“Now that I’m playing villains, I guess not as people will be asking me for autographs,” says Williams who in just a year has transformed his comic image into that of a darker, more complex actor with edgy, villainous roles in such films as Death to Smoochy, Insomnia and One Hour Photo. Robin Williams isn’t a nice guy anymore; he’s a bad guy, and he wants everyone to know it.
“I guess some critics thought ‘Patch Adams’ was a horror movie,” jokes Williams who has actually played darker roles before, most notably his Academy Award winning turn in “Good Will Hunting, not to mention his serious, thoughtful portrayals in “Awakenings” and Jakob the Liar. Genre fans will also recall Williams’ dark cameo as a disgraced analyst turned meat cutter who offers Kenneth Branagh sinister advice on killing his girlfriend in the 1991 noir thriller “Dead Again.” Departing from his trademark comedic image is one thing but playing a serial killer in Insomnia, a deranged photo developer in One Hour Photo, a sleazy children’s television host in Death to Smoochy? Williams explains that playing darker characters was just a case of challenging himself as an actor. “I’ve been looking for challenges, roles that really turned me on,” says Williams. “Too many of my movies were similar; you have to exercise as an actor or you go flabby. With Death to Smoochy it was kind of a nasty satirical character, which I loved. Very Bob Fosse. Then in One Hour Photo, I got to be quiet and dark. Then when Insomnia came along, it was Chris Nolan and Al Pacino and I just couldn’t pass up working with those two. Playing villains wasn’t a conscious thing on my part; these guys are great filmmaker’s period.”
Get the rest of the interview in part two of ROBIN WILLIAMS: MR. INSOMNIA>>>