"Mrs. Doubtfire 2:" Examining the Forthcoming Sequel

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After an ugly divorce, father of three, Daniel Hillard, must find a way to see his children more than his custody agreement allows. Danielle turns to his brother Frank to help develop an elaborate disguise as an English housekeeper.
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
May 3rd, 2014

Easily one of the most beloved films of early 1990s, "Mrs. Doubtfire" holds a special place in the hearts of parents and children alike. From Robin Williams' hysterical hijinks in drag to the adorable Mara Wilson's heartbreaking portrayal of young Nattie Hillard, "Mrs. Doubtfire" enjoys continued popularity among loyal viewers and new audiences. As Fox 2000 explores the possibility of a sequel to the smash hit, viewers and even cast members are torn on the feasibility of a second run for the lovable character and her family and friends.

Examining the Age Equation

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles the development team faces is the current ages of the original actors. More than 20 years after the initial release of "Mrs. Doubtfire," the cast of the film are seasoned film industry veterans working on various projects. A new film must feature many of the familiar faces to captivate the original audience, but the storyline must somehow embrace the current ages of the characters. Fortunately, Robin Williams' portrayal of the lead character does not need to change as Mrs. Doubtfire's latex mask has her frozen in time.

Working with the Original Cast Members

Robin Williams is set to return as Mrs. Doubtfire, but the involvement of the other actors from the film is uncertain. Mara Wilson no longer works as an actor, and she is very vocal about her dislike for the industry and how it treats its young stars. Lisa Jakob, the other Hillard daughter, is also retired from the industry, though she is willing to consider making a return for the film. While the film studio could plausibly invite these actors to take part in the sequel, there is no guarantee that either would accept. Without these key cast members, however, audiences are not likely to embrace the new film.

In addition to the Hillard family itself, "Mrs. Doubtfire" has a large cast of supporting characters. Pierce Brosnan's character "Stu" stars as the boyfriend of Miranda Hillard, portrayed by Sally Fields. Harvey Fierstein also joins the madness as the brother to Robin Williams' character and the creator of the "Mrs. Doubtfire" illusion. Audiences want to see these actors in their original roles. Unfortunately, some of the film's other cast members, including Anne Haney and Robert Prosky, are deceased.

Creating a Fresh New Plot

The plot of the original "Mrs. Doubtfire" was outlandish yet delightfully fun. In order to capture some of the magic of the first incarnation, the scriptwriters need to focus on what made "Mrs. Doubtfire" so riveting for audiences across the globe. From the heartwarming story to the silliness of Robin Williams' portrayal, the original film offers something unique to every viewer. Nailing down a concept that stays true to the spirit of the first film while creating a new story is a formidable challenge.

Finding an Audience

Families and now-grown adults are avowed fans of the first "Mrs. Doubtfire," but many of today's children are unfamiliar with this pop cultural icon from several decades ago. A new "Mrs. Doubtfire" film needs to find the balance between sentimental throwbacks to the original film and new scenarios that do not rely exclusively on the previous film. If the "Mrs. Doubtfire" sequel wants a mass audience flocking to cinemas around the country, scriptwriters and marketing executives must work together to craft a film that honors the legacy of the first production while simultaneously making its own mark on the silver screen.

Overcoming a History of Failures

While the idea of a "Mrs. Doubtfire" sequel certainly captures the attention of film-lovers, the idea is hardly new. In fact, a "Mrs. Doubtfire" sequel has been an ongoing topic of discussion for the scriptwriters and producers of the original film. Robin Williams is vocal about his support for the project, but the actor does not want to appear in a film that does not do the first movie justice. The scriptwriters of the sequel must somehow overcome the previous scriptwriting failures and find a new plot that pleases both the cast and the film's audience.

There is no argument that the original "Mrs. Doubtfire" film contains the perfect mix of comedy, heartfelt moments and good, clean fun. A successful sequel has an uphill battle in front of it, but assuming the creative team finds clever ways to work through the obstacles a new production poses, "Mrs. Doubtfire" 2.0 could prove the most successful sequel in years. Without an intelligent approach to the movie's reworking, however, producers could find themselves with a disaster on their hands.