Rebel Wilson credits Robin Williams with encouraging her to take on more dramatic acting roles. In her upcoming memoir, Rebel Rising, the Pitch Perfect star recalls her first meeting with the beloved comedian and actor.

“My most memorable chat with a male comedy great was with the incomparable Robin Williams (although meeting Mel Brooks in London is a close second!)” Wilson, 44, writes in her book, which is set for release on April 2. “We were on the set of Night at the Museum and it was the middle of the night in cold, wintry London … He told me that he saw something in my acting that made him think that I’d be excellent at drama as well as comedy. Wow, what a compliment coming from him.”

Wilson and Williams worked together on Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb, which was released in theaters in December 2014 — five months after Williams’ death by suicide at 63 years old. Wilson previously spoke about the impact her first conversation with Williams had on her career path in a 2022 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“I wanted to chat with him but had always tried to be respectful and not bother him. We sat for about 40 or 45 minutes in between turnarounds of the camera and he said that I should be doing drama,” she explained. “I was surprised because I don’t know how he watched that scene I just did and thought I should be doing drama but he said: ‘You should 100 percent be doing drama as well’. It really stuck with me.”

Wilson, who went on to star in the drama The Almond and the Seahorse, added, “I always thought, if Robin Williams thought I could do it, then I may as well give it a try.”

Rebel Wilson Recalls Meeting 'Incomparable' Robin Williams
Getty Images

Williams was found dead in his home in Paradise Cay, California, on August 11, 2014. An autopsy report later confirmed that his death was a suicide and that alcohol and illegal drugs were not involved. The Mrs. Doubtfire star had been battling anxiety and depression following his misdiagnosis of Parkinson’s disease a few months before his death. An examination of Williams’ brain tissue revealed that he actually suffered from “diffuse Lewy body dementia,” a type of brain disease that affected the actor’s thinking, memory and movement.

Ahead of Night at the Museum 3’s release, Wilson recalled becoming emotional at one of Williams’ scenes in the movie where his character, a wax figure of Theodore Roosevelt, gave a speech before his untimely death.

“It’s just so emotional because in the movie his character knows he’s not going to be alive the next day and he gives this speech and it was just me and my assistant Katie just sitting in this screening room just crying,” she said on Australian radio station KIIS FM in October 2014. “It’s super, super emotional.”

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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