9 Film Roles That Should Have Gone to Robin Williams


Following the sad passing of Robin Williams I, like many others, have been thinking about his best performances and how it is hard to see anyone else other than him playing them. This also got me thinking about other parts that he’d have been perfect for so here, in a slightly different type of tribute, is my list of nine other roles I think he’d have nailed:

The Riddler in Batman

This is the obvious one and a part that Williams was mooted for for some years. Clearly the role eventually went to the suitably willowy Jim Carrey, who did a good job, but this has to go down as one of the greatest missed opportunities in one hundred years of Hollywood casting. Just imagine the complexity he’d have brought to the character. Obviously he’d have been great as the manic, giggly, prancing around the room stuff but he could have been amazing as the villain’s alias Edward Nigma too. So many of Williams’ roles were defined by that dichotomy of serious and funny and this could have been his perfect Jekyll & Hyde.

Mr. Chairman in Looney Toons Back in Action

Frankly it was painful watching Steve Martin gurn his way through this film, trying hard to be as animated and zany as the cartoon characters that surrounded him. I mean, for goodness sake, what human being could possible match Daffy Duck and the Tasmanian Devil when it comes to physical comedy? I’ll tell you who.

Dr. Erik Selvig in Thor, Avengers and Thor: The Dark World

Williams’ Good Will Hunting co-star Stellan Skarsgård was fine as Erik Selvig in his first two appearances but after Loki had played with his brain he started to go a little crazy. If you wanted someone to start out all brainy and serious before going nuts and forgetting his trousers then Robin Williams was your guy.

The Impressive Clergyman in the Princess Bride

I just would have loved to have seen Robin Williams in The Princess Bride. I thought about giving him the part of Miracle Max but I couldn’t do that to Billy Crystal. Williams would have made a pretty good Count Rogan too and he’d have nailed the Grandfather, but for the fact that he’d have been 36 at the time. In the end though I decided to give him Peter Cook’s part. Admit it, that little cameo would have been excellent.

Peeves in the Harry Potter films

Okay, I know most of the cast of the Harry Potter films were British and doesn’t that just make us proud but lets get over ourselves for a minute. Rik Mayall was cast as Peeves the mischievous poltergeist in the first film and then cut out, never to rematerialise. Clearly we’d all have loved to have seen what that looked like but imagine Robin Williams in the role. Insomnia and One Hour Photo proved that he could be genuinely creepy as well as bouncy and that could have worked really well for J.K Rowling’s ghostly gamester. It would have been nice to see him play opposite John Cleese as well. Morky Python

Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies

That sinister side of Robin Williams could have worked really well in this film too. I like Jonathan Pryce but he was a fairly lacklustre bad guy. He just seemed like his mind was elsewhere and he kept breathing in an odd manner, like he was trying to keep down a bug he’d swallowed. Wouldn’t Williams have been a great Bond villain? He’d have had the flamboyance of Goldfinger combined with the unhinged menace of Max Zorin and the comedy accent of Valentin Zukovsky.

Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings

Okay, stick with me on this one. Ian Holm was great as the elder Bilbo but did he genuinely own the part? I’m not sure he did. The idea of Williams in the role looks, at first, like distracting stunt casting but he could do old and pensive with the weight of experience evidently pressing on his shoulders. Just think of his bearded roles in Awakenings and Good Will Hunting. The moment in the first film when Bilbo goes evil schitzo over the ring after seeing it in Rivendell was a bit of a throw away moment but it wouldn’t have been in Robin Williams had done it.

Scott Calvin/Santa Claus in The Santa Clause

Tim Allen was okay as the wise cracking divorced father (just as Robin Williams was in Mrs Doubtfire) but he made a terrible Father Christmas. Robin Williams would have been a great Father Christmas.

The Cat in the Hat

Robin Williams sensibilities would have been perfect for Dr Seuss. I thought about putting Robin Williams forward for The Grinch but I’ve already stripped Jim Carrey of one part. Having also considered Williams as Shrek, I ultimately settled on bumping Mike Myers from The Cat in the Hat. Austin Powers just never seemed right in that part, he didn’t seem to be able to relax in to it. It was like his mansized cat costume was zipped up too tight. Robin Williams would undoubtedly have done a better job and would would definitely have had lots of good fun that was funny. He could have mocapped for Thing 1 and Thing 2 as well. It would have been bonkers.

Missed opportunities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s