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On the Dark Side Part Two

ONE HOUR PHOTO baddie Robin Williams talks fame, infatuation, and his dark side

By Pamela Harland     September 17, 2002

In his creepy new drama ONE HOUR PHOTO, Robin Williams plays Seymour (Sy) Parrish, a lonely man who becomes obsessed with a family through developing their pictures over the years. Sy's obsession gets the better of him in the dark thriller, though this is not the first time Williams has played a bad guy. In the past year he has also appeared as the heavy in both INSOMNIA and DEATH TO SMOOCHY. Today we continue our chat with the actor.

Being famous, Williams knows a thing or two about obsessions. He says most of his fans are very warm and friendly but he has, on occasion, come across those who are a little warped in their realities.

"Once in a while you'll find ones that cross the line," reveals Williams. "Then you have to find a way to have someone talk to them. But you get letters where they start talking about themselves as, 'We could be together,' or worse ones like where they become you and then you can't exist in the same universe as them, therefore you have to die. That's the worst scenario."

Robin Williams and Connie Nielsen in ONE HOUR PHOTO

In the more serious situations, Williams says, the stalker usually gives threats and clues as to his intentions, which should be taken very seriously.

"They always give out warning signs and it starts off one way and then it becomes that your family is in the way like, 'We could be together if it weren't for that bitch,' signed, 'Your Friend. I love you,' " explains Williams. "You know it's that weird thing and does it exist, yeah, it obviously exists."

In any case where someone has become obsessed with you, Williams agrees the best way to handle it is to try and stay clear of these mentally sick people. Any kind of communication or connection will only feed their behavior.

"Would I want to meet someone like Sy? No," says Williams. "Nor would I want to have dinner with Jeffrey Dahmer. Examining that behavior is really intriguing and part of it as an actor's job is to look for that stuff and as actors will say, even in Shakespeare, the great villains are fascinating. They're wonderful and there is so much to play off of because they're not bound by the normal rules they are in life. They are very normal in the way that they do it and that's what's always very disturbing about them."

The lack of roles that do interest Williams is what sparked his first stand-up HBO concert tour in years last month.

"The stand-up gave me some time to look," says Williams. "And it gives you, along with this movie, a nice mix out there. So I can take time and wait and not rush off like, 'I have to work.'"

He may have to keep waiting because his exploration into the dark side is nowhere near ending. "I'll play another bad guy in a rat second," says Williams.

Robin Williams stars in ONE HOUR PHOTO

But the Oscar-winning actor makes it known that it's not the end of the other side of this comedic genius.

"I'll play other parts," says Williams. "If it's a dark character I'll play that or if it's a sweet Ghandi on ice. It's whatever you're looking for."

Most important to Williams are the fulfilling collaborations that he finds in his work such as with INSOMNIA and ONE HOUR PHOTO.

"If you can find that right combination ... just wait for them," explains Williams. "It may be a year but f**k it, it's worth waiting for."

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at feedback@cinescape.com.

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