ONE HOUR PHOTO
Movie Interview by Kris Griffiths
PHASE9 attends a press conference at London's Dorchester Hotel where Robin Williams discusses Scotland, stalkers and the House of Commons.
After INSOMNIA, DEATH OF SMOOCHY and now ONE HOUR PHOTO, you are in the middle of what some people may consider to be your dark period. What's going on?
It is a dark period and it is me doing these dark movies but did I consciously choose to do dark roles? No. They came in a kind of weird synchronicity. They were so good and so strange that I had to do them. I know they're not stuff I normally get offered but it's great. After seeing MEMENTO, when there was a chance to work with Chris Nolan I was like, "I'm in!" When I read this script I thought it was so strange that I had to do it. But it's been great to have the privilege to play these types of characters because you're no longer bound by the laws of likeability. Even in INSOMNIA people thought, "oh, he wouldn't do anything awful and even if he did it wouldn't be that bad". Then they realised he was a prick and an evil bastard so I think it helped the movie because it sort of confused people. It's all been great.
In your last three films have you behaved differently with the other actors in between takes?
I dress up for them. Al Pacino, he had strange desires so I wore nipple clips. But really, I would mess around in between takes just to help things along because if you stayed method all the time you can drive people crazy. If you start saying "call me by my character's name" it's oh-oh, just like stalking your PA on her way home.
We saw you quite recently in Scotland as a guest at Billy Connelly's 60th birthday party. How was it and have you read his wife's biography of him?
It was great being at his party and dressing the haggis. I haven't read the book yet but it must be great having a psychiatrist for a wife, and a sex therapist too, which would add a lot more fun. If anyone could write about him it would be her, not only from her deep personal knowledge, but the idea of writing about him from that perspective... it started off as a doctoral thesis actually and she kept it going which is great. I've got to check it out. To have someone that funny write about you would be great. There's a Peter Sellers biography out at the moment, which was written by an unfunny man, which is kind of like having Ray Charles as an art critic.
Have you not thought of working with Billy Connelly?
I'd love to. We've just got to find something together. I will find something along the line though.
Speaking of Billy's 60th, you celebrated your 50th this year. How was it?
Turning 50 last year was great and turning 51 this year was even better. To celebrate I took all my friends to a private Caribbean island and played 'Survivor'.
How do you feel when you read some of the bad reviews that have been written about you and your movies?
It got to a point where I'd be reading a review of a completely different movie and they'd attack me again. One woman had written, "the people who made this movie should all be put on an island with the people that made PATCH ADAMS and then drowned with Robin Williams," and I'm like "oh lady, come on, it wasn't even my movie, you don't have to beat me up again!" With PATCH ADAMS, some of the reviewers must have had a bad experience with a clown. But it's nice with my recent films because they're so different. They've changed people's perceptions.
What are your thoughts on Anglo-American relations at the moment?
Well as far as Iraq is concerned you are the only people hanging with us at the moment, God bless you. There's Tony saying "I stand by my somewhat damaged friend in these troubled times," and there's Bush saying, "I can't even spell some of the words he's saying". It's great over here because you have live feeds from the House of Commons and you heckle which is wonderful. When you look at Congress in America it's like THE SIXTH SENSE - "I see dead people".
Have you ever had a stalker?
Yeah, there was a schizophrenic woman that turned up at the gates of my ranch nude. A lot of people show up at the house but most of the time it's letters with warning signs like, "if you and I were together we'd have wonderful strange hairy children". I get a lot of letters from prisoners like, "Dear Mr Williams, I think you are the funniest man alive. I have written a story about my life and I want you to play me. If you're not interested in it, please pass this letter on to Eddie Murphy". I get so many scripts. Then there are just complete crazies turning up saying stuff like, "tell Robin the unicorn's in the park so come and meet me outside". And there are always people waving at the surveillance cameras and then ducking out of frame. We've had many strange people turning up over the years but it's a given with celebrity. People associate with you. You've spoken to them and no one else. That's when it gets strange.