Rami Malek Recalls Emotional Moment with Robin Williams While Filming Night at the Museum
Rami Malek will always remember a humbling, live-in-the-moment lesson he unexpectedly learned from Robin Williams while filming what would become the late actor's final live-action movie before his death.
Malek, 39, opened up on The Tonight Show Wednesday about the touching moment between himself and Williams as they were filming Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the third and final film in the Night at the Museum franchise, after Williams noticed cast and crew were distracted by technology in a way he didn't quite connect with.
"We're shooting at the British Museum at night and we have the place all to ourselves," began The Little Things star, 39. "And Robin — you could tell something was happening with him. He would go on these riffs every once in a while and light up the world and you'd be like, 'Oh my God. Who are you?' And then dip back down into this other place."
According to Malek, Williams would "see us all on our phones and devices and he'd be like, 'What happened to [face-to-face communication]?' "
"And so I see him veer off and he walks off alone, and he's just kind of staring at this massive rock in the British Museum. And I'm like, 'Oh, man. What's going on with him? Is he all right?' " the Oscar winner continued.
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He soon realized Williams was reflecting on how far communication has come, and taking advantage of an opportunity to be in the presence of one of the most important relics in human history to appreciate the moment.
"I walk up to kind of say, 'Is everything okay?' And he looks at me, just kind of slightly over the shoulder, and he goes, 'How often do you get to be alone with the Rosetta Stone?' " Malek explained.
"That's the best story I've ever heard in my life," host Jimmy Fallon told him, joking in addition, "And you were like, 'Apparently not enough because I just interrupted you.' "
Williams' final film was the third Museum installment, in which he reprised his role of President Theodore Roosevelt. Filming wrapped in May 2014, three months before Williams died by suicide that August at age 63.
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In Robin's Wish, a recent documentary focused on the final months of Williams' life, Secret of the Tomb director Shawn Levy says Williams was having a hard time on set. The actor had been struggling with diffuse Lewy body dementia (LBD) for months, which causes fluctuations in mental status, hallucinations and impairment of motor function.
"I would say a month into the shoot, it was clear to me — it was clear to all of us on that set — that something was going on with Robin," Levy said in a clip from the documentary shared by Entertainment Tonight. "We saw that Robin was struggling in a way that he hadn't before to remember lines and to combine the right words with the performance."
"When Robin would call me at 10 at night, at two in the morning, at four in the morning, saying, 'Is it usable? Is any of this usable? Do I suck? What's going on?,' I would reassure him. I said, 'You are still you. I know it. The world knows it. You just need to remember that,' " the director added.
"My faith in him never left, but I saw his morale crumbling," Levy said. "I saw a guy who wasn't himself and that was unforgivable."