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Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) Poster

Trivia

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According to one biography, Robin Williams decided to test out the believability of his Mrs. Doubtfire character during filming by going, as Mrs. Doubtfire, into an adult bookstore and making a purchase. He was able to do so without being recognized.
During the scene when Mrs. Sellner comes to inspect Daniel's apartment and Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire is serving her tea, the icing on his/her face is melting off. This was not intentional. The heat from the set lights melted the icing on his face and Robin Williams improvised the bulk of that scene.
Robin Williams' own son didn't recognize him in his Doubtfire drag until he started speaking.
According to Director Chris Columbus, Robin Williams improvised so much that there were PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 edits of the film (though always intended to be released as PG-13).
Chris Columbus would use two or three cameras at a time, when shooting Robin Williams' scenes, uncertain of what the famously improvisational actor would come up with. Columbus viewed shooting these scenes as if he were making a documentary film.
Throughout the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire says the word "Dear" 101 times. In some scenes, he either mumbles the word or says it quickly. You have to listen very carefully to what she is saying.
Known for his trademark spontaneity of improvisation, Robin Williams was given free range by director Chris Columbus to do what he needed. However, his improvisation can occasionally spark off numerous references to other works that prove to be legal headaches for movie studios. The scene where Daniel speaks with his wife and refers to her clothes as "this lovely Dances with Wolves (1990) motif", required legal clearance for the studio to put it in the film. Associate producer Paula DuPré Pesmen later kept track of every reference Williams made while improvising.
The character "Mrs. Doubtfire" was first performed by Robin Williams at a show Andy Kaufman did at Carnegie Hall. Williams pretended to be Kaufman's grandmother.
Talk of a sequel began in 2003, with a script being written by Bonnie Hunt. Robin Williams was set to return in disguise as an old nanny like in the first movie. Due to problems with the script, re-writing began in early 2006 as Robin was allegedly unhappy with the plot. The film was expected to be released in late 2007, but following further script problems, the sequel was declared "scrapped" in mid-2006. The sequel's story was originally said to involve Williams, as Mrs. Doubtfire, moving close to his daughter's college, so he could keep an eye on her. Serious discussions regarding the sequel re-ignited in April 2014, with an announcement that Robin Williams and Chris Columbus would be teaming up with Fox2000 to produce the sequel. Williams' sudden death just four months later ultimately sealed the project's fate once and for all.
Sally Field got a cappuccino mustache on set and they decided to put it in the movie.
Harvey Fierstein had seen and been impressed by Robin Williams's impersonation of him on Comic Relief. He heard through friends that Williams would be playing a character with a gay brother, and approached him about playing the part.
The scene where Daniel knocks down the prosthetic mask and it goes flying out into the street required over 50 takes.
In real life Robin Williams divorced his wife in order to marry his nanny. In this film his wife divorced him and he becomes her nanny.
The prosthetic mask used by Robin Williams in the film was actually a prop. The real makeup was made up of eight separate pieces.
The address given by Miranda while on the phone with Mrs. Doubtfire is the actual physical address of the Hillard house used for the filming of the movie. 2640 Steiner St.
Robin Williams used much of his real childhood nanny to characterize Mrs. Doubtfire. When British tabloids found this out, they went looking for his former nanny. They found his real nanny, "Lolly", in a Michigan nursing home, and the reporters and photographers flocked to the little town to get an interview with her. Lolly balked at the attention and downplayed her impressive role. (The reporter found out Lolly had in fact been a nanny to other Hollywood celebrities, including Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Waggoner.) As a result, the local newspaper ran a story of Lolly with the heading "The Real Mrs. Doubtfire".
The TV series Charmed (1998) made occasional references to this movie. In Charmed: Something Wicca This Way Comes (1998), the newspaper prop "Firemen Doubt Fire was Accidental" appears, and Charmed: Ms. Hellfire (2000) takes its title from the movie.
The make-up of "Mrs. Doubtfire" took about 4 1/2 hours each day.
Stu was originally scripted to be an arrogant villain but Chris Columbus felt that it hurt the relationship with Mrs. Doubtfire so Stu was re-written to be more the perfect potential replacement for a father for the kids.
Mrs. Doubtfire's accent was inspired by Bill Forsyth, the Scottish director that Robin Williams had just worked with on Being Human (1994).
Tim Allen was offered the roles of both Mrs Doubtfire/Daniel Hillard and Stu Denmeyer, but Allen rejected both.
Polly Holliday's character of the Hillard family's next door neighbor Gloria Chaney, was originally scripted as a large supporting character and had a much bigger role in the film. Many scenes were filmed in which Daniel as Mrs. Doubtfire gets even with Gloria as Gloria tells Mrs. Doubtfire that she heard rumors that Daniel cheated on Miranda and abused his children. This leads Daniel as Mrs. Doubtfire, observing Gloria's passion for gardening, to give Gloria a formula that will help her flowers bloom better, and the secret ingredient in the formula is dog urine. Several scenes show Gloria actually getting dog urine and applying it to her flowers which kills them, and upsets her very much. Due to time constraints all of these scenes were cut out, and as a result, in the final cut of the film, the character of Gloria is only seen once during the opening credits before she calls Miranda to complain about Daniel throwing a birthday party next door, and later right before Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire, rips the logo off of Stu's Mercedes Benz, you can see a brief glimpse of Gloria doing some gardening. All of Gloria's deleted scenes can be seen in the special features on the film's DVD.
According to Chris Columbus, the film was initially going to be set in Chicago. But, after checking out San Francisco, they chose to set the film there. Columbus had been living in New York City for years, and was in need of a change of scenery to raise his family. During filming, he and his family had been so taken with the city, that they settled in San Francisco after the film was completed.
Blake Lively was considered for the role of Natalie Hillard and made it to the final round of auditions between her and Mara Wilson.
An avocado was going to be used instead of cake for the mask, but it made Robin Williams look like a monster.
One of the makeup attempts winds up looking more like an old Jewish woman. Robin Williams improvs on this for a moment, then Williams, Harvey Fierstein, and Scott Capurro sing the chorus of "Matchmaker, Matchmaker", from 'Fiddler On The Roof'. Fierstein has starred in 'Fiddler' in two different Broadway revivals.
When the family is looking for Mrs. Doubtfire's replacement, many of the potential nannies are members of the crew, including production assistant Erik Ross, art department coordinator Kristen Ross and production coordinator Jacqueline A. Shea. The final name crossed off the list is that of associate producer Paula DuPré Pesmen.
When Anne Fine was approached to make a movie out of her novel, her original choice for the lead role was Warren Beatty. Because of Beatty's reputation as a great womanizer she thought it would be hysterical to see him dress up and pretend to be a woman.
Mara Wilson's film debut.
At the time of filming, Sally Field was actually going through a divorce with film producer Alan Greisman.
While extracting the false teeth from the wine glass, Mrs. Doubtfire jokes "Carpe Dentum... seize the teeth." This echoes "Carpe Diem... seize the day", Robin Williams' recurring phrase from Dead Poets Society (1989). Coincidentally, Williams had earlier appeared in the little-known movie Seize the Day (1986).
The monkey puppet "Kovacs" is named after pioneering comic Ernie Kovacs.
According to some rumours, it's been suggested parts of the story were originally intended for a potential plot of a film version of the TV series of Home Improvement (1991) at the time. With the story being Tim getting divorced with Jill and being forced to pretend to be a 60 year old nanny in order to spend time with the kids. It's been said the reason for this not happening was because both Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson both hated the idea plus didn't feel Home Improvement needed a film version.
Daniel Hillard's career as a voice actor is unusual, being that he is based in San Francisco (not known as a key hub of voice-over work) and we see him providing full voices for finished animation (extremely rare in American VO traditions). This could be considered a mistake, but it could also be assumed that Daniel is replacing a voice track that is for some reason faulty, and must do the entire track over in an automated dialogue replacement session. This could be why the voice director points out how much money the session is costing the studio.
The animation director who scolds Daniel for wasting the studio's money at the beginning of the movie is played by Terence McGovern. Terrence McGovern lends his voice to animation often, most notably as Launchpad McQuack for DuckTales (1987) and Darkwing Duck (1991). McGovern is a native of Berkeley, CA and a former DJ and radio personality at KSFO radio in San Francisco.
The restaurant Bridges featured in the film is a real northern California restaurant.
The character Aunt Jack was named after the title character in one of Robin Williams all time favorite shows, and one of Williams' favorite things about Australia, The Aunty Jack Show (1972).
The Hillards' San Francisco home is located on the east side of the 2600 block of Steiner Street at the corner of Broadway.
The line "It was a run by fruiting" was improvised and ad- libbed by Robin Williams and has become a recurring gag on YouTube.
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KTVU is an actual television station licensed to Oakland, California, and the logo (circle and number 2) used in the film is the actual logo the station uses to this day (November 2005).
Stu asks Mrs. Doubtfire where she is from, stating he has a home in London. In real life Pierce Brosnan is Irish.
When Miranda's boss played by Martin Mull, towards the beginning of the movie stated that Stu wanted to invest millions into the Wellman Mansion. Martin Mull played on Roseanne (1988) where Roseanne and Jackie (Roseanne's sister) worked for Wellman plastics during the early seasons of the show.
Before Mrs. Doubtfire comes over, the children are watching The Outer Limits (1963) episode The Outer Limits: The Hundred Days of the Dragon (1963). which first aired on 23 September 1963. It is incorrectly referred to as an episode of The Twilight Zone (1959) in the director's commentary.
During the conversion to film, most of the characters were moderated heavily. In the book, all the main characters, apart from Natalie, tend to act in self-interest and expect a large amount of credit whenever they do otherwise. The divorce of Miranda and Daniel in the book is also much more bitter.
Director Chris Columbus said the movie gave a lot of women hope that Pierce Brosnan would walk into their lives.
In the opening scene, Daniel's gets chewed out by his boss for adding lines that are not in the script. This is ironic, due to the fact that adding lines is one of Robin Williams' most famous qualities.
In the scene where Mrs. Doubtfire is reading a story, the story she is reading is Stuart Little, and the part she reads is from "Chapter 1: The Drain"
Both Matthew Lawrence and Mara Wilson appeared in John Hughes films: Lawrence in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) and Wilson in Miracle on 34th Street (1994).
The San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) bus used for Route 22 (Fillmore) is a real 1989 New Flyer bus built in Canada for the Muni fleet.
Toward the end of the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire receives mail from "Katie in Youngstown, Ohio". Director Chris Columbus is from Youngstown, Ohio.
Lisa Jakub played the daughter of Timothy Dalton in The Beautician and the Beast (1997), and the daughter of a love interest of Pierce Brosnan's in this movie. Both Dalton and Brosnan have played James Bond.
Director Chris Columbus is a big James Bond fan and he was crushed when Pierce Brosnan didn't get cast when he was offered the part during the making of Remington Steele (1982) but they wouldn't release him from his contract. During the making of this film, Columbus told Brosnan he'd make a great James Bond but Brosnan thought that ship had sailed. In 1995, MGM called Columbus telling him they're looking for the new James Bond and Brosnan was one of the choices so Columbus recommended him; his little contribution to the James Bond saga.
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The actor playing the bartender in the pool scene is credited as Dr. Toad but his real name is Robert Williams--the half brother of Robin Williams.
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Robin Williams' line "Kids say the darnedest things" ended up being prophetic, as he later appeared in Jack (1996) with Bill Cosby (eventual host of Kids Say the Darndest Things (1998)).
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Daniel does an impression of Sean Connery as James Bond. Pierce Brosnan would star as Bond in four movies.
Robin Williams and Chris Columbus would often clown around between takes, with Mrs Doubtfire introducing Columbus as her son.
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After Chris Columbus finished Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), he wanted a new project and was sent the script for this film. He was initially critical of it, saying it didn't work for him. He discussed with them why he felt it didn't work.
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Chris Columbus was amazed how far Robin Williams took his performance. First, he played each scene as scripted 2-3 times and then was allowed to improv, or "playing" as Williams called it. Columbus allowed Williams a lot of improv because that was where the film's funniest material came from; in fact, Columbus called it magical at times.
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Scenes were shot between 15-22 times because Robin Williams wasn't satisfied until he had the scene worked out of his system.
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There are several versions of the film because of the sheer amount of material Robin Williams improvised, so it was difficult to edit the film to something resembling the script. Chris Columbus likened it to editing a documentary; these other versions were unworkable tonally because they were all over the place.
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During the restaurant scene when Mrs Doubtfire's teeth fell into the wine glass, the cast didn't know Robin Williams would do that, and their reactions on film were genuine, mirroring the shock of the crew.
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Chris Columbus admitted he never knew where Robin Williams was going to take the character of Mrs Doubtfire next.
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Robin Williams and Pierce Brosnan have both starred in films directed by Roger Donaldson. Williams; Cadillac Man (1990) and Brosnan; Dante's Peak (1997) and The November Man (2014). Sadly Williams committed suicide on 11th August 2014. At the premiere of The November Man, Brosnan and Donaldson paid their respects to Williams.
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The Indian movie Chachi 420 (1997) is considered a remake of this film.
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Chris Columbus had already seen Robin Williams in comedy clubs when he lived in Los Angeles. He was blown away at his energy and called him one of the most brilliant minds he had ever come across in terms of comedy. On stage he was an impressive ball of fire.
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Robin Williams did interviews as Mrs Doubtfire to promote the film, and sometimes played the interviewer too.
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In 1993, Pierce Brosnan was willing to play the small role of Stu. Chris Columbus thought him a phenomenal actor.
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Sally Field went on to play Tom Hanks's mother in Forrest Gump (1994) the following year. Hanks also starred in Philadelphia (1993) the same year this film was released. Robin Williams or Bill Murray - both whom are comedic actors - were considered by director Jonathan Demme for casting as a lawyer called Joe Miller, opposite Hanks - yet another comedic actor - as a lawyer called Andew Beckett. Denzel Washington was cast as Miller instead. Incidentally Howard Shore composed the score for Mrs Doubtfire and Philadelphia.
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When Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) says to his son Chris Hillard (Matthew Lawrence), near the start of the film as follows: Daniel: [to Chris] Hey, dude! Congratulations on your twelfth birthday, all right! Got a surprise for you! Chris: Ooh, a stripper? Daniel: No, please! Chris: Two strippers? Daniel: Hoo hah, boy! The "Hoo hah" was Al Pacino's recurring expression in Scent of a Woman (1992). Williams and Pacino co-starred in Insomnia (2002).
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Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator is mentioned in Jump Around by House of Pain that's playing during the wild birthday party early on in the film. Robert Prosky co-starred with Schwarzenegger in Last Action Hero (1993), released the same year.
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Robin Williams played Joey O'Brien in Cadillac Man (1990). Robert Prosky played Nick in Last Action Hero (1993), released the same year as Mrs Doubtfire. Prosky co-starred with Austin O'Brien - who had the same surname as Wiliams's character - who played Danny Madigan.
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During the scene were Mrs Doubtfire's children are watching her on TV during her new job, she mentions that the next weeks show is going to England and quotes "That's where I come from" but her accent is distinctly Scottish.
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Robin Williams, dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire, says "Carpe dentam. Seize the teeth" while trying to fish his dentures out of his wine. This is a play on his famous line from Dead Poets Society, "Carpe diem. Seize the day."
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The film was produced by Robin Williams then wife, Marsha Garces Williams.
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There are connections to A Perfect World (1993) released the same year. This is to do with the reference to Dances with Wolves (1990) which Kevin Costner directed and starred in. Also in Bridges restaurant Daniel Hillard/Mrs Doubtfire (Robin Williams) says, "I though I saw Clint Eastwood. That would make my day. He is such a stud muffin", in a memorable scene when he/she has a dinner meeting with Mr Lundy (Robert Prosky) and a family occasion to celebrate Miranda Hillard's - his ex wife's/her employer's - birthday at the same time. Costner and Eastwood co-starred in A Perfect World which Eastwood also directed.
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Robin Williams and director Chris Columbus have the same number of letters in their first and last names.
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Lou and Daniel talk about Mohandas K. Gandhi near the start of the film. Mara Wilson and Richard Attenborough appeared together in Miracle on 34th Street (1994). Attenborough directed Gandhi (1982).
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Before voicing Pudgy in this film, Robin Williams voiced the genie in Aladdin and Batty Koda in FernGully: The Last Rainforest; both in 1992 the previous year. Unlike those films, this film is briefly animated not fully animated.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The producers fired the original screenwriter because of an "unhappy" ending, where the parents do not get back together. After several re-writes, with a different, "happy" ending, they realized that the original ending was, in fact, better, because they did not want to create the illusion that divorced parents will eventually get back together. They re-hired the original writer and went back to the original ending.
Mrs. Doubtfire is quietly singing "The Crying Game" as she walks up to Stu's Mercedes (the scene where she pulls the hood decal off). The song is the theme from The Crying Game (1992), a movie that became famous (or notorious, depending on the viewer) for its surprise plot line about a trans-gender woman.
The name of the last housekeeper crossed off the list after a devastating interview was Paula DuPré Pesmen, the name of the associate director.
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When the mail man "Mr Sprinkles" visits Mrs Doubtfire when she has her own show at the end of the movie, he calls her "Mrs Doubtflyer" when handing the mail to her, as a play on the words since he delivers mail and could have delivered a flyer as well.
Polly Holliday appears in this movie as Daniel's next door neighbor Gloria who dislikes him and his methods. She worked with Robin Williams's close friend and comic idol Jonathan Winters in Moon Over Parador (1988) playing his wife directed by Paul Mazursky who also directed Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson (1984). Mazursky and Williams died the very same year of 2014 along with Harold Ramis and Mike Nichols who also worked with Williams on The Birdcage (1996) and Club Paradise (1986). Howard Shore who composed this film composed for Analyze This (1999) 6 years later directed by Harold Ramis.
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Robin Williams and Paul Guilfoyle previously appeared together in Cadillac Man (1990). Guilfoyle played the head chef at Bridges Restaurant. If you look carefully you can spot him when Daniel Hillard/Mrs Doubtfire is in the kitchen to put pepper on Stu Dunmire's (Pierce Brosnan) food, out of spite as he knew full well that Stu was allergic to pepper. It didn't go down well. Literally.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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