Christopher Reeve enjoyed great success as Superman in the late 70s. This inspired his friend Robin Williams to take on a similar role, but it didn’t have a similar outcome.

In the history of the entertainment industry, stories with well-intentioned advice leading to unexpected outcomes are not uncommon. Similar was the case with the late Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams. The latter was a comedic genius whose career was marked with successes but not exempted from failures either.

On the advice of his friend Reeve, Williams ventured into new territory as an artist. The suggestion might have been well-intentioned, but it couldn’t yield the anticipated outcome.

Robin Williams in an Attempt at Popeye Live-Action 

Robin Williams as Popeye the Sailor
Robin Williams as Popeye the Sailor

In the early 1980s, movies based on comic books and characters were not as popular as today. There were some notable exceptions, including Superman, but this genre stayed a bit on the sidelines for most of it.

With the release of Popeye in 1980, Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning was around 3 decades away, while Batman by Tim Burton was still around 9 years out. The decision to play Popeye, a character different from Williams’s previous comedic roles, was quite a daring move. Inspired by Christopher Reeve’s success as Superman and encouraged by him Robin Williams did Robert Altman’s Popeye.

Now, even though Reeve’s advice was with good intentions, the live-action attempt at the infamous cartoon was a failure. The final product did not receive a warm reception like it was hoped by Williams and the production team. The critical consensus seemed mixed. Even though the performance was notable for its physicality and dedication, the execution and overall tone left the critics and audiences dissatisfied.

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Christopher Reeve as Superman
Christopher Reeve as Superman

The charm of the Popeye cartoon struggled in translating itself on the big screen, and the movie failed to replicate the success of the Superman franchise at the box office. Williams talked about his experience in later interviews. Therein he mentioned his concerns about taking the role, which differed from his comedic roots. He said,

 “I also had that dream of getting up to thank the Academy. I thought, this is it, this is my ‘Superman,’ and it’s gonna go through the f*****’ roof! After the first day on ‘Popeye,’ I thought, ‘Well, maybe this isn’t it,’ and I finally wound up going, ‘Oh, God, when is it going to be over?'”

Even the presence of a five-time Academy Award-nominee Robert Altman, known for movies like The Long Goodbye and M*A*S*H, couldn’t give the movie the expected results. Working with him was a big factor, all that happened with the movie’s outcome made Williams feel disillusioned, but this wasn’t the end of his recognition. Instead, it was a beginning.

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Popeye‘s Unexpected Performance Wasn’t the End For Robin Williams

Robbin Williams
Robbin Williams

Even though the Popeye tale serves as a reminder of the entertainment industry’s complexities, and how slim the chances of success are. Even when one has the best advice from seasoned colleagues, it’s not necessary that what works for one would work for another. Every individual and their career trajectory is unique.

Now, despite this setback came early on, Robin Williams‘s career continued to evolve. It flourished. He gave unforgettable performances in films like Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, and more. As a versatile actor, he solidified his status and became a cherished and beloved figure in Hollywood. It shows true talent and dedication and will always shine through.

Read More: “Miss you and love you forever”: Robin Williams’ Children Remembers the Oscar Winner After His Death Due to Lewy Body Dementia

Source: IMDB

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