How Zelda Williams Found Humor in Trauma?

Zelda Williams, daughter of the legendary Robin Williams, reminisces about her childhood on film sets, watching her father work on iconic movies like Hook and Bicentennial Man. In contrast to her father’s bombastic humor, Zelda describes herself as having a darker sense of humor, even finding amusement in films like Hereditary.

Williams steps into the director’s chair for the first time with Lisa Frankenstein, a film set to hit theaters on Feb. 9. Penned by Diablo Cody, the movie presents the ’80s reimagining of Mary Shelley’s classic tale, with a high school outcast inadvertently reviving a Victorian corpse in a darkly comedic twist. Kathryn Newton, Carla Gugino, and Cole Sprouse star in this unique blend of horror and humor.

In a December Zoom call, Williams reveals her love for horror films and ’80s cinema, drawing inspiration from classics like Beetlejuice. She aimed to recreate that era’s unhinged, creative, and colorful spirit, challenging modern filmmaking expectations. Impressed by Williams’ commitment to the vision, Cody likens Lisa Frankenstein to the vitality of ’80s films like Weird Science.

Cody’s desire to write a “dead-boyfriend movie” found its outlet in the script for Lisa Frankenstein, and the pandemic provided the space for her creative exploration.

Williams, introduced to the script by Cody’s boyfriend without revealing Cody’s identity, was captivated by its uniqueness. Despite initial anonymity, Cody and Williams quickly formed a creative bond.

Zelda Williams Navigating Comedy and Horror

Raised in a world of comedy, Williams finds comedy scarier than horror due to heightened criticism. Reflecting on her journey, she acknowledges the challenges of comedy, emphasizing the need for confidence and empathy. Williams transitioned from acting to directing after her father’s death, using screenwriting as a therapeutic outlet.

Zelda Williams grew up in San Francisco, began acting as a child, and made her film debut in 1995. Following her father’s death, she shifted her focus to directing. Despite initial hesitations about nepotism, Cody emphasizes Williams’ comfort and competence on film sets, attributing it to her upbringing.

The Mentorship of Scott Derrickson

Williams, mentored by director Scott Derrickson, shadowed him on the set of Snowpiercer. Derrickson praises Williams’ intelligence, knowledge, and love for life, highlighting her resilience in the face of personal tragedy. Having directed music videos and indie projects, Williams expresses gratitude for Lisa Frankenstein becoming her feature directorial debut.

In a nod to her father, a rainbow-suspender-wearing character in the film pays homage to Robin Williams. Zelda acknowledges her occasional difficulty watching her father’s movies but has learned not to judge herself for seeking an “unreal version” of him.

The Perfect Fusion of Comedy and Horror

Cody notes the strong resemblance between Zelda and Robin Williams, describing Zelda as a “roadside memorial” where people bring their affection for her father to their encounters with her.

The film, centered around grief and permission to mourn, adds another layer of complexity, given Zelda’s public grieving process.

Williams crafts a perfect blend of comedy and horror with Lisa Frankenstein, showcasing her unique sense of humor shaped by personal trauma.

The film, embodying the moniker “horror sci-fi nerd,” marks the beginning of a promising career for Zelda Williams. Derrickson commends her for creating a movie that only she could envision.

Some of Zelda Williams movies and TV shows are:

  • Lisa Frankenstein
  • Shrimp
  • Locating Silver Lake
  • Girl In The Box

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