‘Robin Test Footage’

On October 12 and 13 2021, a video titled “Robin Test Footage” spread across social media, often described as a scene from an in-the-works biopic:

A top comment thread on the post to Reddit’s r/videos above encapsulated social media discussions about the clip, discussing the scene in the context of a potential film:

I don’t know about the script, but his impression, vocal and movement wise, are uncanny. Even if the movie blows his acting is incredible.”

“Voice is on point but some of his mannerisms and facial ticks that he’s incorporated are mind blowing”

“It was so perfect. When he says ‘last night’ is when I was convinced it was Robin. It was really Robin. His facial expressions were complete.

“He’s one of my heroes and this movie is going to make me cry, I know it.”

On Google Trends, related searches for the video registered widespread interest. In addition to “Robin Test Footage,” related searches included:

  • “Robin Williams test footage”;
  • “Robin Williams”;
  • “Robin test footage movie”;
  • “Robin movie,” and;
    “Jamie Costa ‘Robin.'”

As for the video, “ROBIN Test Footage Scene” was uploaded to YouTube by user Jamie Costa on October 11 2021. Within a day, it hit number 27 on YouTube’s “Trending” charts and topped a million views — likely bolstered in part by Williams’ stature as something of a guardian angel in internet culture:

The title “Robin Test Footage” created an early impression that the clip was part of a work-in-progress Robin Williams biopic. An October 13 2021 CNN article, “Jamie Costa’s Robin Williams impersonation leaves fans clamoring for a whole film,” reported that the clip led to interest in such a project — not that one was yet underway, or even planned:

The short film left some viewers hankering for a full biopic of Williams, who died by suicide in 2014 after battling Lewy body dementia.

“Who else has been hoping Jamie would play Robin in a biopic since you saw his first Robin impressions?” one wrote.

“It’s one thing to resemble a person but it’s how much he sounds like him and has his mannerisms and expressions down that’s so freaking impressive. I hope this movie gets made. I still feel his loss,” said another.

“This is absolutely incredible. Make this full length movie and hire this man NOW!” a third wrote.

Costa was the subject of a brief Wikipedia entry, which mentioned his impressions of Robin Williams. However, it didn’t mention the viral video or any projects to which it was attached:

James Edward Costa, known by his stage name Jamie Costa, (born May 12, 1990) is an American actor, director, producer, writer, voice actor, filmmaker, comedian, and impressionist who is best known for the likeness of Robin Williams and impressions of many characters. As of 2020, he has disabled his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social accounts, although he does frequently post on his YouTube Community Tab.

Costa’s “Robin Test Footage” clip clearly impressed social media users, and was the subject of myriad news articles. However, Costa created the clip to showcase his impressions, and we were unable to find any indication any film was yet attached to the widely viewed and praised YouTube video.