Go Behind The Seams of 'Mrs. Doubtfire'

Matthew Lawrence, from left, Lisa Jakub, Robin Williams (
Matthew Lawrence, from left, Lisa Jakub, Robin Williams ("Mrs. Doubtfire"), Mara Wilson and Sally Field. (Fox Home Entertainment)
By Curt Fields
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 29, 2008

Though the movie has been out for 15 years, whenever "Mrs. Doubtfire" airs on television it usually attracts a sizable audience. Sometimes that audience even includes its director, Chris Columbus.

In one of the many extras on "Mrs. Doubtfire: Behind-the-Seams Edition" (PG-13, available Tuesday, $19.98), Columbus confesses that it's one of the few films he has made that he'll watch when he comes across it on TV.

You're probably familiar with the story. When Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) and wife Miranda (Sally Field) get divorced, she gets custody of the kids. Daniel wants more time with them than weekend visitation allows, so when he learns Miranda needs a housekeeper, he comes up with a desperate plan. He applies for the job disguised as Mrs. Doubtfire. (His makeup-artist brother, Frank, nicely played by Harvey Fierstein, helps create the illusion.)

Williams won a Golden Globe for his performance. He also picked up an American Comedy Award and an MTV Movie Award. The film also won a Golden Globe as well as a People's Choice Award for favorite comedy and an Academy Award for Best Makeup.

Extras on the DVD set include a new interview with Williams; deleted scenes; informative short features, including "From Man to Mrs.: The Evolution of Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Aging Gracefully: A Look Back at Mrs. Doubtfire"; a conversation with well-known animator Chuck Jones (he designed the film's credit sequences); and early makeup tests.

Also included are alternate takes exploring Williams's improvisation in the film. Columbus said that he usually shot one or two scripted takes for a scene and then shot several more of Williams improvising. He used multiple cameras at all times to ensure that he captured the initial reactions of the cast when Williams surprised them.

The set also includes a coupon good for one free admission (up to $7.50) to "Horton Hears a Who!," a Dr. Seuss movie featuring the voices of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, scheduled to be released March 14.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company