Bradley Pierce fondly recalls Robin Williams defending him and Kirsten Dunst on-set while filming Jumanji

Bradley Pierce fondly recalls Robin Williams defending him and Kirsten Dunst on-set while filming Jumanji

“He (Robin) said, ‘No, we are not doing any extra time. You’re going to let everybody out now and we’re going to come back next week.”

The death of Robin Williams eight years ago shocked the entertainment industry to its core. The Dead Poet Society actor died on August 11, 2014, at the age of 63.

Jumanji, the 1995 hit co-starring Bonnie Hunt and Jonathan Hyde, was one of Williams' most appreciated movies. It also starred Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce, who were child actors at the time. In 2020, during the celebration of the film's 25th anniversary, Pierce revealed how Williams had defended him from overbearing producers, per Independent.



Jumanji follows two kids whose universes clash with Alan Parrish played by Williams, who got sucked into the magical board game as a little boy. 

Pierce, now 39, told CBC Listen revisited a sequence in the film where the game, which turns his character into a monkey, unleashes monsoon all over the planet. He was 13 at the time water kept getting into his elaborate makeup which made the filming difficult for him.

He remembers that the shooting for this particular sequence lasted seven to eight days. One particular day they were in the water for close to eight hours which “was really draining for everybody.” Dunst and he too were “tired” and Pierce “couldn’t breathe through my nose.” 



Neglecting the legal requirements about the number of work hours for which child actors could be on the set, the producers tried to get the children to work overtime. They reached out to the parents of the child actors asking if there was any way the kids could "do a little bit of overtime to get it done." Pierce said, "That’s not uncommon at all in the industry because it literally saves $100,000 (£73,000) plus to do that extra half hour rather than a whole day.”

When Williams “caught wind of these conversations” he “pulled the director [Joe Johnston] and producers aside” and told them that this wouldn't happen.

“He said, ‘No, we are not doing any extra time. You’re going to let everybody out of the pool now and we’re going to come back next week.’ For all the dollars that would have cost, nobody would have stood up the way he did. In addition to being warm, generous, and kind, he was also very protective of all of us.”

"He had very caring and fatherly kind of aspects to him," Pierce added fondly recalling, "He told everybody, we are done for the day. It's time to get ready to go home." 



Pierce also had to reach the sets early because his monkey makeup was a long process that would take him close to three and a half hours. On many mornings, it was only the makeup artist, the assistant director, and Pierce. Some mornings, Williams would "show up" two hours before he was set to be there ad hang out with everyone in the makeup trailer telling stories about his experiences with makeup while shooting Mrs. Doubtfire



"That's just the kind of guy he was. He wanted all the people around him to be happy, and comfortable. And it meant a lot to me because for a 12- or 13-year-old boy sitting in a makeup chair for three hours first thing in the morning — this guy who is an amazing professional that everybody admires and understands what sitting in a makeup chair for two hours before anyone else on set really feels like, and he was just there hanging out trying to make me feel better," Pierce said.

"Robin is known for being always in character and always on. He is an amazing actor and there is this persona that he is able to put up on-screen. But there is a Robin Williams that I was lucky enough to get to know. And that is the Robin Williams off-screen," Pierce said missing the wonderful person that Williams was. 

Cover Image Source: (L) IMDb/ Jumanji (R) Getty Images/ Stephen Shugerman

Recommended for you