Harvey Weinstein Remembers Robin Williams’ Prank On The ‘Good Will Hunting’ Set

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a celebrity’s death take over almost the entire news cycle the way Robin Williams’ has, maybe since Michael Jackson. There’s a lot of shitty, soulless garbage out there (*cough* NEW YORK DAILY NEWS! *cough, cough*), but I thought this story Harvey Weinstein told (while promoting The Giver on CBS This Morning) about Williams on the set of Good Will Hunting, the movie for which he won a best supporting actor Oscar in 1998, was a nice one:

[Weinstein] on to recount a time on the set of Good Will Hunting with Gus Van Zandt and a naive Stellan Skarsgard. “He played the opposite professor to Robin Williams — it was, like, his first role, he had just gotten off the boat from Sweden, he’s a very famous actor there, [but] never did an American movie,” Weinstein explained of Skarsgard at the time. “And Robin says to Gus and me, ‘Let’s welcome him to America. I’m going to change the script, and Gus, you tell him it’s all about improvisation.’

“So here’s this scene about mathematic formulas, and Robin comes out and goes, ‘Jack Nicholson,’ and then he does Jack Nicholson. And then Gus, he’s pointing to Stellan, and he’s in a state of shock like a deer, and then he does Jack and he does Bob De Niro doing the scene, and he’s, like, doing 15 things, and the crew is totally straight-faced while Gus is shooting. And then Stellan starts to ad lib this Swedish gibberish, because he’s so lost in the scene. And then when Gus yells, ‘Cut,’ 180 members of the crew exploded with laughter, and Stellan looked around and goes, ‘What happened to me?’ And Robin told him what was going on. Every day was like that with him.”

He added of highly improvised takes with Williams, “We’d say, one for Robin, one for us, where he’d do the script. But inevitably, there was always something that he added to that film, right on the spot. Just a brilliant mind at work. [THR]

People always invoke deer to illustrate shock, but are deer really so shocked all the time? What evidence do we have for this? I have to wonder if they’re just victims of resting shocked face. Also, as my colleague Katey Rich pointed out, is there a movie as good as Good Will Hunting with a worse title? Tyler Perry could’ve named that thing.

I know, I’m using joke digressions to deflect the obvious. We’ll miss you, Robin Williams.