Are there alternate versions of the beloved “Mrs. Doubtfire” out in the universe?
The movie’s director, Chris Columbus, set the record straight after a viral tweet this week teased that there were various cuts of the film.
“While filming 'Mrs. Doubtfire' (1993), Robin Williams improvised so much that there were PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 cuts of the film,” the original tweet read, referencing a 2015 interview of Columbus with Yahoo Movies where the director lauded the late Robin Williams for his improv, joking that they ended up with four different cuts with various ratings, including NC-17.
Then, one of the film's stars seemingly confirmed it as well, by doubling down with her own memories on the matter.
"People are asking if it’s true," Lisa Jakub, who portrayed Williams’ daughter Lydia Hillard, said on Twitter. "Yes, with each scene, Robin would always say 'OK! Now let’s do a blue version!' But I doubt there are actually four different complete versions. Seems like a lot of work that no one would see. But what do I know? I was just Lydia, not an editor."
Well, Columbus opened up to Entertainment Weekly on Friday and revealed that there is no NC-17-rated version of “Mrs. Doubtfire,” but confirmed that there were three different versions of the film.
"The reality is that there was a deal between Robin and myself, which was, he'll do one or two, three scripted takes,” Columbus explained. “And then he would say, 'Then let me play.' And we would basically go on anywhere between 15 to 22 takes, I think 22 being the most I remember.”
Columbus said that Williams came up with various new versions of lines each take, adding, "He would sometimes go into territory that wouldn't be appropriate for a PG-13 movie, but certainly appropriate and hilariously funny for an R-rated film.”
“I only (previously) used the phrase NC-17 as a joke,” he said. “There could be no NC-17 version of the movie.”
Whether or not those versions will ever be seen by viewers is up in the air for Columbus.
"I would be open to maybe doing a documentary about the making of the film, and enabling people to see certain scenes re-edited in an R-rated version," Columbus said. "The problem is, I don't recall most of it. I only know what's in the movie at this point because it's been a long time. But I do remember it was outrageously funny material."
In 2018, the cast of the cult classic reunited for the movie’s 25th anniversary on TODAY to celebrate its silver anniversary and reflect on what made the movie so special.
Mara Wilson, who portrayed Natalie "Nattie" Hillard, Williams’ other daughter in the film, talked about his improvisation skills on set.
"It'd be like, 'OK, take 25!'" Wilson said. "And Robin would be different every time."
Jakub opened up about her experience working with the beloved late actor during an interview with TODAY ahead of the release of her book, “You Look Like That Girl: A Child Actor Stops Pretending and Finally Grows Up.”
She told TODAY that Williams helped the young actor sharpen up her improv skills on set, which set her up for success later in life outside of the industry. She explained that she would show up to set with her lines perfectly memorized but “Robin would go off onto one of his brilliant tangents and I would stand there looking panicked.”
"I learned pretty quickly that wasn't going to work and I needed to go with the flow and not just wait for my turn to talk,” she said. “Those things are helpful for an actor and in real life — you can assume you know exactly how it's always going to go, and you find that's not what always happens."