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In 2002, Robin Williams and Al Pacino shared screen space in Christopher Nolan’s psychological thriller Insomnia. Compared to Nolan’s famed works, this film remained a very underrated one, but became a cult classic over the years. More significantly, it saw Williams in a completely different avatar as a scheming killer, which was a far cry from his comedic turns.

Robin Williams
Hollywood star Robin Williams image credit Wikimedia Commons

The casting of the two Oscar winners who were diametrically different in their styles and methods may have seemed like a risky proposition when it came to their working relationship on set. But the Mrs Doubtfire star tapped into his trademark witty humor to break the ice with Pacino in hilarious fashion.

How Robin Williams Created Perfect Chemistry With Al Pacino

Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia saw two A-list stars Al Pacino and Robin Williams locking horns on screen in a psychological cat-and-mouse chase between a detective and a writer-turned-murderer. The script required both actors to feed off each other seamlessly, which they expectedly did to perfection.

A still from<em> Insomnia <em>

In reality though, Williams and Pacino were completely different artists in terms of how they approached the craft, which made their casting a very interesting and intriguing one. While sharing a working relationship could have been a challenging task, it was the Patch Adams actor who broke the ice to ensure that it would be smooth sailing.

In an interview with Owen Williams for Empire, the comedic genius spoke of meeting Pacino on the first day of filming, and elaborated on an interesting tactic he employed to create a lighthearted atmosphere on set.

“My first day working with Al … he does this method thing where before every take he would roar like a lion. So my first day working with him I bleated like a goat,”

Taken aback by Williams’ sudden reaction, The Godfather actor looked extremely confused before his co-star revealed that he had pulled a fast one on him. Needless to say, this set the ball rolling and ensured that the two actors shared great chemistry in the film.


Sylvester Stallone’s Heartfelt Tribute To The Late Robin Williams

Robin Williams’ innovative methods to connect with Al Pacino in Insomnia is just one example of the actor’s genius, which has unfortunately been lost far too soon. In August 2014, Hollywood was rocked by his shocking and untimely demise that is still being felt in the industry.

Mrs Doubtfire
Robin Williams in <em>Mrs Doubtfire<em>

Considered a prodigious talent, Williams regaled audiences with his improvisation skills as a comedian, and later on as a powerful actor in serious dramas. But the funny man who made people laugh and entertained them through humor, unfortunately passed away by suicide.

Among the many stars in the fraternity who expressed their shock and remembered the actor, Sylvester Stallone shared his heartfelt tribute while also admiring Williams’ talent and impressive body of work over the years in an interview with Extra.


“You’re talking about the greatest improv human being that ever lived. He was seriously a genius… I spent a lot of hours with him, and you just sit back in awe. When you have a machine that delicate, a creative tool that he was at his disposal, it’s very sensitive, and I feel for him.”

Stallone continued by saying that the world had lost an actor whose talent can never be replaced, and expressed his sadness that he will never be able to interact with him again.

Insomnia is streaming on Paramount Plus.

Do you think you may suffer from Insomnia and live in Florida, California or New York?

If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online Insomnia and Anxiety diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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