From the writer
David Misch here, the writer of the movie. A guy with the user name Binnibob, who says he worked on the original “Mork”, posted some negative remarks about the movie after it was first aired. (They’re under the thread “Intriguing”, dated 4/5/05.) I sent him an email privately and never heard back so I thought I’d share my thoughts with the board now that the movie’s being rerun (6/7/05).
Binnibob: I’d like to say something regarding your complaints about inaccuracies. To wit...
Are you nuts?
Of course there are inaccuracies -- name a biographical movie without them. The question (for me at least) is whether the movie captured an overall truth about Robin and the series, not where the wrap party was held. Innumerable “inaccuracies” were dictated by movie conventions, budget constraints and/or dramatic imperatives but, I hope and believe, few of them were important.
One that was: Valerie. I’d have preferred a more, shall we say, nuanced depiction of their relationship but it was felt that for dramatic purposes Robin’s wife should be wholly sympathetic. Still, does her portrayal really falsify anything significant about Robin? As for physical differences, you’re right -- no attempt was made to make the actress look like someone no one knows.
You said I have “an ax to grind”. The movie shows a brilliant comedian who almost self-destructed due to drug addiction then overcame it -- is that not what happened? Is that not, in fact, something Robin’s been completely open about, to the point of putting it in his standup act for five years?
I was awed by Robin then, as I am now. I feel honored to have worked on the show. Everyone associated with the “Behind The Camera” production thinks Robin’s a genius and wanted the movie to be a tribute to him. If it’s not, we failed, but that was the intent.
As for the other “inaccuracies” you complain about…
-- “Robin didn't go into the Chateau Marmont Bungalow 5 that night.”
Yes he did; he was the last person to see Belushi alive other than Cathy Smith, which is why he testified to a grand jury. See “Wired” and countless interviews with Robin.
-- “(Pam didn’t tell Robin about Belushi’s death) on the stage but took Robin out on a walk around the lot…”
Yes, Pam did tell Robin on the stage, according to many interviews with both of them. They may have gone for a walk afterwards but, again, is where it happened so critical?
-- “… ABC didn’t call Robin or Pam to inform them of the cancellation.”
The movie never says ABC did -- it shows the network head calling Garry Marshall.
As for the writing staff, there was no attempt to be accurate about them because no one cares about them. In any case, I’ve heard from a number of the writers, who loved the movie (especially the portrayal of the network executive who, while not Tony Thermopolis -- rhymes with Diamantopoulos -- was an attempt to capture the tenor of the problems with ABC).
As for your claim (post of 3/6/05) that all I wanted was to “make a buck”, my primary motive in doing the movie may have been shallow but it wasn’t money; I loved writing for Robin/Mork, had lots of ideas that were never used, and was delighted I could finally get them onscreen. (“Realty, what a concept” has been in my notebook for 27 years.)
And you and I have one other disagreement: Chris Diamantopoulos, who you say did “a pretty good job”. To quote a “Mork” writer, “a few minutes in I didn’t even feel like I was watching an actor play Robin, I was watching Robin and was emotionally involved in his story.” I’m still amazed at the idea of someone even attempting to portray such a unique talent (we had countless actor turn-downs during casting, based on the belief that Robin couldn’t be imitated), much less doing it so brilliantly.
But Chris isn’t Robin and the movie isn’t a photo-realistic reenactment of those years. What we attempted was a broadly accurate portrayal of a comic genius at a critical point in his career. Some people think we succeeded, some don’t. But your charges of inaccuracy are inaccurate.