• Graveyard Shift

13 Times Robin Williams, The Nicest Guy Ever, Got Dark For A Role (And Nailed It)

List RulesVote up the performances in which going slightly sinister made Robin's roles even more memorable.

It comes as no surprise that Robin Williams has always been considered the nicest guy by his fans and costars. What may still shock casual fans, however, is that Williams played a wide range of roles during his nearly 40-year career. Not only could he improvise for hours or send viewers into spastic laughter, but he could also play serious, darker roles in films and on television.

Everyone knows about his Oscar-winning turn in Good Will Hunting as an example of his serious talent, but few recall his role in Christopher Nolan's Insomnia or as the lead in the complicated and serious The World According to Garp. Williams played a man obsessed with a family after developing their film, an author with a dark side, an everyman-turned-vigilante after the death of his family, and a host of other roles that turned his nice-guy image on its head. The darkest role isn't an easy choice, but there are several to pick from in his impressive career.

  • 5

    'World's Greatest Dad' - Lance Clayton

    After finding his son, Kyle, dead from autoerotic asphyxiation, Lance Clayton writes out a fake suicide note and stages the scene. The note finds its way into publication via the school newspaper, and Clayton is empowered by the outpouring of sympathy, as well as the quality and depth of the writing attributed to his son.

    Instead of settling for leaving his misanthrope son's legacy a little shinier, Clayton decides to pen a fake diary "written" by his son. The exploitation of his son continues to push more and more accolades Kyle's way - unearned as they are - as Clayton accumulates friends and admirers.

    Darker than expected?
  • Evan Taylor is an orphan with an unbelievable talent for music. Chasing his dream and hopefully his birth parents, Taylor finds himself in New York City. There he meets Maxwell "Wizard" Wallace, a man who surrounds himself with homeless children he teaches to busk on the streets. 

    Once he finds out about Taylor's talent, Wallace tears down missing posters of the boy and purposely stops him from meeting his biological mother. He even intends to smuggle the child throughout the country to profit from Taylor's musical gifts. Wizard is truly a villain in many ways.

    Darker than expected?
  • Rainbow Randolph is a children's show host who loses his job after being exposed as a bribe-taking alcoholic who makes shady business deals. His replacement, Sheldon Mopes as Smoochy the Rhino, becomes the target of his misplaced anger at his own failures as a human being.

    Rather than deal with his own issues, Randolph attempts to frame Mopes as a racist, break up his relationship, and maybe kill him for good measure.

    Darker than expected?
  • This film is a strange and dark journey, from Garp's conception - in which his mother takes advantage of a mentally damaged soldier - to the story's devastating ending. Throughout, Garp faces life events that might completely shatter any other person. 

    His wife is having an affair, and Garp rushes home with his children to catch her in the act. Unfortunately, his car rear-ends the one holding his wife and her lover, killing one of their sons and taking the eye of the other. The lover dies, and his wife breaks her jaw. Moments like these peppered throughout the plot make this a very different movie for Williams, but its brighter moments seem to explain why he's perfect for the role.

    Darker than expected?