Podcast – It’s All Pretend

On July 21 2021 actor Robin Williams would have turned 70. To mark the occasion, CinePunked take a look at one of his more unusual roles – that of Sy the photo guy in One Hour Photo (2002).

Sleeve notes are below.

With Robert JE Simpson, Ben Simpson and Neil Sedgewick.

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Episode URL: https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=853190

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CinePunked S4e02 – Its All Pretend

Firstly, my apologies for the six month gap between episodes – the first half of 2021 did not go according to plan, but then neither did the second half of 2020. The Labyrinth episode has been pushed out of sequence but will be with you soon!

We’ve been itching to get back into recording the pod, and with a live event on the horizon we finally managed to assemble – albeit remotely once again, thanks to the wonders of Zoom – for a special podcast looking at one of our favourite actors, Robin Williams. We’ve recorded and released this episode to mark what would have been his 70th birthday, and at the same time to explore some of the diversity of his screen career.

We’ve talked about Robin before, and he features in the Comedy of Madness live show and podcast, and it would be very easy to steer ourselves into a discussion that was all about mental health. But its also hugely important to remember Robin’s work, which as this episode discusses, is rather more diverse than the screen image might have you think.

Alongside Ben and myself, for this episode we are joined by our friend and CinePunked regular Neil Sedgewick, who after the activities of Burn All Books is once again writing as Films and Faith

Mark Romanek’s film is a curious exploration of loneliness and photography itself, alongside a study of the pretence of relationships, and he brings out a rather more subtle performance from Robin Williams than we are used to. Its a great jumping on point for anyone more used to his comedic antics. 

During the conversation a number of observations were raised that encouraged a rewatching of the film – I love it when this happens, where in discussing the film it becomes apparent that there’s yet more to uncover. 

We recorded via Zoom in video mode. Zoom appears to have upgraded its audio recording capabilities recently, and so this episode entirely uses the zoom audio (bar the opening dialogue which I recorded direct to the desk). I’m also planning to post the video version for those who want something a little more visual, though there may be a slight delay with that – I’ll update this post once its up. This is a long chat, but I’ve left it pretty much as live. During the edit, I uncovered a couple of Robin’s interviews I hadn’t seen before, which would have fitted in well. 

The most comprehensive of these was for US broadcaster Charlie Rose in August 2002. Robin flits a lot between serious discussion and silliness. You can watch that in its entirety on Charlie’s website at: https://charlierose.com/videos/22415.


The episode contains audio clips (used within fair use provision) from the following:

One Hour Photo (dir. Mark Romanek, 2002). Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
One Hour Photo, original theatrical trailer (2002)
Robin Williams interviewed on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, first broadcast on BBC 1, 2 July 2010
Outtakes from Robin William’s recording sessions for Aladdin (Disney, 1992) sourced from YouTube

One Hour Photo is available to buy on DVD/BluRay, and also via multiple streaming services including Disney+.

Recorded during lockdown via Zoom in Comber, Dundonald and Newtownards, Northern Ireland on 14 July 2021 with our separate home studio setups. 

Engineered by Ben Simpson & Robert Simpson. Edited by Robert JE Simpson and first published on 18 July 2021.



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