Mrs. Doubtfire was the quintessential 90s-kid movie memory and still holds up as a classic to this day. Between the hilarious run-by-fruiting scene and Robin Williams’ non-stop silly antics playing an old woman, there’s no shortage of comedy in this heartfelt film.
Here are 14 facts you might not know about Mrs. Doubtfire.
Icing on the Cake
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is when Mrs. Doubtfire frantically smashes her face in a cake to disguise herself. The icing drips into Mrs. Sellner’s tea and she says, “There you go, you’ve got your cream and your sugar now.” This hilarious detail was actually completely unintentional. Because it was so hot on set, the icing dripped from Robin Williams’ chin and he just improvised from there.
Whose Line is it Anyway?
Originally in line to play the youngest child, Natalie, was none other than actress Blake Lively—who apparently bombed her audition. According to Lively, she had just seen a Robin Williams movie the night before her audition and so in an attempt to ease her nerves her mother told her that she would be reading with Robin’s twin brother, not Robin. When she met him, the producers referred to him as Robin and the jig was up. It was down to two potential options and ultimately Mara Wilson got the part.
Unhappily Ever After
The scriptwriter who split Daniel and Miranda up at the end of the movie was fired because the studio thought the couple should have stayed together. Another writer was brought on board to pen the reunion, but in the end the Hillards’ parting of ways sadly made the most sense. The first scriptwriter was rehired and they went with the original plan after all.
Comedy = Makeup + Time
Women aren’t kidding when they say that beauty is pain, and Mrs. Doubtfire got the whole package from head to toe. To achieve the full nanny-in-drag look, Williams spent 4 ½ hours in the makeup chair every day while filming the movie. Yikes.
A Little Goes a Long Way
The movie was made with a budget of $25 million but made some serious coin at the box office. It raked in nearly $440 million.
The OG Mrs. Doubtfire
Books turned to movies is a common Hollywood theme, and interestingly enough, Mrs. Doubtfire was no exception. Based on a British novel by Anne Fine, the concept of Mrs. Doubtfire was allegedly inspired by a jewelry shop owner the author knew who went by “Madame Doubtfire.”
After the passing of Robin Williams, fans visited the San Francisco home where Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed and left flowers on the front stoop.
Testing the Goods
To make sure his costume was believable, Robin Williams popped into a sex shop dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire and actually tried to buy a dildo and scented lubricant. The store clerk eventually recognized Robin and kicked him out of the store, but he was able to purchase the lube before his departure.
Life Imitating Art
Those argument scenes between Miranda and Daniel may have hit a little too close to home. At the time of filming, Sally Field was actually going through a divorce herself with producer Alan Greisman. Nothing like a leading role in a movie to help you cope with a bitter breakup.
Similar to Field’s real-life experience, Williams later went through a divorce as well. While he played a nanny in the movie, he ended up leaving his wife for the nanny.
A Star is Born
Mrs. Doubtfire marked Mara Wilson’s acting debut at the tender age of 6. The child actress went on to play several other roles including the leading role in Matilda before going on a 12-year acting hiatus.
Robin Williams was said to be a clown both on and off stage, and masterful with quick wit. That meant that making movies with him was always a circus. Multiple ratings of the film were included in the edits because of Williams’ tendency to improvise. Director Chris Columbus said that Williams went off script so much that there were PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 edits, though it was released as PG-13. An R-rated Mrs. Doubtfire would certainly make for a very different movie
The roles of Daniel Hillard and Stu Dunmeyer were initially offered to actor Tim Allen, but he turned them down. It was probably for the best anyway—the following year Allen played Santa in The Santa Clause. Dressing up as an old man and an old woman back to back might have raised a few questions!
One of the most famously hilarious scenes in the movie is when Mrs. Doubtfire’s dentures fall into her wineglass and she has to fish them out. She utters the phrase, “Carpe Dentum…seize the teeth.” This was a reference to Robin Williams’ line in Dead Poets Society in which he says, “Carpe Diem…seize the day” to his students. Williams was known for quoting lines from his other movies throughout filming.
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