Robin Williams Memorial Screening: HOOK

Director Steven Spielberg
Year 1991
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Maggie Smith, Bob Hoskins, Caroline Goodall.
Rating PG
Run Time 144min
Age Policy

18 and up; Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian. No children under the age of 6 will be allowed.

More Info IMDb

How big a deal was Steven Spielberg's HOOK when it was filming in 1991? Stars like Michelle Pfeiffer, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Warren Beatty, Mel Gibson and Prince came to visit the set, just to get a sneak preview of Spielberg's Neverland.

At the time, HOOK ranked just behind TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY as the most expensive film ever produced, so expectations were understandably sky-high. This whimsical sequel to PETER PAN featured Dustin Hoffman as the malicious Captain Hook, Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter Pan and Julia Roberts, then the hottest name in the business, as Tinkerbell.

The screenplay by  Jim V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo tapped into the then-trendy topic of getting in touch with your inner child. Peter has become a real estate kingpin who has forgotten the magical powers he once possessed and the adventures he used to enjoy. he has married the granddaughter (Caroline Goodall) of his former companion, Wendy (Maggie Smith). When Peter's children are abducted by vengeful Captain Hook and Tinkerbell summons Peter to Neverland, it's a difficult journey for the uptight Peter to re-learn how to be a free spirit.

For Roberts, who had skyrocketed to the heights of Hollywood a year earlier in PRETTY WOMAN, the timing of HOOK was terrible. Only days before she was to begin filming, her engagement to her FLATLINERS co-star Kiefer Sutherland fell apart. Her co-stars could not offer much comfort because the majority of Roberts' performance was done entirely alone, against a blank screen; when Hoffman, Williams and the rest of the actors were supposed to be engaging with Tinkerbell, they were actually performing with a doll that stood in for Roberts, who was inserted into the scenes in post-production. Roberts was bedeviled by rumors that Spielberg was going to replace her and that her personal problems were sinking the movie. Eventually, Spielberg and Roberts held a joint press conference to refute the gossip, although Spielberg would later tell a 60 Minutes interviewer that he did not ever plan to work with Roberts again.

The movie was also a major event for Hoffman, who had taken home a best actor Oscar for RAIN MAN in 1988, only to star in back-to-back bombs: FAMILY BUSINESS, with Matthew Broderick and Sean Connery, and BILLY BATHGATE, with Loren Dean and Nicole Kidman. HOOK represented a chance to regain his box-office standing in a flashy, flamboyant part. According to reports, he and Williams engaged in a bit of thespian rivalry between takes. David Speaker, who played one of the pirates, told People Magazine that one day, "Robin flubbed his lines, and Dustin looked straight into the camera and shrugged, 'What can you expect from Mork?' "Williams had his revenge when he completely the next take flawlessly, "then looked into the camera and whispered, 'ISHTAR is on television tonight.' " (James Sanford)

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