- Posted August 14, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Movie Extra Tells of Night with Robin Williams
Robin Williams, under the direction of Bobcat Goldthwait, shot "World's Greatest Dad" in my hometown, Seattle, in 2008. At the time I was working as a movie set extra for Foreground/Background, a local talent agency.
I was not only hired for the gig -- extra in a restaurant scene -- but had the wild good fortune of being placed right next to Williams as he romanced his co-star Alexie Gilmore.
The scene took place in Wallingford, a middle class neighborhood in Seattle at about 3PM. I remember reporting to the cast pen with my head shot and particulars, including a wardrobe change. The casting director's assistant decided I should wear a pink suit and my make up was toned down for the shoot. After trading movie set war stories with the other foreground actors on a particularly hot summer evening, 30 of us were called to march single file from about a block away into the restaurant. I was giddy!
Somehow I landed first in line as we were counted off for restaurant seating -- and directed to a particular table in the restaurant. My new BFF - Stephanie - pinched me and nodded her head toward the next table. We had been instructed to not stare, ask for autographs, or otherwise engage Williams -- a subtle nod was all it took . . .
Robin Williams' DOUBLE was seated NEXT to us! Which meant that Robin Williams would be sitting next to us! OMG!
Our part was to walk across the restaurant toward our table as two little siblings whose parents were seated at another table, fought and made a scene to which Goldthwait would "let" Williams ad lib about what little monsters they were. "Let" is the operative word here because Williams stole the whole evening -- much to Goldthwait's seeming delight.
On the 9 hour shoot there were several pages of dialogue between Williams and Gilmore that had to do with Williams making cracks about what was going on in the restaurant, they shot the "panty picture" scene, and Williams' flirting so much with Gilmore and making lewd night club act comments (in his typical schtick format) -- most of what was actually shot was scrapped in the final edits.
"Quiet on the set!" was a joke as Williams' called out one-liners one after another the entire evening during the otherwise silent sound checks.
Ultimately Williams needed a "break" and decided to work the crowd gathering outside the restaurant and THAT was another whole nightclub act for the cast and director Goldthwait to sit through. Williams delighted the folks outside by ventriliquist talking to a little purse-sized dog that someone in the neighborhood had been walking when they discovered that a movie was being shot in their neighborhood.
When Williams tried to end his street performance the crowd rushed the restaurant and police had to be called because it turned into a mob. They were banging on the windows to get him to come back out to the street. There was fear that the plate glass would shatter.
Williams double cried out, "Oh no! Why does he always have to do this?" After the police came things settled back down and the filming continued until about 11:30PM when a limousine came to the back door of the restaurant to pick Williams up.
The more interesting part was that Goldthwait didn't seem to mind the manic intrusions to his directing -- at all -- he rather seemed to enjoy letting Robin be Robin.
*In the attached photo, I am the blonde being seated at the table next to Williams'.