The Producers fucking rocked. I am not normally a huge fan of musicals, but when the musical in question was written by Mel Brooks I can’t say no. If you think about it, every Mel Brooks movie has musical-esque scenes, my favorite probably being “The Inquisition” scene from History of the World Part I.
The Producers is one of those unique movies that started out as a movie in the late 60s, then went on to be a very successful Broadway musical and has now been brought back to the big screen. One of the interesting things about the movie is that nearly the entire original cast from the Broadway show made the transition to the movie. The only two actors who were not part of the musical cast are Will Ferrel and Uma Thurman.
Will Ferrel was absolute fucking hilarity in his part as Franz Liebkind, the Nazi playwright who penned the play that the movie centers on. The real star of the show, though was Gary Beach, who played the flamboyantly gay director-cum-hitler Roger De Bris who, with his sassy common law cohort Carmen Ghia (Roger Bart), had the audience in tears along with their merry production team.
After the free show (thanks Variety and The Arclight) Susan Stroman, the director of both the movie and the broadway show talked with a moderator (who’s name escapes me at the moment) and then answered questions from the audience:
- Yes there are real pigeons in the movie, but the ones that dance and zig-heil are Jim Henson created puppets (you will notice they look familiar) which were operated by 6 puppeteers and a choreographer
- The voices of the pigeons (they laugh) and the cat (it cries while being swung around) are Mel Brooks, who also makes a cameo after the final credits, which is worth sticking around for.
- All the songs from the music made it into the movie except for the first number, which was filmed, and will end up on the DVD
- Almost all of the dance numbers take advantage of head-to-toe shots which is really not very common when you have actors dancing. They really captured the action nicely
- Uma Thurman and Wil Ferrel spent 7 weeks in voice and dance training for the movie, Uma did especially well and Stroman attributed her aptitude for learning to her training for the Kill Bill movies where she learned martial arts and sword fighting
If and when you go to see this movie, make sure to pay attention to the Musical posters in Max Bialystock’s office, I especially enjoyed the King Leer poster.
Btw in the previous posts about the Variety screening, folks had commented that the shows were only open to Guild members, which is total nonsense. I have absolutely no Hollywood connections and had no trouble getting in, although for some reason they didn’t let me bring in my HD video camera.