Jason Schwartzman Remembers Robin Williams: "He Was a Big Part of My Childhood"

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Talent at the Locarno film festival took a moment to remember the passing of a comedic great

LOCARNO, Switzerland – The Locarno International Film Festival hit its midweek point Tuesday, but rather than a spirit of celebration, there was a sad mood in the air. European journalists and international industry players mourned the loss of Robin Williams, shocked to wake up and hear the news of his untimely death. Celebrities in town also reflected on their memories of the actor.

Jason Schwartzman, in Locarno to promote his new indie Listen Up Philip, remembered how pivotal Williams was to the films of his youth. "For me, growing up in the '80s, he was obviously one of the titans of big movies. When I was little, those were the kind of movies you'd go and see with your family," he told THR. "He was a big part of my childhood. I was able to meet him once, a few times. One time I got to talk to him for a little bit and he was just super nice and kind. Obviously it's very sad."

Jonathan Pryce, also in town for Philip, recalled acting alongside Williams in Terry Gilliam's 1988 film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. "Robin then was just a lot of fun," he said. "We would have dinners together, the cast and Terry Gilliam, and Robin would entertain. As a comedic actor I had huge respect for him, even going way, way back to Mork & Mindy, which I think is some of his best work. It's extraordinary. It's very, very sad that he's passed."

Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian also paused to reflect on Williams, whom he considers a hero for European audiences. "Most of all, I'm sorry for the person, and we feel the loss of a great artist," said Chatrian. "I think Robin Williams made a lot of people laugh and cry. He was able to convey emotions through a wide range of films. And when these things happen it's always very difficult." Williams' psychological thriller One Hour Photo screened at the festival in 2002.