The whole thing appears to be a publicity stunt to generate interest (or investors) in a Robin Williams movie, but actor Jamie Costa’s performance will indeed give you the chills.
What appears to be a leaked “screen test” for a supposedly upcoming Robin Williams biopic called Robin is going viral, and has social media mobs demanding that the auditioner Jamie Costa be immediately cast in this role. And indeed, Costa’s performance as Tiburon product and legendary SF standup comic-turned-Hollywood star Robin Williams would lead any sensible fan to root for him getting the role. So take a look at this amazing, powerful, poignant clip, before we burst your bubble and inform you what’s really going on in this internet stunt.
The response to Costa’s “screen test,” which has racked up more than 150,000 views in less than 24 hours, has commenters clamoring that Costa be cast in the role. The Youtube comments include “When will this be in theaters?,” “If anyone was to play Robin it has to be Jamie,” and “And the oscar goes to... Jamie Costa for his role as Robin Williams in Robin."
Flippin 'eck! Test footage?! This is stunning. Jamie Costa needs to be cast in a Robin biopic asap. Genuinely thought this was the great man himself. SO GOOD.— Mitesh Soni (@MiteshSoni_1) October 12, 2021
People, this was no screen test. This is a plucky attempt to generate interest in the possibility of a Robin Williams biopic. Jamie Costa posted the clip to his Youtube channel, probably in hopes of whipping up investors, and perhaps support from the Williams family for this completely aspirational project. Costa is not auditioning for the role, he’s auditioning the idea of a Robin Williams biopic with definitely Jamie Costa in the starring role.
We have seen Jamie Costa before, doing his Vine impersonations of Robin Williams. He’s a minor Youtube star (125,000 subscribers) and he’s done a little work in TV and video game voicing, but most of his videos are unauthorized “fan films” that reference Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and comic book franchises. If Hollywood were making a Robin Williams biopic, it seems unlikely Costa would be called in to audition. But heck, this attempt at reverse-engineering his own starring role in a Robin Williams biopic could attract interest from some streaming service or indie studio in the age of internet celebrities.
But Robin Williams is a hallowed figure, and one should tread carefully with his name and likeness. The subject matter has already been capably handled in last year’s documentary Robin’s Wish, which addresses the much tougher topics of Williams’ struggles with dementia and Parkinson’s disease. His fans were furious in 2015 when a British TV show attempted a depiction of Williams’ final hours. And any project that does not have the buy-in of his widow Susan Schneider Williams or his daughter Zelda Williams is likely to be rejected by many in Williams’ legion of fans, particularly if family members hit the talk show circuit to decry it.
The scene we embedded above deals with the 1982 death of John Belushi. Costa should realize the parallel here. If he puts out a project that resembles the Bob Woodward book Wired, or its terrible and exploitive movie adaptation, getting this project greenlit could be a poisoned chalice for any of the up-and-coming entertainers involved.
Related: Watch Robin Williams Rallying The Crowd At A Giants Post-Season Game In 2010 [SFist]