Say what you will about Robin Williams (and some of the film roles he’s chosen lately), but the man is nothing if not rangy. From a mad scientist (Flubber) to a quirky doctor (Patch Adams), from the grounded and thoughtful (Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting) to the animatedly insane (Aladdin), to, yes, a woman. In 1993, the world was introduced to Euphegenia Doubtfire, and more than 20 years later it seems the Scottish housekeeper might finally be headed back to the big screen.
This in and of itself isn’t news; a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire has been floating around Hollywood for more than a decade, but it looks like it’s got some new energy that might actually drive it to production in the near future. According to a report at THR, Fox 2000 has brought on writer David Berenbaum to take a fresh pass at the script. Berenbaum burst onto the Hollywood scene in 2003 as the writer of Elf, the movie which along with Anchorman a year later cemented Will Ferrell’s transition from Saturday Night Live standout to big screen star. It seems pretty clear that Fox 2000 is hoping Berenbaum can once again capture that magic combo of relatable sentimentality and manic comic energy.
Whether he’ll be able to or not, of course, remains to be seen, but the evidence is not wholly in his favor. He did pen the screenplay for the adaptation of The Spiderwick Chronicles back in 2008, but also has flops The Haunted Mansion (which starred Eddie Murphy) and Zoom (2006) to his name. The sample size is lacking, but that’s as many misses as hits. We’d of course like to see the second coming of Elf, so we’ll go with cautious optimism at this admittedly early stage in the process.
In the potential sequel’s corner are both Williams himself and Doubtfire director Chris Columbus (although his track record has been rather spotty as well). Both men are attached to the sequel project should it go forward, so any lapses in quality won’t be blamed on unfamiliarity with the subject matter.
Speaking of, an immediate question regarding any sequel is how the movie might be (presumably) able to pull the same trick again. There’s been no word on what the plot might be at this point, but the short answer may be it won’t have to; since the original saw Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) successfully launch Mrs. Doubtfire as a character on a TV show, it’s possible the Doubtfire character will only appear in that capacity. Possible, but we’ll say unlikely given how central it was to the first movie. More likely (at least in our opinion) is that the plot concerns Daniel’s relationships to his now grown children and (potentially) his grandchildren.
There’s been no word on whether Sally Field, who played Daniel’s estranged wife in the original, might be back for a sequel, but it sounds like we might have to wait and see if the script gets traction before this makes it past being anything but a development curio.