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Robin Williams is part of what makes Good Will Hunting such a fantastic film. It’s hard to imagine anyone else portraying therapist Dr. Sean Maguire, a pivotal role in the project and a memorable character all around. Williams helped shape that part both with his creative energy and by ad-libbing lines.
Most Good Will Hunting fans already know how Williams went off script during the infamous scene when he discusses his wife’s nighttime flatulence. But it turns out that wasn’t Matt Damon’s favorite bit of creative genius that Williams delivered.
‘Good Will Hunting’ broke the mold for Hollywood dramas
The central theme behind Good Will Hunting wasn’t a totally new concept — after all, it wasn’t the first rags to riches, underdog story in Hollywood. But this unique script that Damon wrote during his fifth year at Harvard had so much heart and earnestness that it became a national success story.
Damon was completely unknown at the time and had to fight hard to keep his starring part as the MIT janitor who was a secret genius. Meanwhile, he based the part of Dr. Maguire on a combination of Damon’s mother and Affleck’s father.
Williams brought his own spin to the role. And he went off script enough to make the part truly unforgettable.
Fans love the story of Dr. Maguire’s wife farting
One of the funniest parts of the serious film is when Dr. Maguire is telling Will about his late wife. Damon later explained that the whole scene was ad-libbed, which is why he’s laughing so hard. Perceptive fans even notice the camera shaking because the person filming is cracking up, too.
“She used to fart in her sleep,” Williams says. “One night it was so loud it woke the dog up. She woke up and was like, ‘Oh, was that you?’ I’d go, ‘Yeah’ – I just didn’t have the heart to tell her,” he continues.
Crying while laughing, Damon asks: “That she woke herself up?”
Williams nods while both laugh even harder. It’s the perfect scene that almost never happened, but it’s not Damon’s favorite.
Matt Damon appreciated Robin Williams’ last line in ‘Good Will Hunting’
Williams ad-libbed lines in many movies he worked on, not just Good Will Hunting, and he was good at it. And while Damon enjoyed the farting bit, he was a lot more impressed by Williams adding in the last line of the movie.
In the end, Will Hunting turns down the prestigious job his professor sets up for him, opting instead to drive to California to reconnect with the woman he loves. It’s a controversial move but is ultimately realistic for the character.
“Son of a b*tch. He stole my line,” Williams says in the end, which was also an ad-lib moment. Later, Damon claims that’s his favorite of the actors’ contributions to the film. No wonder Williams won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998 for his work on the project.
Good Will Hunting wouldn’t be the same without Damon and Williams and the magic they make together on screen.
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