Why did Robin Williams leave Howard the Duck after a week?
Howard the duck is a cult classic and it almost had a very famous voice.
If you’re a fan of quirky Hollywood movies, you’ve probably seen them by now Howard the duck. The film just celebrated its 35th anniversary The Hollywood Reporter write an entire article about how this came about. It features interviews with Lea Thompson and Howard voice Chip Zien who unearthed a lot of fun facts about the film.
One of the funniest is Zien’s anecdote about how he got started playing Howard’s voice. He was on Broadway as an actor, got called, and eventually lost the role to Robin Williams. The story should have ended there, but that’s not how Hollywood works.
According to legend, Robin Williams appeared as Howard and hated it. He was a great comic book actor who loved to improvise and do his own thing. But that wasn’t really possible with an animatronic duck.
As Zien told THR, “What I was told on the third day, Robin said, ‘I can’t do this. It’s crazy. I can’t get the rhythm. I’m being locked up. I’m being handcuffed.” to match the beak of the fluttering duck. ‘ On Memorial Day 1985 I got a call from my agent who said, “You have to go straight to the airport! Robin Williams just quit and you are now Howard the Duck. You have to get there tonight. There is a ticket waiting at the counter on them.’ I was incredibly excited. ”
Zien flew to the set, and the rest is history.
There are many anecdotes about how difficult it was to work with a doll on set. It was impossible to get an actor’s chemistry because you were facing puppeteers who only said lines, didn’t perform them.
As Thompson remembered “It wasn’t working at the level it had to work at. I felt like I was pulling Howard the duck Up a hill with my teeth alone all the time. All jokes fell flat. Comedy is a prompter. We had great puppeteers, but they were kidding. I thought, ‘It would be great if you could have an actor doing the lines to keep the ball in the air.’ The technical side of the film was so difficult and exhausting. I kept telling them, ‘The duck isn’t working.’ “
It turned out the duck wasn’t working for the audience either. The film grossed around $ 37 million on a budget of $ 45 million. It was a blow to the careers of everyone involved. But it didn’t stop there. The film ran on television and became legendary in circles of film fans and children whose parents mistakenly let it see and told their friends. Even the film Got a 4K restoration recently.
How did you see the first time Howard the duck? Would you have liked the Robin Williams version? Let us know in the comments!