By Vic Medina | Published

In a new interview with GQ, legendary actor Pierce Brosnan is discussing his life and career, including his experiences on the set of the comedy classic Mrs. Doubtfire nearly 30 years ago. The man who would eventually become James Bond recalls his first meeting with Robin Williams, which went exactly as you might have hoped. Brosnan recalls arriving in San Francisco (where much of the film was shot) and finding the Aladdin star in the makeup trailer, dressed as himself, yet wearing the full “Mrs. Doubtfire” makeup.

According to Pierce Brosnan, Williams went right into character as the British nanny, despite having his famously hairy arms and legs visible through his shorts and short-sleeve shirt. Wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and only being “Mrs. Doubtfire” from the neck up, Robin Williams exclaimed in character “Oh, hello Pierce. Ooh, you’re very handsome, ooh, give us a kiss! Oooh,” only to suddenly switch to his regular deep voice to say “Hey there, buddy. Nice to see you, glad you came up.”

Williams’ uncanny knack for hilarious improvisation actually led producers to create several cuts of the film, including one with jokes so filthy it would have likely earned an NC-17 rating. This “dirty” version is actually hinted at in the scene in which Pierce Brosnan chokes on a shrimp at the end of the film. Robin Williams improvised many of the sexually suggestive – yet hilarious – phrases that Mrs. Doubtfire says to his character to get him flustered.

pierce brosnan robin williams
Robin Williams and Pierce Brosnan in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Movie fans may forget that Mrs. Doubtfire released in 1993, before Pierce Brosnan took on his “license to kill” as 007 in 1995’s Goldeneye. In the interview, Brosnan reveals that he was thrilled to have been cast in the Robin Williams vehicle, as he was unemployed at the time and needed to pay his mortgage. His biggest hit at the time, the NBC private detective drama Remington Steele, had been off of the air for five years, and he was mostly appearing in television films at the time.

After the success of Mrs. Doubtfire, things only got better for Pierce Brosnan. He was cast as James Bond soon after, partially based on the recommendation of director Chris Columbus, who endorsed him to the Bond producers and praising his work on Doubtfire and his rapport with Robin Williams. Brosnan was actually passed over for the role of Bond in the 1980s because he was under contract for Remington Steele, but would go on to portray the spy in four films, with his last outing in 2002’s Die Another Day.

Robin Williams would go on to have a monster career, with the Hook star appearing in Jumanji, The Birdcage, Patch Adams, Night at the Museum, and What Dreams May Come. In 1998, he finally won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Good Will Hunting, after being nominated three pervious times and not winning.

As MovieWeb points out, Williams sadly took his own life in 2014 at the age of 63, just as pre-production on a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel, which would have brought back Pierce Brosnan and Sally Field, was under development. It was only recently revealed that Robin Williams suffered from Lewy Body Dementia, a rare yet debilitating brain condition that was undiagnosed until after his death.

If you get the opportunity, we strongly suggest watching the entire interview with Pierce Brosnan. It’s not only a revealing interview about Brosnan, but his Robin Williams story is particularly touching and a fitting tribute to a talent gone far too early.