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USA: Universal Studios
UK: Sony Pictures Releasing
Cast: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Will Ferrell, Gary Beach, Roger Bart, Jon Lovitz, Andrea Martin, Debra Monk, Jason Antoon, Fred Applegate, John Barrowman, Robert Bartley, James Biberi, Robert Bizik, Randy Blair, Jim Borstelmann, David Brown, Teddy Coluca, Jennifer Lee Crowl, Scott Davidson, Colleen Dunn, Kathy Fitzgerald, Gary Franco, Steve Geary, Ethan B Goldman, Mary Ann Hannon, Mike Jackson, Rhonda Kaufman, Sebastian Lacause, Mark Ledbetter, Kevin Ligon, Rich Lounello, Pete Macnamara, Daniel Mastrogiorgio, Riley G Matthews Jr, Dolores McDougal, Cody Melton, Stephanie Michels, Brad Oscar, Chris Michael Peterson, Jerry Richardson, Al D Rodriguez, Jai Rodriguez, Brian Rogalski, Joe Rosario, Luke Rosen, Roland Rusinek, Matt Semino, Jimmy Smagula, Jeremy J Sullivan, Stewart Summers, Sonny Vellozzi, Victor Yerrid, Dianne Zaremba, Karen Ziemba
Director: Susan Stroman
USA & UK: 134 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for sexual humor and references
UK Certificate: 12A contains moderate language and sex references
USA Release Date: 25 December 2005
USA Release Date: 16 December 2005 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 26 December 2005
"First it was a movie, then it was a Broadway musical. Now it's going to be a Broadway musical movie. I think the next thing will probably be claymation." -Mel Brooks
From the brilliantly twisted mind of Mel Brooks comes a scheme so clever, so bold and so disturbingly simple that it can't possibly go wrong:
Step One: You start with Broadway's smash hit The Producers—The New Mel Brooks Musical, winner of a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards, and based on Mel Brooks' Oscar®-winning 1968 film THE PRODUCERS.
Step Two: You have two major film studios - Columbia Pictures and Universal Pictures - join forces to bring the musical play to the big screen.
Step Three: You enlist the phenomenal Susan Stroman, winner of five Tony Awards, including two for directing and choreographing The Producers—The New Mel Brooks Musical on Broadway, to make her motion picture directorial debut with the film version.
Step Four: You bring the original Tony Award-winning stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, back to recreate their signature roles and surround them with two of Hollywood's biggest talents, Academy Award® nominee Uma Thurman and comic superstar Will Ferrell.
And before you can say "Step Five," you have the makings of the big, fun-filled, laugh-a-minute musical movie event audiences have been waiting for: The Producers.
Only one person in the world could have conceived of such a plan: the incomparable Mel Brooks, whose fabulous career comes full circle with this new film version of THE PRODUCERS. Brooks was already a television veteran when he made his feature film directorial and writing debut with The Producers in 1968. The modestly budgeted comedy, starring Broadway favorite Zero Mostel and a newcomer named Gene Wilder, became a sleeper hit and earned Brooks an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay. At the time, movie audiences were shocked at the sheer audacity of the film's premise involving fading theatrical producer Max Bialystock (Mostel) and timid, neurotic accountant Leo Bloom (Wilder), who conspire to intentionally produce a Broadway flop in order to bilk the show's backers out of millions of dollars. The film has since become a classic.
Fast forward to 2001, when Brooks, having spent 30 years creating such comic masterpieces as BLAZING SADDLES, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, HIGH ANXIETY, SILENT MOVIE and SPACEBALLS, became the toast of Broadway with his stage musical of The Producers—with an original score by Brooks, book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan (ANNIE, HAIRSPRAY) and choreography and direction by Susan Stroman (CONTACT, CRAZY FOR YOU). The show's stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, both of whom had already scored successfully in movies and on Broadway in both plays and musicals—winning Tony Awards along the way—saw their careers soar to dazzling new heights in the career-defining roles of Bialystock and Bloom. The Producers was nominated for 14 Tony Awards and won 12, more than any other show in Broadway history. It received Tonys in each category it was nominated, including three for Brooks—for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book of a Musical.
A few years later, when serious conversations started taking place about a film version of the musical, Brooks was adamant that as many as possible of the talents responsible for the success of the original Broadway production would return for the film version.
Synopsis and musical numbers
It's 1959, and Broadway is buzzing with some of the theater world's biggest names. Producer Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane), however, is no longer one of them ("Opening Night"). One day, mousy accountant Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) shows up at Bialystock's office to do his books and innocently remarks that, under the right circumstances, a dishonest man could make more money producing a flop than a hit show. Immediately, a light bulb goes off in Bialystock's head, and he tries to persuade the reluctant Bloom to join him in his perfect plan to embezzle a fortune by producing a sure-fire Broadway misfire and then skip town with the cash ("We Can Do It"). Unsure, Bloom returns to his dismal job and fantasizes about a much more glamorous life ("I Wanna Be A Producer"). Deciding he's had enough, he seizes the day and becomes Bialystock's partner in crime.
Searching for the ultimate bad play, Max and Leo discover "the mother lode," a musical entitled Springtime for Hitler—A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva in Berchesgarten. They decide to pay the playwright, Franz Liebkind (Will Ferrell), a visit on his Greenwich Village rooftop. Before he will agree to let Bialystock and Bloom produce his play, however, the Nazi-loving Liebkind insists the two would-be producers join him in celebrating the Aryan way of life ("Der Guten Tag Hop Clop") and forces them to pledge allegiance to Hitler.
Having sealed the deal on what they are convinced is the worst play ever written, Bialystock and Bloom embark upon securing the most appropriately untalented director. Upon entering the piss-elegant apartment of Roger DeBris (Gary Beach) and his common-law assistant Carmen Ghia (Roger Bart), the duo finds that DeBris and company are reluctant to take on such serious subject matter ("Keep It Gay") until the producers convince them that, in their hands, Springtime for Hitler could bring the director the respect and prestige (read: Tony) of which he's always dreamed.
When blonde Swedish bombshell Ulla (Uma Thurman) shows up at the office looking to audition ("When You Got It, Flaunt It"), Bialystock and Bloom hire her on the spot for the chorus. Until rehearsals, the panting duo agree that she'll work as their secretary / slash / receptionist. In order to raise the two million dollars needed to "fund" the play, Bialystock must pay a visit to his demanding benefactors - hundreds of sex-starved little old ladies across Manhattan ("Along Came Bialy"). Meanwhile, the girl-shy Bloom becomes hopelessly smitten with Ulla ("That Face") and is surprised to find that the attraction is quite mutual.
Auditioning actors to star as the Fuhrer proves frustrating for all involved in the production, particularly the musical's author, who perfectly demonstrates the way the role should be performed ("Haben Sie Gehurt Das Deutsche Band?") and proves he's the only man for the job. Right before the opening night performance, after a lively discussion of theater-world superstitions ("You Never Say Good Luck on Opening Night"), Bialystock and Bloom are horrified when their playwright-turned-leading man literally breaks a leg. The show must go on, however, and luckily director Roger DeBris knows all the character's lines. In the great tradition of backstage musicals, the starring role in the show goes to this last-minute substitute.
At first, the audience is horrified by Springtime for Hitler, but once the leading man appears as a fey Hitler ("Heil Myself"), they realize that this is not a show they should take seriously and begin to eat it up. When their surefire flop is hailed as a hit, the partners have a serious disagreement about what to do next. Bloom wants them to turn themselves in, while Bialystock has other ideas. As they argue, DeBris and Ghia show up at the office, ready to celebrate, only to have a deranged Liebkind arrive brandishing a gun...eager to kill all of them for denigrating the memory of his beloved Hitler. Hearing gunshots as they arrive on the scene, the police cart Liebkind away. Before they leave, however, they notice two sets of accounting books, one marked "Show to the IRS" and the other marked "Never Show to the IRS." They promptly arrest Bialystock, but Bloom escapes the raid while hidden behind the office door.
When Ulla enters and finds Bloom hiding, she convinces him to take the money and disappear with her to Rio. In his jail cell, Bialystock is surprised to receive a postcard from Brazil, and it sends him off the deep end ("Betrayed"). At Bialystock's trial, Bloom and Ulla suddenly appear ("'Til Him"), just in time for the judge to pronounce both Bialystock and Bloom guilty. Incarcerated in Sing Sing, they, along with Liebkind, produce a brand new musical with a cast of inmates titled Prisoners of Love. Pardoned by the governor "for having, through song and dance, brought joy and laughter into the hearts of every murderer, rapist and sex maniac in Sing Sing," Bialystock and Bloom take the show to Broadway, where they go on to produce hit after hit after hit.