Robin Williams Is the Greatest!
The Oscar-winning star talks about his new film, World's Greatest Dad, and resuming his Weapons of Self-Destruction comedy tour.
Williams' new film, World's Greatest Dad, written and directed by fellow comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, shows both sides of his persona. It's a twisted and amusing dark comedy about a high school poetry teacher who finds his life blossoming after his son's accidental suicide. "People ask me, 'Why did you do this movie?" says Williams. "It's because I thought it was really interesting. Of course, a lot of times it's been for the other reason: to make a lot of money!"
The scene in which Williams' character, Lance Clayton, finds his son's body is a literal shock to the system for the audience -- and it wasn't easy for the actor either. "I think I had the closest thing to a nervous breakdown on film," he says. "But it was comfortable, because I was with a friend I could trust. If you feel comfortable that's how you make interesting work." While the film often rides the line of absurdity, reality is where Williams found the inspiration for that pivotal scene. "I've been watching a lot of documentaries," he explains. "And you realize that some of the most powerful responses are non-verbal and so silent and so painful."
The actor knows about pain: in early March, Williams suddenly postponed upcoming performances of his touring one-man show, Weapons of Self-Destruction in order to undergo heart surgery. Williams' stand-up routines are distinctively high-energy -- it's like watching a comedy rocket ricochet across the stage -- and the star was definitely feeling the drain. "Just before I had the surgery, I was starting to feel run-down," he admits. "I'd finish a show, come off stage, and go 'when's my next day off?' That's not a good sign."