Entertainment Weekly: One Hour Photo is the third film in what some are calling your "Dark Trilogy," after Death To Smoochy and Insomnia. Does it bother you that they're lumped together?
Robin Williams: They're not happy, light films. Smoochy's just nasty.
EW: But there seems to be this sense that you're atoning for sentimental films like Patch Adams...
RW: I know. Patch got the shit kicked out of it. Listen, Patch, for many people, was very powerful. For critics, it was the Anitchrist. But is this a response to that? No, this is just an idea of finding characters that I haven't been offered before. To play the full range of human behavior.
EW: Jerry Lewis once said The Nutty Professor was him acting, but his character in The King Of Comedy was the real him. Is there anything to that? Do you have a dark side?
RW: Oh, fuck yeah, who doesn't? I mean, that's why I gave up drinking and drugs. Because the nasty shit, you couldn't contain it. You get so raw that you're snapping at everybody. Everybody's got it. It just depends on how you control it, where you release it, what do you do with it, and when you need it.
EW: How much does doing stand-up help help to get it out?
RW: That's the ultimate catharsis. Stand-up is the place where you can do things that you could never do in public. I couldn't go out on the street right now and talk for 5 minutes about eating pussy without people going "Officer!"
EW: But if they're paying 20 bucks with a two-drink minimum...
RW: Then they want to hear the pussy thing.
EW: How far can you go right now because of 9/11?
RW: You can start off talking about the idea of 72 virgins. There was an article in The New York Times about how the actual translation isn't 72 virgins, but 72 clear, crystal rasins - which must be pretty rough if you go to the gates of heaven going "Where are my bee-atches?" And they hand you a bowl of grapes. For 3 months the topic was a no-fly zone. Now how far you push it depends on how brave you feel and if the audience is going with you.
EW: How did you get into the head of a guy like Sy in One Hour Photo?
RW: There's a lot of video tape on disturbed people. Just to get a tone, you know? The rest is just extrapolation of your own neuroses and insecurities. When you look at a videotape of Dahmer...
EW: You looked at tape of Jeffrey Dahmer?
RW: Oh yeah, there's great stuff.
EW: You just pop it into the VCR in your living room?
RW: Well, not with the kids around.
EW: How do you shake it at the end of the day?
RW: You just have to. You can't take stuff like that home. I shook it after the take. I'd start fucking around again with the crew. Just blowing off steam. Especially at the end where you're getting into the incest shit. And you've got a knife and two naked people and you're threatening to cut off someone's balls and stuff'em up his ass.
EW: Did winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting free you up to take more chances?
RW: Nah, that's just one of the perks. It's a moment that had a half-life of about six months. The first day people were like, "Hey, congratulations!" A month later it was "Didn't you...?" And six months later people were calling me Mork again.
EW: How do your costars deal with your improvising?
RW: Most of'em are up for it. I'm not going to fuck with someone. You don't want to go off and leave someone hanging.
EW: Which actors were most receptive to your freestyling?
RW: Ed Norton in Smoochy was insane. And Nathan [Lane in The Birdcage]. Pacino could riff like crazy if he wanted to.
EW: Which of your films do you wish you could take off your resume?
RW: God...[long pause] my first film, Can I Do It Till I Need Glasses? It was a series of dirty jokes. They cut me out of it and when Mork hit, they put me back in the movie and released it with a big picture of me in my suspenders - "In his first film!" The good news is, it was false advertising and the judge threw it out of court and it's gone. You can find it, but you'll do time.
EW: What do you think is your most underappreciated movie?
RW: The World According To Garp. It kind of came and went. It's a weird movie. If you look sometime they'll have it in the video store under "Comedy." That was the first time I got to play a really hideous character.