Every so often, a film will resonate with audiences throughout the decades, proving its staying power. Mrs. Doubtfire is one such movie, with the classic comedy now approaching its 25th anniversary in the fall of 2018. However, ahead of that special date, Pierce Brosnan revealed an emotional surprise.
On November 24, 1993, 20th Century Fox released Mrs. Doubtfire in theaters across America. A touching comedy about the fallout of a bitter divorce, Chris Columbus’ movie proved a big domestic hit, grossing over $219 million on an estimated $25 million budget. Worldwide, the film brought in more than $441 million.
While that incredible success can be attributed to several different factors, its star was arguably the biggest draw for audiences. In a career full of great performances, Robin Williams’ portrayal of divorcee Daniel Hillard and his alter-ego Mrs. Doubtfire is one of his most memorable. Both funny and heartbreaking, his role has continued to stand the test of time.
However, Williams wasn’t alone on that front, as the likes of Sally Field and Brosnan also produced excellent performances in supporting roles. Meanwhile, the movie boasts some very good work from the three child actors as well, with Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson and Lisa Jakub excelling as the Hillards’ children.
The oldest of the trio, Jakub went on to appear in another hugely successful movie in the 1990s, featuring in Roland Emmerich’s blockbuster Independence Day. However, she eventually quit acting, and the 39-year-old now plies her trade as a yoga instructor and writer.
As for Lawrence, he followed up Mrs. Doubtfire by appearing in a number of television shows, including the popular Boy Meets World. Unlike Jakub, though, the 38-year-old is still working in the industry, with his last performance coming in the comedy series Hollywood Darlings.
Meanwhile, Wilson enjoyed some great success following her debut performance, starring in movies such as Miracle on 34th Street and Matilda in the mid-1990s. Since then, the 31-year-old has recently guest-starred in two popular animated shows, BoJack Horseman and Big Hero 6: The Series.
In the years since Mrs. Doubtfire’s release, a lot has obviously changed for the actors, but the most significant moment came on August 11, 2014. That was the day Williams tragically committed suicide at the age of 63. In recent times, there have been few celebrity deaths more heartbreaking.
However, while Williams is no longer with us, his legacy continues to live on, as Mrs. Doubtfire approaches its 25th anniversary. With the big date looming, Brosnan revealed a heartwarming surprise on his Instagram page in October 2018. Thanks to the TV show Today, he reunited with the former child actors to commemorate the anniversary.
Posing for a photograph next to the trio, Brosnan wrote an accompanying message detailing the reunion. “Guess who?” he said. “Today, after 25 years, I gathered around a table in the company of three beautiful young people, to talk story about a film that has touched the hearts of so many.”
On that note, the former James Bond then paid tribute to two noticeable absentees. “Sally is on tour with her new book,” Brosnan wrote. “Robin is in heaven making the angels laugh and was spoken of with the fondest of love and sweet memories. The Today show is airing our interview in early November. Join us for the 25th anniversary of Mrs. Doubtfire.”
Unsurprisingly, the reunion brought back a lot of fond memories, with Jakub in particular touching upon the bond she formed with her co-stars. “I felt like I met my siblings for the first time,” she told Today in October 2018. “I’m an only child, and so I was so excited to have siblings, even if they were fake siblings.”
“There were several kids there, auditioning for the three children’s roles,” Jakub continued. “And they put Matt (Lawrence) and Mara (Wilson) and I together very quickly. And we just felt like family. I feel like that chemistry was very obvious.” From there, the 39-year-old spoke about her relationship with Williams, hailing his skills as an actor.
However, Jakub also revealed another side of their close friendship. “Something that Robin taught me that was really, really important is that he was very open with me about his issues with addiction and depression,” she recalled. “And I really appreciated that.”
“I was 14 at the time that we shot Mrs. Doubtfire, and I think he thought that was, you know, a prime time to really be open with me and honest,” Jakub continued. “And I have dealt with depression, and I have anxiety, and the fact that he was that open, that honest, that willing to talk to me about it was something that was really special.”
As for her work on the film’s set, Jakub recalled the moment when she saw Williams in his character’s prosthetics for the first time. Unsurprisingly, neither she nor Lawrence recognized him. “[Director] Chris Columbus, when we were doing rehearsals for the movie, introduced us to his ‘mother,’” the former actress told Today.
“And it was actually Mrs. Doubtfire,” Jakub continued. “So, Matt and I had already had the experience of thinking that Mrs. Doubtfire was just sort of this older woman that we were just chatting with, and then realizing that it was Robin.”
After sharing some kind words about Sally Field and the way she treated the youngsters, Jakub then focused on the continuing impact of the movie after 25 years. Indeed, while Mrs. Doubtfire is memorable for a variety of reasons, she believes that one particular aspect has helped it stand the test of time.
“I think the divorce aspect of Mrs. Doubtfire was so important,” Jakub said. “I think it was monumental that the parents did not get back together at the end. I was 14 when we filmed Mrs. Doubtfire. I’m about to turn 40, and I still have people who come up to me and hug me and cry and want to talk about their parents’ divorce.”
“And how the film helped them to know that it was okay, that it was going to be okay,” Jakub added. “That families look different, but that doesn’t mean that they’re less of a family. I think that that message of love and compassion and acceptance is really important. And I think that touches people.” For that reason alone, don’t be surprised if Mrs. Doubtfire is still talked about 25 years from now.