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Robin Williams on License to Wed

Published July 3, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Warner Bros.
License to Wed License to Wed

Robin Williams always says outlandish things in his rapid fire improvisation sessions. Most of his screen comedies throw in random scenes where he does voices, just because it's what he does. But he's playing a priest in License to Wed, so that provided some restrictions.

Robin Williams on Wearing the Collar for License to Wed

"Having been a choirboy, and I'm not Catholic, just going back to the old days when I was into going to church and remembering, as a Protestant, which is Catholic light once again, the idea of somebody that could really advise and has something offer," said Williams. "It was just remembering those guys that I grew up with in the Episcopal church, which is there is no purgatory, just spiritual escrow. That was beginning of that. And then the idea that he's pretty much hands on as much as you can be without being a priest."

His Reverend Frank puts a young couple through and outrageous relationship course before he'll agree to perform their wedding. So this priest has some sex talk and manages to injure the groom to be through his antics. That sounds a little bit more like Williams.

"It is hard to find something where you can go off as much as I do in standup, but I think standup allows me that freedom, where you can really go off and have a good time. But within the character there's enough room to play and when you have someone like Jon Krasinski and Mandy, people who will play opposite you and keep going."

Directors tend to appreciate his contributions anyway. "He was open more to me physically improvising with him. He would have these rehearsals and I would go, 'What's this about?' and he went 'Put on this thong.' And I'd go, 'But these are scenes from Brokeback Mountain. And he said, 'It's just part of the preparation.' 'Why are
we in a tent? Why are you spitting on your hand?' And he went, 'It's just a prep.' It's kind of like the scene they cut from Knocked Up. He was open to pretty much anything, improvising, trying stuff physical, anything. I trusted him because he cast a lot great people in the smallest parts."

Of course, Williams had just come from his own sort of counseling course, so he had a bit of extra research material for the film. "In rehab you go through a lot of that. You really do find out that that's one of the primary salvation, when you go through rehab that you come out of the other side knowing you're not alone and it give you a very personal view of God. And many people would say, the higher power or just the idea of a very deeply, once you come through that process you come out of it very much aware of there but for the grace of."

In Hollywood, religious satire always generates some sort of controversy, though if there's any on License to Wed, it's been kept rather quiet. "You always do because you can't poke fun at certain religions. Hence, if I was to dress you in a full burka someone would go 'What are you doing?' It's difficult because you have to realize that we just made major fun of the Catholic Church, but hey, they don't blow you up. I haven't gotten a lot of communication. It was interesting that they went with a German pope, which is great for the Swiss Guard to have artillery."

License to Wed opens to theaters on July 4th.

For the trailer, poster and more movie info, head over to the License to Wed Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Warner Bros.

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