Conan O’Brien To Celebrate Sid Caesar With Guest Mel Brooks

By | Friday February 14, 2014 @ 9:56am PST

Conan O’Brien will devote most of his TBS show Tuesday to guest Mel Brooks, who will conan logotalk about close friend Sid Caesar, who died this week at age 91. Brooks famously worked with Caesar on historically significant … Read More »

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Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond, Episode 30

By | Thursday June 13, 2013 @ 5:18pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Listen to (and share) episode 30 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about the fevered campaign attending the opening week of Emmy nominations voting; Behind The Candelabra, The Bible and other contenders for Emmy Best Movie or Miniseries; Mel Brooks and his AFI Lifetime Achievement Award; and the week’s notable movies, led by one Man Of Steel, along with the apocalyptic comedy This Is The End and two terrific specialty-market releases, Sofia Coppola’s tale of true crime and celebrity culture The Bling Ring and a fine look at the backing singers for countless rock music hits, 20 Feet From Stardom.

Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 30 (MP3 format)
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AFI Honors “Art And Farts” Of American Film With Laugh-Filled Mel Brooks Tribute

Pete Hammond

It was completely appropriate that AFI‘s 41st Life Achievement Award honoree Mel Brooks made his entrance at the Dolby Theatre to the Steven Sondheim song, “Comedy Tonight”.  It set the tone immediately for a very different evening than any that had come before at this annual event. Look at the list of the 40 previous AFI honorees, and there’s not a single solely comedic filmmaker or actor in the whole bunch. Yes, there are some — like Billy Wilder, Mike Nichols, Shirley MacLaine and Tom Hanks — who have made a few classic comedies but no one whose whole screen career is built on laughs. The AFI finally corrected that glaring omission Thursday night.

“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the American Film Institute honors the art — and the farts — of American film,”  said AFI Board Of Trustees Chair Sir Howard Stringer in welcoming the star-studded crowd. “When I telephoned Mel to tell him the AFI had voted him in as the 2013 recipient, he responded instantly, ‘What took you so long?’ Fair enough. Comedy is routinely short-changed at many awards ceremonies , particularly the Oscars. It is often said comedy is harder than drama because funny is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. That makes  Mel, without question, Hollywood’s principal lightning conductor.” Read More »

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Martin Scorsese To Present Mel Brooks With AFI Award

By | Monday May 20, 2013 @ 7:43am PDT

Los Angeles, CA, Monday May 20, 2013 – Martin Scorsese will present Mel Brooks with the American Film Institute’s 41st Life Achievement Award – America’s highest honor for a career in film. The private black tie gala will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on June 6

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Hot TV Teaser: American Masters Docu ‘Mel Brooks: Make A Noise’

By | Thursday April 25, 2013 @ 1:26pm PDT

American Masters documentary Mel Brooks: Make A Noise premieres May 20 on PBS. Here’s a clip in which Brooks talks about his 1970 classic, The Twelve Chairs, which screens tomorrow at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. The filmmaker will be on hand for a discussion of … Read More »

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Philip Roth & Mel Brooks Swap Stories, Talk Jewish Writers On PBS Panel: TCA

By | Monday January 14, 2013 @ 7:51pm PST

Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Two venerable creative forces held journalists enthralled for more than an hour and a half – no easy task – at today’s TCA PBS panel. Novelist Philip Roth, who turns 80 in March, and Mel Brooks, 86, are both subjects of upcoming American Masters documentaries this year (Philip Roth: Unmasked premieres March 29 and Mel Brooks: Make a Noise premieres May 20).

Mel Brooks showed up late, so the session began with Roth, speaking via satellite. Introducing the two artists, American Masters series creator and executive producer Susan Lacey said that the Roth documentary is the first film biography of Roth.

The two men spoke separately, but both addressed the issue of whether or not they considered themselves “Jewish” writers. Both said no. “I don’t write in Jewish, I write in American,” Roth said. He said he considers himself a “regionalist” when it comes to his work. “Bellow and Faulkner were regionalists, they write about the place they come from. So did Joyce,” said Roth. “I write about the locale I come from, and that particular locale was full of Jews, including me and my family.”

Brooks started out with a Jewish joke of sorts: “I’m not such a comedy giant, I’m 5-foot-6″, he said. “There are guys who aren’t as funny, but they’re taller.” He said growing up he once heard his mother talking to his friend about a woman leaving her husband. “She said: ‘How could she leave him? He was so tall,’ ” Brooks recounted. “This is the way Jews think.”

Related: ‘Blazing Saddles’ Mel Brooks’ Next Broadway Musical? Maybe: TCA Read More »

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‘Blazing Saddles’ Mel Brooks’ Next Broadway Musical? Maybe: TCA

By | Monday January 14, 2013 @ 4:02pm PST

At a PBS panel on the American Masters series, Mel Brooks — the subject of an upcoming documentary — said that he is thinking about turning his movie Blazing Saddles into his next Broadway musical. … Read More »

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Mel Brooks, David Lynch Receive Honorary Degrees At AFI Commencement

By | Wednesday June 13, 2012 @ 5:25pm PDT
Pete Hammond

June is  the season for graduations around the nation and the American Film Institute is no different. After handing out their 40th Life Achievement Award less than a week ago to Shirley MacLaine today the focus was on those just embarking on a … Read More »

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AFI Degrees To Mel Brooks & David Lynch

By | Tuesday May 29, 2012 @ 6:33pm PDT

LOS ANGELES, CA, May 29, 2012 – The American Film

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Q&A: Brian Grazer And Ron Howard On 25 Years Together As Imagine Partners

Mike Fleming

UPDATE EXCLUSIVE: Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have reached a milestone unusual in Hollywood: partners for 25 years. When they first got together, Grazer was a TV producer. Howard, after growing up on the small screen in The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, had only directed a couple of TV movies and the low budget Roger Corman-produced Grand Theft Auto. Grazer and Howard have been at it together ever since, building a company that over 25 years has been one of the most consistent generators of content. Their TV series output includes 24, Parenthood, Arrested Development and Friday Night Lights; their movies have grossed $13.5 billion worldwide. That includes A Beautiful Mind, which won Howard the Academy Award for Best Director. Grazer and Howard shared Best Picture Oscars that night as well. Not everything they’ve done has succeeded, of course. They they took their company public and repurchased the shares; they helped launched and fold the online venture Pop.com; their most recent film together, the adult comedy The Dilemma, was a misfire that created controversy over the inclusion of the word “gay” in a trailer. They’ve had way more hits than misses.

In honor of Imagine’s Silver Anniversary, Deadline invited Howard and Grazer to look back over their quarter century together, and into a future that includes something never tried before by anyone in Hollywood. They’re adapting Stephen King’s 7-novel series The Dark Tower into a film trilogy, and a limited run TV series in between. It has pushed the envelope enough that their longtime home studio, Universal  Pictures, postponed a planned late summer start until next year and asked the filmmakers to cut the budget. Some question the studio’s resolve on such a massive undertaking. The studio has to green light the film by next month or the rights revert to Imagine, Akiva Goldsman and King, who are determined to make it regardless.

DEADLINE: Not many marriages of any kind last 25 years in Hollywood. What is most important about the anniversary?
HOWARD: It’s such a challenging time to get movies made. And yet, look at all we have coming out. Tower Heist, the Gus Van Sant movie Restless, J Edgar with Clint Eastwood and Leo DiCaprio, Cowboys & Aliens, this big broad appeal four quadrant fantasy adventure story with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. With The Playboy Club getting on the air, and Parenthood getting picked up, I’m proud we’re doing what we’ve always done. A wide variety of projects that got made because we care and put in the energy to get them done in light of how difficult it is these days.

DEADLINE: I’ve watched filmmaker partnerships fail because of jealousy, ego, greed, or lack of sustained success. Why have you avoided those pitfalls?
HOWARD: The bi-coastal relationship!

DEADLINE: Simple as that?
HOWARD: Because I’m in New York, we’re not forced to stare at each other’s faces 24/7. But I think that’s not really it. We love what we’re doing, we have fun doing it and our sensibilities are in sync. In a business that can create so many feelings of anxiety and self-doubt, I learned to trust in that. Brian is smart and cares about me doing well and feeling good about what I’m doing. It’s a partnership built on support. It has been that way since the beginning.
GRAZER: It works because we have similar tastes and not only gravitate toward the same material but also what lives inside the core of the movie it becomes. We’ve done, and Ron has directed, all kinds of genres. We have a common interest in the humanity aspect of a movie, regardless if it’s a comedy or a drama. We also share a similar work ethic.

DEADLINE: When you cover all genres, does Imagine have a wheelhouse? For a company looking to last, is it advisable to have one?
HOWARD: The process is what gets Brian and me excited, whatever the genre. Not specializing has given our company a sense of flexibility and adaptability to whatever the market or the zeitgeist is suggesting. We’ve always respected each other as creative people. If Brian loves something and I don’t quite get it, I’ll tell him that but I’ll never try to impede the progress. He’s the same with me. With Apollo 13, I  wasn’t sure the genre would work, because space films hadn’t done that well. Brian was instantly so excited about it, and made me realize we were onto something. 8 Mile, I don’t know anything about rap. This was something he understood. I didn’t know how to make that movie, but I recognized a great idea. Whenever the two of us get excited, on films like Splash, Night Shift and Parenthood, those have resulted in the building blocks of the company. I’ve always liked TV  but I phased it out for awhile and it was Brian’s perseverance that has made us strong in both TV and films. Independent companies are rarely strong in both.
GRAZER: What we’ve do is agree on the moral center of a project, but nobody’s better at finding the language of a particular movie than Ron. He’s got a grasp of understanding  new vocabularies, whether it’s the The Da Vinci Code, fantasy like Cocoon or Splash, or Backdraft and The Grinch. He is great at inhabiting a world and completely understanding and expressing its language. In A Beautiful Mind, he entered that world and understood the medical science of mental illness. So there have been times where he led the charge, and I was drawn in by his excitement.

DEADLINE: What was the last hard conversation or professional disagreement you can remember?
HOWARD: I can’t think of one offhand, but even when we have disagreements, I can’t think of a case where one of us ever said, ‘Oh, please don’t do this.’ If there’s a lot of passion from one or the other, then the support of the company is going to be there. Read More »

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Sean Hayes Fine Choice For Larry In Farrelly Brothers ‘Three Stooges’ Film

By | Monday April 4, 2011 @ 6:02pm PDT
Mike Fleming

20th Century Fox and Peter and Bobby Farrelly have set Sean Hayes to play Larry in The Three Stooges, the slapstick comedy that is slated to begin production later this month. He joins Will Sasso, who had previously … Read More »

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Steve Carell and David Steinberg Team To Produce Documentary About Comedians

By | Thursday December 2, 2010 @ 2:28pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: They are among the leading comedians of their generations and both hail from Chicago’s Second City. Steve Carell and David Steinberg have teamed for a documentary that will chronicle … Read More »

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