Marina Zenovich (‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’) on sifting through old outtakes: ‘That stuff is gold!’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

For Marina Zenovich, one of the biggest highlights of making “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind” was getting to see some lost “Mork and Mindy” outtakes: “That stuff is gold! It’s what you dream of when you’re a documentary filmmaker.” Zenovich tells us in our recent webchat (watch the video above) that they didn’t know about the footage until they started interviewing Robin Williams‘ old co-star, Pam Dawber. “She said, ‘You know, I have a blooper reel in my garage and I don’t live too far from here,’ and we were like, ‘Oh my God! We’ll come with you right now!'” Zenovich adds that in sifting through archive footage is “like a bunch of found objects and you rub them together and see what works.”

“Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind” premiered on HBO last June. It explores the life of the legendary talent through audio interviews, old performances and interviews with those that knew him. The film has been widely acclaimed with a 95% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Zenovich did another documentary for HBO 10 years ago, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” which netted her two Emmys: Nonfiction Program Writing and Nonfiction Program Directing.

While some of the people who are interviewed aren’t very surprising (including David Letterman, Billy Crystal and Eric Idle), there is one interviewee who will come as a surprise to many: Zak Williams, who is Williams’s oldest son. It was a hard ask for Zenovich to make and it took some work to get him to agree to it. Once he agreed to it though, he was ready to go and opened up completely. Zenovich remembers, “At one point I just started crying in the interview thinking how proud his dad would be of him for being the fine, young man he turned out to be. It’s really emotional and he was willing to go there.”

In her process of putting together who Williams was as a person, Zenovich found herself being repeatedly blown away by how intelligent he was. “I’ve always believed that you can’t make jokes about history unless you really understand it. That, to me, was something that I didn’t really think about and it was great to realize that he was really well-educated and knew a lot about the world.”

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