One of Robin Williams’ many attributes was his ability to defy expectations, as he deftly mixed in comedy and drama throughout his career. With the 1996 hit film The Birdcage, Williams was initially offered the showier part of Albert Goldman, a role which Nathan Lane knocked out of the park. Williams decided to play Armand Goldman, a part which was much more conservative and buttoned down.
During the interviews for that film, Williams was inspired by the dry humor of Mike Nichols (who directed The Birdcage) and the peerless writing of Elaine May. “Elaine wrote this script that was so precise,” said Williams. “It’s like espresso – it’s the essence. Mike said, just give (the script a chance) because she’s worked hard on every word and she knows that they have a weight and a depth. It”s timed out. It’s like a piece of music.”
Click on the media bar to hear Robin Williams reflect on his career and why there was a “double drive” when it came to his acting journey.
To listen to more interviews from The Birdcage, check out the latest episode of Matt and Greg Used To Interview Movie Stars.