Robin Williams: Night at the Museum director reveals panicked calls from actor months before his death

Beloved actor and comedian's 'morale was crumbling' on set of final film he worked on

Annabel Nugent@annabelnugent
Thursday 20 August 2020 11:27
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Robin's Wish trailer

Robin Williams was visibly “struggling” on set of the final film he worked on, its director has revealed.

Shawn Levy, who directed 2014 film Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, has opened up about the changes he saw in the beloved actor when they were on set for the third and final instalment of the popular franchise.

It was released months before Williams died by suicide.

“I would say a month into the shoot, it was clear to me – it was clear to all of us on set – that something was going on with Robin,” said Levy.

He continued, “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.”

The director recalled tender moments that he shared with Williams for new documentary Robin’s Wish, which details how the actor was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s before his death.

Robin Williams with his Oscar for ‘Good Will Hunting’ in 1998

“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.’”

A 2018 biography on Williams, written by Dave Itzkoff, corroborates the story that Williams’ deterioration took hold while filming the final Night at the Museum film alongside Ben Stiller, Rebel Wilson and Dan Stevens.

His makeup artist on the film, Cheri Minns, also told The New York Post in 2018 that he would end every day “sobbing in my arms”.

Levy concluded in the clip shared by Entertainment Tonight: ”My faith in him never left, but I saw his morale crumbling. I saw a guy that wasn’t himself and that was unforgivable.”

The film, made in collaboration with Williams’ widow Susan Schneider Williams, will document the iconic actor’s fight against the neurodegenerative disorder Lewy Body Dementia, which he was struggling with before his death.

In the new documentary, his widow tells filmmaker Tyler Norwood: “My husband had unknowingly been battling a deadly disease. Nearly every region of his brain was under attack – he experienced himself disintegrating.”

Williams starred in classic films such as Dead Poets Society, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam and Disney’s Aladdin. He won an Oscar for his supporting role as a psychologist in the 1997 drama Good Will Hunting.

Robin’s Wish will be available to stream on demand and digital on 1 September.

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