The Birdcage (1996) is a comedy film directed by Mike Nichols, and stars Robin Williams. It is a remake of the 1978 film La Cage aux Folles, by Jean Poiret and Francis Veber starring Michel Serrault and Ugo Tognazzi.
Val Goldman and Barbara Keeley are engaged to be married, and have decided to have their families meet. Val's father, Armand Goldman, owns The Birdcage, a South Beach gay club, with his lover Albert, who appears regularly as "Starina," the show's star drag queen. Barbara's father, however, is ultraconservative Republican Ohio Senator Kevin Keeley, co-founder of the right-wing "Coalition For Moral Order" and up for re-election this year. Fearing their reaction if they learn the truth about Val's parents, Barbara tells her parents that Armand is a cultural attaché to Greece, that Albert is both a woman and a housewife, and that they divide their time between Greece and Florida; she also changes the family's last name from Goldman to Coleman to hide their Jewish background. After much persuasion, Val eventually convinces Armand to go along with the farce. The Keeley family head to South Beach for dinner and the charade begins.
Jean Poiret (play)
Elaine May (screenplay)
Robin Williams … Armand Goldman
Gene Hackman … Sen. Kevin Keeley
Nathan Lane … Albert Goldman
Dianne Wiest … Louise Keeley
Dan Futterman … Val Goldman
Calista Flockhart … Barbara Keeley
Hank Azaria … Agador
Christine Baranski … Katherine Archer
Tom McGowan … Harry Radman
- The original working title of the film was "Birds of a Feather" and the first drafts of the script still bear this title.
- Robin Williams was originally cast as Albert, but he wanted a change from flamboyant characters, and asked to be cast as Armand. Mike Nichols agreed, and re-cast him.
- Mike Nichols required that Nathan Lane and Robin Williams filmed at least one good take of each scene sticking to the script before he would allow them to improvise (something both of the two actors are known for).