Things change and nothing changes: Mrs. Doubtfire 2 debrief

I have a pretty normal routine when I get up in the morning. The dog goes outside to sniff around the yard. I do my meditation and yoga. We both have some breakfast and I make tea. Then, just before I sit down to write, I quickly check email – which usually consist of friends sending me links to farm animals on Buzzfeed and an exciting opportunity to turn my computer into a money-making machine by working from home.

But last Thursday, I woke up to an interview request from Brazil.

I figured it might be a weird day.

And it was. The Hollywood Reporter announced that Mrs. Doubtfire 2 was in development. This was the first I had heard of it. Suddenly, I was being swamped with questions about whether or not I would be involved.

But here’s the thing:

No one has asked me to be involved.

It’s kind of like going ring shopping at Tiffany’s after your first date. Everyone just needed to take a deep breath for a minute.

I’m not sure even sure how I would feel about a sequel, let alone what my feelings are about being involved. I am retired from acting – it’s not the life that I want for myself. But if my friends/former co-workers ask me to consider something, I’m going to listen to what they have to say.

And really, who knows if the film will actually make it to production, or if my character, Lydia, will actually be in it, or a zillion other things that could come up in the meantime. There is no need for decisions yet.

The most interesting thing I had planned for the week was staining our back deck, but suddenly I found myself the topic of internet chatter. On Wednesday, I was just saying stuff. On Thursday, I was “making statements.”

It got a little overwhelming with emails and unanswerable questions and interview requests, especially because my answer to everything was a legitimate, yet wide-eyed, “I don’t know.” It felt like suddenly everything in my life was changing – it was totally out of my control. Chaos was swirling around and from where I stood, this Doubtfire thing seemed to be all everyone was talking about.

So, I did what I do when I feel stressed and ungrounded. I turned off my computer and went to my volunteer job at the animal shelter. I’m always more comfortable with animals and when I can stop thinking about my life and help someone else.

When I walked into the area where I usually work, there was a woman who I had never met before. When I opened the door she turned to me with a sudden look of joyful recognition.

“Are you the one that I’ve been hearing so much about?” She asked.

My face turned red. I really wanted to stop thinking about Doubtfire 2 for just a couple of hours. I wanted to just do my regular life stuff without hearing another opinion about what it means if I do it or don’t do it. I stumbled around and said something eloquent like:

“Uhhh. Oh, I donno.”

“Yes, you are! You are the one who has been working with Pumpernickel! What’s your name?”

Pumpernickel is a cat that came into the shelter about a month ago. She weighs barely 5 pounds and had been run over by a car. The clinic saved her and she is now up for adoption. She is absolutely adorable, but she has been deeply traumatized and tends to lash out unexpectedly. Pumpernickel has been my project and I’ve been socializing her — she recently transformed from attacking anyone that got near her, to being a snuggly lap-dweller and giver of tiny kitty kisses.

The vet heard she was doing well, and came to see Pumpernickel’s caregiver and say thank you. She doesn’t know anything about my life outside the shelter, and she doesn’t give a damn about what HuffPost Live was saying.

It was one of the prouder moments of my life.

I suddenly realized – that’s the shit I want to be famous for.

My priorities snapped back into line like a well-cracked knuckle. You know where else this “news” of Doubtfire 2 didn’t matter? At my yoga studio. At the farmer’s market. With my dearest friend who, after checking to see how I was doing with it all, mostly wanted to talk about the fact that she just learned she’d been buying the wrong bra size for years.

Sometimes, it’s easy to get whipped into a frenzy over entertainment news – especially when it involves being misrepresented in an Us Weekly headline. But the truth is, it doesn’t really change anything.

We all have those distractions that threaten to take over our lives. Those moments of drama where it appears that something is important just because everyone else is throwing their opinions around. That moment doesn’t have to define you. It’s can be interesting, sure. But it doesn’t need to displace the real things. It doesn’t need to become something bigger and better than the priorities you intentionally set for your life.

Whatever the outcome of this whole Doubtfire 2 thing – I’m still the same person who giggles at Buzzfeed lists, knows a lot about her friend’s new bra and tries to convince Pumpernickel to not scratch someone’s eyes out.

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41 thoughts on “Things change and nothing changes: Mrs. Doubtfire 2 debrief

  1. Great blog post! Life is all about perspective, and you clearly have that. As far as the Mrs. Doubtfire 2 firestorm is concerned, whatever your choice might be (assuming that the movie is made), it will all work out okay! No one else’s opinion matters, though, other than your own and your husband’s, and if the two of you are at peace with your choice, that’s what’s most important.

      • Your blog shows that you are succeeding in your goal–please keep it up!

        And, please allow me to echo the thanks on my part for your blog and for your work at the animal shelter. We have two rescue dogs currently, so I appreciated anyone who helps save and care for innocent, abandoned or abused animals!

  2. Your life sounds so pleasant and fulfilling the way it is now, I can’t imagine jumping back into all that Hollywood chaos. Good luck with the decision, if you end up having a decision to make. Maybe Lydia had a complete personality change and she’ll now be played by Lindsay Lohan. In other news… Yay for Pumpernickel’s progress! Animal caregiver is always a role worth pursuing. ;)

  3. I too heard last week that robin williams was considering looking at a DOUBTFIRE 2. While it may be great, i agree with you that there are so many considerations in the interim if it even gets to production after 20 years. Probably one of the best things might be a possible reunion of you, mara and matt. So if this materializes and there is an invitation this could be exciting for you. And if it doesnt, you have a great life and Pumpernickel awaits you, along with the yoga studio and farmers market etc…..

    • Thank you, Mark. It would be wonderful to have the three of us get together again. Sadly, I haven’t seen Matt since the premiere of the movie…

  4. It is nice when you can find a spot to go and let things sort themselves out. Whether it’s by writing, gardening, taking a long drive. Something you can get lost in for a while.

    • I love that feeling of losing track of time because you’re totally in the zone…. I’m convinced that letting go is the key to living a good life.

  5. Hi Lisa

    How are you? Can I maybe ask you 46 questions about Mrs. Doubtfire? It’ll only take a minute.

    Just kidding! :-) I hope you laughed. It was supposed to be funny. Please don’t throw a shoe.

    I started reading your blog only a couple weeks ago. Your writing is funny, smart, and insightful. You speak your truth, and that’s refreshing. Plus, I live in Toronto, and it’s great to see a homegirl do well. :-)

    I thought I wanted to be a fiction writer for the longest time. Until last fall. Then, four sessions into a *really good* online short fiction course (Story Is a State of Mind, created by Sarah Selecky), I realized, Nope, this isn’t it. I’m not feeling compelled to tell made-up stories in a novel or short fiction format. It’s too confining. In fact, graphic novels really appeal to me. And stuff like the Oatmeal and Hyperbole and a Half.

    The way you write, and what you write about, inspires me to get back to my own writing. But writing MY way. Like a well-edited diary entry. Maybe I’ll add poorly drawn images.

    So I’m grateful to you for putting your work into the world and providing me with the spark to say something meaningful.

    What do you hope to work on writing wise after the memoir gets published?

    Be well,
    Masha

    • Thank you so much for this. I LOVE H&1/2!! I’m so thrilled that you have found inspiration in some of my work. Nothing feels more rewarding to a writer than that!
      I’ve got a few ideas that I’m mulling around for the next project. Nothing set yet, but several topics I’m dying to dive into.
      Now – go, be brave and send those words into the world. Write, write and write some more. And keep me posted.
      ~L

  6. The strange and sometimes wonderous thing about life is that you CAN be all those people. And a wife and lover, occasional-pedicure-party-goer, even a secret curling fan (though one hopes not…curling, as Bob Heinlein said about writing, “…is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”).

    So IMNSHO you can acknowledge the girl-who-was-an-actress as part of you, but not ALL of you and fell perfectly comfortable about that. It’s the other people, the ones who assume that that person is still you, that need to get over themselves.

    Lovely little piece, BTW. And congratulations on the kitty-snuggling.

    • You are totally right – we can be a million things all at once. No need to pick just one thing as your defining label for all time.
      And I love that quote. Maybe because my dad is a fan of curling. :)
      Thanks so much for the comment.

  7. The universe has a way of coming to the rescue when you most need it. Especially, when events/distractions seem to be tugging you in 50 directions you really don’t want to go.

  8. I just really want to say thank you for the work you are doing at the animal shelter. Not many people would choose to help animals rather than themselves. xxx

  9. What a fabulous story, and great reminder for all of us. Whether the gossip machine is the Hollywood Reporter or the office grapevine, it doesn’t matter what other people say about us. It matters what we do when presented with the Pumpernickels of the world.

  10. Nicely said. It’s great that people in your “circle” are not so worried about the sequel, it should be like this, if you’re happy the way things are, then they should be happy and proud of you no matter what! Keep smiling and doing what makes you happy!

  11. Animal shelters are great places to volunteer. They also make me rather sad, since I live somewhere where I can’t adopt. There was an older kitty last time I was in, she was maybe 12 or 13 years old. She saw my friend and walked over the counter right into her arms and snuggled up like a baby being held.

    Good on you for helping out with the kitty there!

  12. Hi Lisa,

    Here in Brazil there hasn´t been any rumors about MrsDF 2. Very strange.
    Probably the reporter was on vacation here and wanted that exclusive interview, or it is a sunday evening show called ‘Fantastico’. :)
    Anyway… all the Pumpernickels of the world thank you for your work!

    All the best!

  13. I think the only reason to do that movie is that the managers of showbusiness think it’s funny to see again Mr. R. Williams in old lady clothes. “Oh, I’m sure Joe Nobody is eager to spend good money on that movie”.
    Forget it. You have a nice thing going on.
    Here in México, most films are dubbed. One unknow actor dubbed the Shrek voice some time ago. He did an excellent work. He get kind of famous.
    In early 2014 the producers of “Shrek: The Musical” get in touch with this actor. He was a little thorn about doing an audition for the part. In the end, he didn’t show up. Most people applaude that decision.

  14. So I was watching this old episode of Friday the 13th (The Playhouse) today and I thought the actress in it looked familiar. Randomly stumbled upon your blog after learning it was you and I’m glad I did. Thanks for the great post reminding us how important it is to take stock of what’s really important in life. As a thirty-year-old woman, I’m still looking for what I want to do above all else. You seem to be quite the writer and actress, but it looks like you’ve already found your purpose in life. If you ever want to do something else, too, I’m sure you’d be great at it!

    • That’s so nice, thank you! I think that looking for what you want is a constant process, so I’m sure you will find it when you are ready. Thanks so much for reading and all the very best to you.

  15. Hands down Lisa! Very well said. I know how you feel and I am pretty sure that what you decide will be the best decision.

  16. The craziness of modern technology really is more apparent than ever, Lisa! I hate the way not checking social media and turning off your phone makes you feel like you’ve lost a limb until suddenly, you realise ‘getting back to basics’ and how everything was ‘pre-iPhone’ era is actually very serene and perfect. I used to volunteer at an animal shelter. Those little bundles of fluff are the best non-judgemental friends one can ever meet… They also don’t complain when trying your best to sing your heart out :-) Great blog, Lisa! x

  17. Just sat watching Mrs Doubtfire with my partner over the pond when I randomly suddenly turned to her and said “I wonder what the girl who played Lydia is up to nowadays? I had a massive crush on her as a kid!” and then a quick Google search brought up your blog. It’s interesting to read that you’re retired now from acting and also volunteer at a local animal rescue. Think a sequel would be the worst thing they could do. I don’t know how they’d fit all the original cast members in (Mrs Doubtfire would surely have died now?) and a remake would just spoil it. Robin Williams was one of my favourite actors as a youngster

  18. Appreciating the dedication you put into your website and in depth information you offer.
    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material.

    Gresat read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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