Originally Published: Friday, Dec. 9, 2005
Man of the Year meets Valley Town fans
Filming crews set up downtown for two days earlier this week
BY CRAIG CAMPBELL, NEWS STAFF
Dozens of local fans surrounded actor Robin Williams at the corner of Sydenham and King Streets late Monday afternoon.
“Don’t back up much more,” the Academy Award winner advised an excited woman with a cell-phone camera as traffic continued to flow a step away.
Mr. Williams and the crew from Man of the Year, filming in downtown Dundas
Monday and Tuesday, allowed many onlookers at the busy Dundas intersection to approach, greet and take pictures with the star of 60 feature films and television.
“You’re one of my favourite actors,” an elderly gentleman told Mr. Williams as they shook hands. “Do you remember me?”
“Well,” the actor replied. “I won’t forget you.”
Another fan asked Mr. Williams if he still plays online computer games, and he acknowledged he did, naming a couple of his favourites.
Crew members asked bystanders to move out of the scene, allowing a few to hang in as extras. The scene was ironically similar to the reality that just occured as supporters of Mr. Williams’ character — a political talk show host running for president — greeted him on a street corner, took pictures and shook his hand.
“Is that the guy from Jumanji, and all the other stuff?” a boy on a bike asked, before dashing across the street.
Each time the filming paused, crew members allowed onlookers to gather around the actor once again.
“Where’s your coat?” an actor playing a secret service agent asked a girl taking a photo of Mr. Williams.
“It’s in my car,” she said.
“Oh, so it’s keeping the car warm,” the actor said.
One extra laughed uncontrollably as she noticed her young son greeting Mr. Williams.
“Oh, my God. I know what he’s doing. He’s doing his ‘schtik’, he’s trying to crack Robin Williams up.”
Later, she told Mr. Williams that was her son telling jokes, trying to make him laugh.
“He did a good job,” Mr. Williams smiled.
Gordon Cruikshank, owner of Cruikshanks’ Clothing for Men and Women, has seen his fair share of film crews and actors in downtown Dundas.
One year ago, he offered his changerooms to Jimmy Smitts and Bradley Whitford of The West Wing. They were filming next door at The Deluxe Restaurant.
This week, it was Robin Williams who was filming next door and Mr. Cruikshank made the same offer of a warm place to rest and change between scenes.
“He was here for about 15 minutes,” Mr. Cruikshank said. “He chatted with the girls up front. He’s very nice, very unassuming. Even a little on the shy side. But he certainly had no problem having a conversation.”
It was a different, more personal side of the wild comedic actor local residents have seen on screen.
Mr. Cruikshank also complimented the movie’s production crew. He said they responded quickly to his request to keep his storefront clear, and were very professional all day.
A few people stood watch across from the DeLuxe Restaurant Monday afternoon, and were rewarded when an exterior scene of Mr. Williams pulling up in a car and walking into the restaurant was filmed a few times.
But it was no comparison to the near mob scene less than an hour later as Mr.Williams walked up King Street to the CIBC bank at Sydenham Street.
As reported by the Dundas Star News last month, Mr. Williams and director Barry Levinson were joined by Laura Linney and Christopher Walken for the filming of several scenes for Man of the Year in Dundas.
Filming continued all day Monday and Tuesday. Mr. Williams plays a late night talk show host, who runs for president to stir up the campaign but actually ends up winning.
Mr. Williams and Mr. Levinson also teamed up in the acclaimed Good Morning, Vietnam.
The Deluxe Restaurant has been used by at least four other film productions in less than a year, including the West Wing shoot.
Owner John Paul Yuen said Monday morning the crew filmed Mr. Williams sitting at the restaurant’s soda fountain.
“First they filmed a scene from the kitchen, then they moved to the front entranceway,” Mr. Yuen said
To read reporter Craig Campbell's reflection on meeting Robin Williams click here.