Robin Williams completely improvised one of the funniest moments in 'Good Will Hunting'
Robin Williams was one of those rare talents that seemed just as capable in dramatic and comedic roles. Beginning his career with stand-up comedy in the 70s (breaking several comedy show records, with tickets selling out in minutes), he eventually moved on to roles on TV sitcoms like Mork and Mindy, and then made the transition into film.
His first major appearance at the movies was in the live-action Popeye movie, as well as numerous other smaller roles. Then came Good Morning, Vietnam in 1987 - which proved to the world that he could handle his drama just as well as his heavily-improvised comedy.
By time 1997's Good Will Hunting came around, he'd already won the hearts of millions with his appearances in Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji - but for many, this performance is one of his most memorable.
The movie was showered with awards that year, with nine nominations and two wins at the Academy Awards. One of these went to Ben Affleck and Matt Damon for Best Original Screenplay, and the other rightly went to Robin Williams for Best Supporting Actor. He beat out some serious competition, with Anthony Hopkins, Robert Forster, Greg Kinnear and Burt Reynolds also in the running - but when you see the finished product, you can understand why.
While it's Damon that gets the spotlight in the film, pretty much all the best moments come from his conversations with Dr. Sean Maguire, played by Williams. Not only does he absolutely nail some intensely emotional scenes, but he manages to inject some much-needed humour into his scenes to balance it all out.
One of the highlights of the movie (if not the best scene) is when Sean talks to Will about the perfection we often search for in our partners. This is when Sean explains that it's these "imperfections" that make us who we are, and form incredible bonds with each other.
So, he launches into an anecdote about his wife, describing how she used to fart in her sleep so loud it woke the dog up. The story leads to both men hysterically laughing.
However, it turns out that this scene was improvised by Williams. In the original script, Sean shares a story about how his wife would turn off the alarm clock in the night, making him late for work. After he finishes this story, the script reads "Will smiles, Sean takes a beat" - but things ended up far different in the finished version.
The uncontrollable laughter from Damon isn't scripted, but a genuine response to the improvised line. In fact, there are some out there that believe that at the one-minute mark you can see the camera shake a little - attributing this to the cameraman barely restraining his own laughter at the surprise line.
This is just one more example of what a talent that Williams was during his lifetime, bringing that extra level of care to his performances that made them so special.