On Thursday, a viral tweet started making rounds suggesting that there was an unreleased NC-17 cut of the Robin Williams film Mrs. Doubtfire. The post was sourced from a 2015 interview with director Chris Columbus, but now he’s clarified in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly that he was being hyperbolic.
In the original interview, Columbus said that because Williams improvised so much on set, there were enough unreleased takes to string together PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 cuts of the film. The film follows a divorced actor (Williams) who disguises himself as a female nanny to spend time with his kids, and the version that was released in 1993 ended up being rated PG-13.
On Friday, Columbus told EW that there isn’t an NC-17 version of the film, which would insinuate that there are shockingly sexual and/or violent outtakes of a classic family flick. However, there are three other variations, including an R-rated edition.
“The reality is that there was a deal between Robin and myself, which was, he’ll do one or two, three scripted takes,” Columbus said. “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.”
Therefore, Williams supplied dozens of lines that ranged from kid-friendly to adult-only humor. “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,” Columbus remembered. “I only [previously] used the phrase NC-17 as a joke. There could be no NC-17 version of the movie.”
With all of these extra takes in the archive, fans may be wondering if a special R-rated cut of the film could ever see released. Columbus discounted that possibility, but he did suggest the idea of a documentary about the film that includes some of those raunchier, unreleased scenes.
“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.”
He then pitched himself, editor Raja Gosnell, and producer Marsha Garces Williams as possible interviewees for a behind-the-scenes feature. “I think that that would be the best approach. I’m very proud of the film. . .I’m in a good place with Mrs. Doubtfire, so there’s really no reason to do the definitive cut. The definitive cut of Mrs. Doubtfire is out in the world right now.”
Fans who are hankering for a fresh adaptation of the story will have to wait until Broadway reopens. A few months before the pandemic temporarily leveled the theatre industry, a musical version of Mrs. Doubtfire was slated to hit stages in Spring 2020.