Robin Williams may have been trying out the serious acting route on Good Will Hunting, but that doesn't mean he strayed from his comedic roots on set

By Ale Russian
July 16, 2018 10:59 AM
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Robin Williams may have been trying out the serious acting route on Good Will Hunting, but that doesn’t mean he strayed from his comedic roots on set.

Director Gus Van Sant remembers the late comedian in a new interview for The Daily Beast where he admits Williams was a little more serious on set than he expected him to be while filming.

“I think when I met him, during that period he was very serious,” Van Sant recalls. “Even when I cracked a little joke, it wasn’t really recognized and he didn’t follow it up with a joke. He didn’t say anything which was funny. And I assumed that was because he was being serious, like a serious actor. For him, comedy was almost like a whole obsessional world in itself, so it was either full-on make the person die laughing, or just have no comment there.”

Good Will Hunting - 1997
Robin Williams and Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting
| Credit: George Kraychyk/Miramax/Koba/REX/Shutterstock

But the director says it was a whole different story when it came to Damon and members of the crew between takes.

“He never tried to make me laugh, but he would try and make Matt laugh,” he says. “And the crew was like a little audience that he had all the time, so he would sometimes just start doing stand-up in front of them, and he wouldn’t stop until I’d say, ‘You have to start working again.’ And then he was like, ‘Oh yeah, alright, boss.’ ”

The actor won an Oscar for his performance in the movie. Damon won for Best Original Screenplay with cowriter Ben Affleck.

Williams died by suicide in August 2014 after suffering from Lewy Body Dementia, a type of brain disease that affected his thinking, memory and movement control. It’s the second-most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.