There was a lot of chatter recently about explicit versions of the family movie Mrs. Doubtfire starring Robin Williams, and now the director has weighed in to set the record straight. Chris Columbus told EW that an R-rated edition exists due to Williams’ ad-libbing, but not an NC-17 version.
Columbus said Williams tried out different lines across numerous takes–up to 22 for one scene–and some of these contained more adult language and scenarios.
“The reality is that there was a deal between Robin and myself, which was, he’ll do one or two, three scripted takes. And then he would say, ‘Then let me play.’ And we would basically go on anywhere between 15 to 22 takes, I think 22 being the most I remember,” the director said.
Mrs. Doubtfire ended up receiving a PG-13 rating. This all came up again as people re-discovered an old interview from Columbus where he referenced an NC-17 rating. There is no such cut of the movie at NC-17, though there is an R-rated cut.
While filming ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993), Robin Williams improvised so much that there were PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 cuts of the film pic.twitter.com/vjYUCmyrj2
— Film Facts 🎬 (@factsonfiIm) March 18, 2021
“[Williams] would sometimes go into territory that wouldn’t be appropriate for a PG-13 movie, but certainly appropriate and hilariously funny for an R-rated film. I only [previously] used the phrase NC-17 as a joke. There could be no NC-17 version of the movie,” he said.
Due to Williams’ numerous takes, there are “three or four” versions of the finished film, and Columbus said these scenes may be released one day in a documentary.
“I would be open to maybe doing a documentary about the making of the film, and enabling people to see certain scenes re-edited in an R-rated version,” Columbus said. “The problem is, I don’t recall most of it. I only know what’s in the movie at this point because it’s been a long time. But I do remember it was outrageously funny material.”
Mrs. Doubtfire released in 1993. The story follows Williams’ character dressing up like a housekeeper so he can be with his children during a divorce. The film also stars Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan.