In its simplest terms, Mrs. Doubtfire was the story of a man who’s hired to care for the children he shared with his ex-wife after she asks for a divorce. The protagonist, Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) gets fitted for prosthetics and pretends to be an old, female housekeeper to spend time with his children.
It seems like a bit of a roundabout way to attain the goal, but I digress.
Nonetheless, the film is critically acclaimed and revered as William’s best comedic works (Aladdin being a close second). From his improvisations to lip-syncing that Barbara Streisand song, the film has been bringing laughs for many years to the physical comedy. If you think you have seen it enough and are an aficionado, read below to see if you know these little known facts about the Golden Globe-winning 20th Century Fox and Chris Columbus box office hit!
Here are 10 facts you did not know about Mrs. Doubtfire.
1. The film was shot completely in San Francisco. Multiple areas depicted were true to life. The house where Miranda Hillard (played by Sally Field) lived with the kids kept its real address: 2640 Steiner St! The restaurant scene locale Bridges and KTVU were also real locations. The radio station is located in Oakland. The Hollywood set consisted of a 100,000 square foot building in the Richmond District that was a candy warehouse at one point in time.
2. Lisa Jakub (Lydia) was just 14 when she landed the role. When she did, she was attending school in Toronto. However, the school kicked her out for being gone the length of time for the film to be shot (5 months). In an attempt to get her back in the school, Robin Williams wrote the school a letter. Upon receiving it, they refused. Still a cool story, no?
3. There was supposed to be a Mrs. Doubtfire 2! Robin Williams told screenwriter Davin Berenbaum, known for the holiday comedic film Elf, started writing a second film in 2014. However, this idea came to a swift halt when Williams passed. But, not all hope is lost! In 2014, Alan Menken announced that there might be a Broadway musical in the works. It is currently, however, on a “creative hiatus.” But it could still happen!
4. Robin Williams had a childhood nanny! He said that his nanny, named Lolly, and the film’s Euphegenia Doubtfire had much in common. This is probably why he did such a good job of playing one!
5. Remember that famous scene where a social worker surprises Daniel Hillard at his home and ends up with a faceful of cake? Surely, it seemed like it took some quick thinking on the part of the actor. The scene that Hillard accidentally flings his mask into the street actually took more than 50 takes before they got it right!
6. Mrs. Doubtfire was based on a British novel by Anne Fine. A jewelry shop owner inspired the original character with the alias Madame Doubtfire. When picturing a screen depiction, Fine originally wanted Warren Beatty to play the role of Mrs. Doubtfire. This is because he was already considered a womanizer, and she thought that would be fitting. But, we think Robin Williams did it best, even though he used a Scottish accent when the original was supposed to have been British.
6. There were a few famous faces that were almost in the movie! One of which is Blake Lively, who later went on to star in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Gossip Girl. She auditioned for Natalie Hillard’s role (played by Mara Wilson) when she was five years old but didn’t get it. Tim Allen (Tim The Tool Man Taylor from Home Improvement) was offered multiple roles in the film. He was offered the role of Stu ( Pierce Brosnan) and the lead, and he turned them both down!
7. In what may seem strange, ironic, or circular, get a load of this tidbit: In the movie, Robin William gets divorced and plays a nanny. Well, art mimics life. In his real life, he got a divorce, too. While he wasn’t playing a nanny for his own kids, he did end up marrying their nanny.
8. In the scene where Sally field gets that little milk mustache (oh, the 90s) and gets shy in front of Stu, it turns out that wasn’t scripted! It was unintentional. But, it was the perfect little happenstance, and the producers kept it in the final cut!
9. Similar to the film Tootsie, it required a different kind of transformation, getting the star into hair and makeup for the Mrs. Doubtfire costume. The transformation took Williams 4 hours every day! The makeup was so good that not only was he nearly able to fool some local sex shop workers in San Francisco when he showed up in full costume, speaking in his accent and trying to buy a dildo or lube, he also tricked his son. William’s son Zak even had trouble recognizing him when he was in costume. Only when he spoke directory to his son did he realize it was his dad! The makeup artists for the film were even awarded Oscar awards by the end of it!
10. Mara Wilson refused to be in the sequel. The youngster was only 6 years old when she started acting. When the sequel was being written, Williams and the other cast members were on board for a storyline that followed Daddy Doubtfire, trying again to get close to his children, college-aged this time. Mara Wilson (Natalie), however, refused. After Matilda, she took quite some time off of acting.