A remake of La Cage aux Folles (1978), The Birdcage starred Robin Williams as a gay cabaret owner, and Nathan Lane as his drag queen partner. Mike Nichols and Elaine May were an influential improv comedy duo in the 1950s and 1960s who both achieved fame individually in feature films. Hank Azaria, Dan Futterman, and Robin Williams in The Birdcage (1996). On his 30th birthday, Azaria worked on Michael Mann's Heat (1995) until 6 a.m., then headed to The Birdcage set. Director Mike Nichols and wife Diane Sawyer attend the New York City premiere of The Birdcage in 1996.