In a recent piece for our sister publication The Hollywood Reporter, Benjamin Svetkey provided the most complete account yet of the epic, days-long acting workshop conducted in 2001 by Marlon Brando.
A number of celebrities attended, including Robin Williams, and during a June 29 event at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York for which Time editor Nancy Gibbs interviewed Charlie Rose, a clip from Rose’s December 2009 PBS interview with Williams was played. In the clip, the actor recalls the acting workshop and Brando telling him: “You know, if I ever did a movie with you, it’d be really hard, because I’d be laughing all the time.”
Rose said that getting to speak with people like Williams is a perfect example of why he loves his job(s):
“It’s one of the great joys of what I do, at all the jobs that I have… is just to be able to range over the landscape of human endeavor, and human curiosity, and this is one of my favorite people. And I was so sad [when Williams died]… He was a talent that I have never seen the like. There was no one as brilliant at improvisation.”
From there, Rose pulled out a piece of paper on which he had written his “mega” interview questions, the safety-net queries he might use if all else fails. In the case of Williams of course, an interviewer doesn’t really need questions. At one point in the highlighted 2009 clip, Rose began to recall going to Brando’s Mulholland Drive house for dinner. Before the host could finish the sentence, Williams was off to the improvisational races, sketching out what TV series The Odd Couple might have looked like if it had starred Brando, hilltop neighbor Jack Nicholson and Brando’s dog.