8 facts about Mrs. Doubtfire that you probably didn’t know

Posted on 12 May 2023

Attention dearies! The world's most beloved Scottish nanny is back, and she's donning her favourite tweed skirt in the smash-hit musical adaptation of Mrs. Doubtfire at the Shaftesbury Theatre

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we're saying helloooo to 8 facts about the film (and the musical) that you probably didn't know, read on poppet!

Robin Williams improvised most of his lines (film fact)

Robin Williams was known for his incredible improvisational skills, and he used them extensively in Mrs. Doubtfire. In fact, many of his lines in the movie were improvised, including the famous scene where he sets his fake breasts on fire. This isn't the first time Williams ad-libbed on set, in fact, he did it so much on Aladdin that the movie was rejected for a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay! Mrs. Doubtfire didn't suffer the same fate however, scooping up Oscar and Golden Globe wins, including Best Motion Picture and Best Actor in a Motion Picture. 

There are a lot of costume changes (musical fact)

Of course, Mrs. Doubtfire is all about transformation – which means the leading man (turned lady) has lots of costume changes. In fact, the Mrs. Doubtfire musical features over 30 quick changes altogether, (and they say women take an age to get dressed).

The makeup process took over four hours (film fact)

It took the makeup team over four hours to transform Robin Williams into Mrs. Doubtfire. The process involved multiple layers of makeup and prosthetics, including a foam latex mask that was applied to Williams' face. The special effects used were so ahead of their time that the make up department, Greg Cannom, Ve Neill and Yolanda Toussieng received an Oscar for their efforts.

The show had a limited run on Broadway (musical fact) 

Oh, dear me! Despite the buzz around the show, Mrs. Doubtfire The Musical had a relatively short run on Broadway. The show opened on April 5, 2020, but was forced to close just three weeks later due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Mrs. Doubtfire doesn’t give up that easily! 

Mrs Doubtfire was originally a novel (film and musical fact)

There wouldn’t be a movie or musical without the original Mrs. Doubtfire novel, originally written by Anne Fine. The book, entitled Alias Madame Doubtfire, was published in 1987 and tells the story of a divorced father who disguises himself as a nanny in order to spend time with his children. 

Stu was originally an arrogant villain (film fact)

Although the original script portrayed Stu as an arrogant antagonist, director Chris Columbus believed that it would be more fitting for Stu to embody a paternal figure for Miranda's children. As the villain, Stu would have sent Miranda's children off to boarding school, however, to avoid cliches and to stick to the over-arching theme of family values - Columbus chose to make Stu an important father figure in the film.

There are characters you don’t see in the film (musical fact) 

Mrs. Doubtfire brings characters to the stage that aren’t seen in the film. Among them is the charismatic Andre, a gifted hair and makeup artist portrayed by the talented Marcus Collins. Alongside him is the endearing Mr. Jolly, played by Ian Talbot, whose role as the jovial host of a popular children's television program injects silliness and joy into the story.

The writers are comedy masters (musical fact) 

Mrs. Doubtfire has book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrel, Kirkpatrick has penned scripts for iconic films such as Chicken Run, The Rescuers Down Under, James and the Giant Peach, Over the Hedge and Charlotte's Web. John O’Farrel is the brains behind the iconic comedy shows Spitting Image and Have I Got News for You

Mrs. Doubtfire tickets are available now!

So there you have it, my dear. Eight fascinating facts about the beloved film and the smash-hit musical adaptation. Do make sure to catch the show while it's playing in the West End! 

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By Kevin Thomas

From as early as I can recall, writing has always been my passion. Being able to combine this with my love for theatre has been a rewarding and exhilarating experience. I truly believe that there is magic in seeing a story brought to life on stage, and this is what I would like to promote to audiences.