Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

UPDATE: No, there's no "NC-17 cut" of Mrs. Doubtfire

Robin Williams at the Mrs. Doubtfire premiere
Robin Williams at the Mrs. Doubtfire premiere
Photo: VINCE BUCCI/AFP via Getty Images

Okay, so, here’s the story: Back in 2015, Christopher Columbus, director of the frankly insane Robin Williams comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, gave an interview to Yahoo Movies in which he claimed that, due to Williams’ well-known penchant for foul-mouthed improvisations, he’d managed to put together four full cuts of the 1993 comedy back in the day, of increasingly vulgar vintage. Columbus, possibly unwisely, dubbed these cuts (which, as far as we know, were never screened for the MPAA), in terms of standard film ratings: “A PG rated version of the film, PG-13, R, and NC-17.” (Mrs. Doubtfire was eventually released as a PG-13 flick.) The interview itself is no longer online, but there’s no indication that Columbus ever did anything with these cuts, or whether—in the days when movies were cut on actual film stock—they even physically existed. (As opposed to, say, being assembled in his head with the material he knew he had at hand.) But he said it, and thus are the seeds of desire planted.

Advertisement

Cut to today, when—emboldened by its successful efforts to bully a multi-national corporation into releasing the Snyder Cut of Justice League—the internet has started looking around, wondering what other demands it can get fulfilled. Several folks on Twitter stumbled onto Columbus’ old statements, and, thus, the call for “the NC-17 cut” of Mrs. Doubtfire has now been issued forth.

As noted by Snopes, though, it’s extremely unclear whether this fabled artifact actually exists, or whether it would—like the Snyder Cut, now that we think of it—need to be dutifully assembled from a bunch of old pieces, and a large stash of someone else’s money. Certainly, Mrs. Doubtfire star Mara Wilson has said (back in 2016) that she’d never heard about an NC-17 version (although she did note that she wouldn’t be surprised if an R-rated cut had once been made, given Williams’ love of ad-libbing.) And even though the film’s screenwriter, Randi Mayem Singer, responded today with happy memories of the film’s “dirty dailies,” she couldn’t confirm that the actual cut in question had ever actually been made. So it certainly sounds like there’s probably no actual NC-17 edition of the film, so much as there are a bunch of very blue outtakes that might still exist, just waiting to ruin a new Blu-ray release.

Meanwhile, there’s a whole other question here, to wit: Do we really, uh, want to hear Robin Williams doing NC-17 rated material—which, by the definitions of the day, would have to be pretty explicitly sexual—in a film where he’s dressed as a woman so that he can fool his ex-wife into letting him back into her life? Williams was one of comedy’s gifted improvisers, but also one of its most determinedly unfiltered; hearing his attitudes (and the attitudes of the era) toward sex (and, just as a guess, trans people) get tossed like a hand grenade into a beloved classic would probably be a whole hell of a lot less fun that it sounds on initial blush.

Still, though: The internet has demanded. God only knows what happens next.

Update, 3/20/21 at 11:17 AM: And now, as suspected, Columbus has spoken up to note that he was being hyperbolic when he described the fabled “NC-17 cut” of Mrs. Doubtfire. Talking to Entertainment Weekly on Friday night, Columbus said, “ I only [previously] used the phrase NC-17 as a joke. There could be no NC-17 version of the movie.” Columbus did note that he apparently created at least one R-rated version of the film from Williams’ numerous ad-libs, though, and mused that he’d be happy to someday release some of that footage as part of a hypothetical documentary on the making of the film.

Advertisement