“I thought, this is a very sweet story”: The Godfather Director Nearly Tanked Robin Williams’ Career Trying to Recreate $151M Tom Hanks Movie Success That Massively Backfired

The Godfather Director Nearly Tanked Robin Williams' Career Trying to Recreate $151M Tom Hanks Movie Success That Massively Backfired
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Robin Williams is an iconic actor and comedian who starred in several classic movies throughout his Hollywood career. Getting the chance to work alongside Francis Ford Coppola, the director of The Godfather trilogy, back in 1996 was something that Williams instantly agreed upon. Well, that film almost tanked his career.

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Francis Ford Coppola has had his fair share of failures. His 1996 movie, titled Jack, which was an adaptation of a Tom Hanks movie titled Big, was also considered a hilarious failure. It was Robin Williams who was cast in the lead role and Hollywood doesn’t consider box office failures lightly.

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

When Francis Ford Coppola Risked Robin Williams’ Career

Coppola was enamored by the 1988 Tom Hanks movie titled Big. Depicting the story of a boy who gets teased due to his short appearance waking up the next day and realizing that he is actually…big, the movie was quite a success.

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Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin in Big
Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin in Big

Also read: “He waited in line to meet me”: Joe Rogan Fights Back Tears Talking About His 1 Robin Williams Memory That Makes Him Feel Awful

Tom Hanks was very much delighted as Big became the movie that would get the actor his first-ever Oscar nomination. Francis Ford Coppola wanted to capture that magic but in reverse. Depicting the story of an adult-sized kid, Coppola came up with the idea of a film titled Jack. Starring Robin Williams in the lead role, the shooting was quite messy and the director left it to the audience whether to make this movie a success or not.

“I thought, this is a very sweet story, but it depends totally on the audience being willing to accept the actor they are looking at, who is full-grown and shaves, as a little boy. If they don’t believe from the very beginning, it won’t work. Certainly we’d all seen ‘Big,’ and Tom Hanks did an excellent job as a kid encased in a man’s body. In ‘Jack,’ it had to be more, for he must interact mostly with kids.”

The director also talked about how he helped Robin Williams achieve that kiddish style and way of talking before the filming began. Taking him to his personal ranch for a couple of weeks, Ford Coppola invited Williams and several kids to live with them for a while. As per the director, he felt like a drama counselor at summer camp!

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Francis Ford Coppola Had To Handle Robin Williams

Robin Williams and Francis Ford Coppola while shooting Jack (1996)
Robin Williams and Francis Ford Coppola while shooting Jack (1996)

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Inviting Robin Williams and several children to his personal ranch wasn’t such a great idea. The director felt that he had to manage the drama every day while Robin Williams observed and felt what it was like to be a kid again.

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“I felt I was a drama counselor at summer camp again. For two weeks, all the kids, including Robin, did everything together. They swam, camped out overnight, joined Boy Scout activities, went shopping at Toys ‘R’ Us, ate together, had food fights, and slept in bunk beds.”

Despite all of this, Jack received a low rating of 5.8/10 on IMDB and a meager 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie was hailed as one of the worst movies in Hollywood and Robin Williams’ career was at a very great risk during this time. The Francis Ford Coppola-directed movie is available to stream on Disney+.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

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Written by Visarg Acharya

Articles Published: 2267

Visarg Acharya, Associate Content Writer, has been heavily involved in movies, series, and history. Having an experience of 2 years in the field of content writing, Visarg is a seasoned writer. Having a degree in Physics, Visarg Acharya has published a dissertation alongside a plethora of poems and short stories along the way.