The Producers (2005) Poster



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After Max and Leo do Der Guten Tag Hop Clop with Franz, Max tries to pull open the door. When it doesn't open, he shouts, "We're trapped!". This is an inside joke from the play's run in England. One night, a stage hand had locked the door. When Nathan Lane (Max) tried it, he realized it was locked and shouted out, "We're trapped! Trapped like rats with a crazy Nazi!" A stage hand then went up and unlocked the door and they got out.
A lot of the extras in the audience scenes are not actors. They're people who donated money through a charity. As part of their donation, they got to be extras in the movie.
Matthew Broderick wore an earplug in one ear where Nathan Lane yells "Never put your own money in the show!" up close.
Ernie Sabella, appeared in a number that was cut out where Bialystock and Bloom go to the bar during intermission to celebrate their flop: "Barkeep, drinks all around!" This would have the voice actors who spoke Simba, Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King (1994) on screen together.
Some of the little old ladies are actually men.
Much of the lead singing was performed live on set during takes.
When Ulla walks into Max's office for the first time, on the King Leer poster (the poster on the right), the eyes start spinning.
Nathan Lane actually shaved the top of his head in order to create a realistic comb-over.
The respective Hollywood Walk of Fame stars of Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane are right next to each other.
With the exception of Will Ferrell and Uma Thurman, all the lead actors originated their roles in the Broadway production.
The screech of the black cat who is thrown by Bialystock into the theater and the voice of the Stormtrooper who sings, "Don't be stupid, be a shmartie, come on join the Nazi Party" in the song "Springtime for Hitler" are provided by Mel Brooks, two roles he also prerecorded for the Broadway show and one (the Stormtrooper) that he did in the original movie. It's also a line from the 1983 single "To Be Or Not To Be - Hitler Rap".
When Max is visiting the old ladies in their apartment buildings, he pushes lots of apartment call buttons. Among the list of names are A. Bancroft, a tribute to Anne Bancroft, director Mel Brooks' late wife; M. Kaminsky, which is Brooks' birth name; and J. Gatsby, the main character in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby.
When greeting Max and Leo at the door, Carmen Ghia's exaggerated "s" sound when saying the word "yes" lasts for 23 seconds.
This is a movie about a play based on a play about a play based on a movie about a play. In fact, however, Mel Brooks originally envisioned this as a Broadway play. Published accounts in 1966 reported that Brooks was working on a comedy play with the title "Springtime for Hitler," and his original choice for the part of Bloom was going to be Paul Anka.
Mel Brooks originally wrote the music by humming the melodies to the songs into a tape recorder and having a friend who was musically literate write it down on staff paper.
In the final frame of the finale the camera pulls out for a wide shot of the theatres and their marquees displaying the titles of the shows that Max and Leo are to produce. On the far left is a portion of the marquee belonging the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The only letters that are visible are A-N-N-E for Mel Brooks' late wife Anne Bancroft who died prior to the film's completion.
The phrase "It was shocking, outrageous, insulting... and I loved every minute of it!" from a supposed review of "Springtime for Hitler", was a rewording of an actual review by Peter Sellers written about the original 1968 movie.
The King of Broadway, the second number following Opening Night, one of the most famous of the songs and the number that introduces the Bialystock character, was cut out. This song also includes the famous Mel Brooks line from History of the World: Part I (1981): "It's good to be the king!"
Richard Kind, who played Max Bialystock on Broadway and on the national tour, makes a brief cameo as the jury foreman at the end.
Stay after the credits for a special number and appearance.
Nicole Kidman was originally considered as a possible Ulla. Matthew Broderick allegedly offered her the role while they were filming The Stepford Wives (2004) together, to which she immediately said yes without seeing so much as a first draft of the script. Kidman subsequently backed out of the project, feeling she was working too much.
Uma Thurman was doubled during portions of the dances by Angie L. Schworer who was playing the part of Ulla in the Broadway version of "The Producers" during production of this film. Kathy Fitzgerald played the role of Shirley Markowitz both on stage and in the film version.
Brad Oscar, who plays the taxi driver, was the original Franz Liebkind in the Broadway version. He also played Max Bialystock both on Broadway and in London after Nathan Lane departed the role in both cities.
The costumes for the Girls in Pearls weighed 20 pounds. The largest of the pearls are plastic grapes painted white; they were chosen not to reduce the weight but to make it more comfortable for the dancers when they had to roll on the floor.
The original Broadway production opened at the St. James Theater on April 19, 2001, ran for 2502 performances winning a record-breaking 12 Tonys including the 2001 Tony Awards for the best musical, book and score.
Being the first major film shot in the new Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, NY, the crew had to endure the completion of construction. The studio was only 90% complete when they moved in and there were still leaks in the roof. The crew made suggestions such as expanding make-up rooms. The suggestions were acted upon and the crew finished with resounding success in the new stage.
The song "You'll Find Your Happiness In Rio" was written for the Broadway musical as part of an extended sequence that was dropped in favor of the song "Betrayed".
Gary Beach was playing the same character on both stage and screen at the same time; when the movie premiered, he was also starring as Roger De Bris on Broadway.
The line about a 'banana-coconut suncream, number 15' was initially an improvisation by Matthew Broderick uttered in the court scene. It cracked everyone up, so the take was ruined, but evidently the film makers liked the line, as it was inserted into the postcard narration instead.
Nathan Lane won the 2001 Tony Award for best actor in a musical beating out his partner Matthew Broderick. Both recreated their roles in the film. Other actors that were included in the film from the stage production are Roger Bart, Gary Beach, Brad Oscar, Jim Borstelmann, Madeline Doherty, Bryn Dowling, Kathy Fitzgerald, Robert Fowler, Kimberly Hester, Charley King, Naomi Kakuk, Kevin Ligon, Peter Marinos, Mike McGowan, Jennifer Smith, Jenny Lynn Suckling, Tracy Terstriep and Courtney Young. Three actors were nominated for the 2001 Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical: Gary Beach who won, Roger Bart and Brad Oscar.
Originally, this was almost shot in Toronto, Canada. New York State tax incentives made it possible for the production to film in New York City at the new Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. Producer Mel Brooks also jokingly complained that the bagels in Toronto were "too mushy".
Max Bialystock's lawyer is played by Thomas Meehan, the screenwriter of the film and the book writer of the musical as well.
There really was a Hamlet musical. And it really was a flop. It was called "Rockabye Hamlet", starring Larry Marshall as Hamlet and Beverly D'Angelo as Ophelia. Cliff Jones wrote book, lyrics and music; Gower Champion directed and choreographed. It lasted for seven performances at the Minskoff Theatre in 1976.
When Max opens the cabinet with the pictures of his show contributors you can allegedly see pictures of the old ladies from the original movie version The Producers (1967) although the veracity of this is debatable.
When Leo says that he was taken to Bialy Hoos of '42, the poster of it is right behind him in the background.
The character Carmen Ghia is a reference to the Karmann Ghia which was a sports car marketed by Volkswagen, designed by the Italian Carozzeria Ghia, and built by German coach builder Karmann. Karmann Ghias were produced between 1955 and 1974, and were based on the familiar Beetle chassis with its rear-engined, air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine.
The posters visible in Shubert Alley outside the theater are all for real Broadway shows from the 1950s and '60s. They include: Redhead (which played from February 1959 to March 1960) with Gwen Verdon and Richard Kiley; My Fair Lady (March 1956-September 1962) with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison; The Sound of Music (November 1959-June 1963) with Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel; Destry Rides Again (April 1959-June 1960) with Andy Griffith and Dolores Gray; and West Side Story (September 1957-June 1959) with Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence, and Chita Rivera.
Hitler's initial pose during the stage opening number is a clear reference to Dick Shawn's obscure take on the same role in the original film.
Nathan Lane exclaims "Wow!" after gargling with Listerine mouthwash, but the "Wow!" after gargling actually stems from a TV commercial by Listerine competitor Lavoris.
During the song 'Springtime For Hitler', 'Roger DeBris' as Hitler (Gary Beach) mouths 'I love you all' and sits on the edge of the stage to sing the next part of the song. From this moment onward, 'DeBris' performs with a distinct similarity to Judy Garland's performances in both her concerts and her TV specials.
Three songs from the Broadway show were cut: "King of Broadway," "In Old Bavaria" and "Where Did We Go Right?". The second act reprise of "Opening Night" was also cut, as were sections of "Along Came Bialy". Despite "Where Did We Go Right?" being cut, the reference to this song in the recap in "Betrayed" remains.
Fred Applegate had a run as Max Bialystock in the London production of the play.
Other names on the doorbells rung by Max include famous names of New York's richest families: Gould, Fisk, Whitney, Woolworth, Astor, etc.
Roger Bart was nominated for the 2001 Tony Award for supporting or featured actor in a musical and reprised his role in this production.
According to director Susan Stroman, the outdoor scene where Max tries to convince Leo to join his scheme had to be moved to the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park from the Revson Fountain at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, because this version of the film was set in 1959, not 1967 like the original movie, and the Lincoln Center wasn't built until 1964.


Jonathan Freeman:  Broadway's Roger De Bris makes a brief cameo as the ticket taker.

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