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BONUS: A Conversation with Mel Brooks

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From Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein to Spaceballs and The Producers, legendary filmmaker Mel Brooks has been responsible for some of the most beloved movies in the history of cinema. And unsurprisingly, at various points in his career, he has discussed the making of almost all his films. Except for one. The lone dud in his canon—a film so bad The New York Times declared it “an embarrassment”— which Brooks has never publicly discussed: Solarbabies. Well, at least not until now. Author Blake Harris of /Film chats with Mel Brooks about the whole story.

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Mel Brooks' voice is like fresh-baked Snickerdoodles for the ears.

 

Great interview!

 

I hope HDTGM can do more bonus episodes like this in the future!

 

ETA: Just wanted to add this.

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I love Mel Brooks, The Producers is my favorite movie of all time and I can't wait to listen to this, since I'm sure he has a good nature about it. Just listening to the intro reminds me Mel has always seemed like the nicest dude in the world.

 

Just finished listening; he is so insanely genial. He almost goes bankrupt because of this movie and is able to talk about it in a way that is barely bitter. He is what we all should aim to be.

 

But the #1 lesson to take from this, as he brought up, to quote Bialystock: NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW

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The mark of a great interviewer is in knowing when NOT to ask questions and simply let the subject keep talking. Matt Gourley is great at this on his I Was There Too podcast, and Blake does a great job here. Terrific interview. Brooks is a wonderful storyteller.

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Does "A Renny Harlin interview is coming up" mean that we're going back to the Renny Harlin well for HDTGM? I bet it's Cliffhanger or Cutthoat Island, but I hope it's Mindhunters.

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Oh, and also, Paul, if you're able to do this Mel Brooks podcast idea, for God's sake, do it.

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Does "A Renny Harlin interview is coming up" mean that we're going back to the Renny Harlin well for HDTGM? I bet it's Cliffhanger or Cutthoat Island, but I hope it's Mindhunters.

 

I was wondering (hoping) the same thing, but I got the impression it was more about The Covenant and he had just now got the interview. However, that doesn't mean Paul and the gang can't capitalize on that...

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Does "A Renny Harlin interview is coming up" mean that we're going back to the Renny Harlin well for HDTGM? I bet it's Cliffhanger or Cutthoat Island, but I hope it's Mindhunters.

my ears picked up at this nugget too ... maybe blake is going back to some movies covered in old eps?

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Wow, that was really a great story he told Blake. It's like Paul said, if we get a Brookcast, were Mel tells stories about his life, that would be great. :)

I just think about, that not only people from the showbusiness, but elderly people in general have great stories to tell and they like to tell them. I think that might be an idea for a great podcast. Earwolf, anyone? Anyone?

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Holy shit this was a gold mine of information! About the movie and about creating shit in general! I mean I've been embarking on a photo project for the past year and a half and his nuggets of wisdom still impacted me going forward for my own artistic endeavors!

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Mel Brooks' voice is like fresh-baked Snickerdoodles for the ears.

 

Great interview!

 

I hope HDTGM can do more bonus episodes like this in the future!

 

ETA: Just wanted to add this.

 

My thoughts exactly! With the first syllable Mel Brooks uttered, I had a smile on my face and it never left.

 

If the story of the making of Solarbabies ever becomes its own movie, it should be called "A Fucking Miracle Picture!" The poster should just be an exuberant Mel Brooks.

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I hope that there will be Sequels:

 

Sonarbabies - One beep beyond

Polarbabies - The frozen ones

Molarbabies - Now they bite

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That was amazing and I really hope it inspires Mel Brooks to pursue making that autobiographical film about his time as a soldier in WWII.

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Holy shit this was a gold mine of information! About the movie and about creating shit in general! I mean I've been embarking on a photo project for the past year and a half and his nuggets of wisdom still impacted me going forward for my own artistic endeavors!

 

Good luck in your projects. Remember the 2 rules:

1. Never put your own money in the show.

2. NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW.

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Good luck in your projects. Remember the 2 rules:

1. Never put your own money in the show.

2. NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW.

I had genuinely been considering an Indiegogo campaign to fund what's probably gonna be the most expensive part of this whole project and I swear he just made that sound even more enticing. Especially since I've already put my own money into this and therefore broke the only 2 damn rules!

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ETA: Just wanted to add this.

 

And now you know...the rest of the story. Thanks Cameron H.!

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I love that Mel Brooks remembers everyone by name, even the minor players.

 

Seems like a truly great guy.

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I love Mel Brooks. I'm surprised to hear you can call Brooksfilms and talk to him. Maybe I will randomly call a couple times and see if I can get him to chat.

 

He's so happy about everything. You'd think being interviewed about a movie which almost lost him so much money would be embarrassing or sad for him. He's like, "No, let me tell you how I mortgaged my car and didn't tell my wife!" (PS RIP Anne.)

 

This kind of made me want Mel to be a guest on HDTGM. I know it'd be tough but there's got to be some other movie he'd have great stories about. Or maybe he could make fun of a Carl Reiner flick. I hear they eat dinner together and watch Jeopardy every night.

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I hope that there will be Sequels:

 

Sonarbabies - One beep beyond

Polarbabies - The frozen ones

Molarbabies - Now they bite

Scabies.

Rabies.

Mickey Rooney Sugarbabies.

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Hot damn! I thought this thread was about a *text* interview with Mel Brooks. Thank you, Blake Harris and the HDTGM crew.

 

What a generous man. "Blake, listen; I'm gonna tell you an incredible story." This is fantastic!

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I love that he's a man in the movie industry that age that is aware of "streaming" media, how it works and that it's a good medium. A lot of others just act like...well, old men, and don't know how it works, don't want to know and don't want anything to do with it.

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That was amazing and I really hope it inspires Mel Brooks to pursue making that autobiographical film about his time as a soldier in WWII.

 

Yeah, hands up who else was surprised that Mel is a WW2 veteran. Sadly theres not too many left these days.

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I love that a man in the movie industry that age is aware of "streaming" media, how it works and that it's a good medium. A lot of others just act like...well, old men, and don't know how it works don't want to know and don't want anything to do with it.

It's so crazy that more people in the industry don't get this. I think part of the reason it's not as ubiquitous as it should be is because of the big theater chains. They partner with studios to be able to show their movies, and they often flex their muscles so that they can maximize ticket sales.

 

Of course, major studio movies probably don't lose a ton from that, but there are quite a few indie distributors that release stuff on VOD at the same time it's in the theaters, and I'd be interested to see their revenue split between box office and VOD. (Drafthouse Films, my cinematic Mecca, even lists on their website where you can rent them)

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