THIRTEEN's 'American Masters' to Produce Mel Brooks Documentary, Set for PBS Premiere, May 2013
After 60 years in show business, Mel Brooks has earned more major awards than any other living entertainer; he is one of 14 EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winners. Yet, the comedy giant has energetically avoided a documentary profile from being made, even issuing an informal gag order on his friends...until now.
Brooks has agreed to throw himself into a new documentary about his storied career, giving American Masters exclusive interviews and complete access to his film archives. Slated to premiere May 2013 on PBS (check local listings), American Masters Mel Brooks (w.t.) features new interviews with Brooks and his actor friends, including Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Cloris Leachman, Carl Reiner, and Joan Rivers.
"There are a few singular voices of genius in film comedy -- Mel Brooks joins the ranks of Chaplin, Keaton and Woody Allen, creating a genre unto himself," explained Susan Lacy, creator and executive producer of American Masters. "This project has been a joy. Mel can make anything funny -- he even had me in stitches during a conference call about distribution contracts. His humor is truly instinctive -- and constant!"
"When they called me to say I had been chosen as the next 'American Master' I thought they said I was chosen to be the next Dutch Master. So I figured what the hell, at least I'll get a box of cigars. When I realized my mistake I was both elated and a little disappointed at losing the cigars," cracked Brooks, who will receive the 41st AFI Life Achievement Award in June.
Summing up his experience making the film, filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg said, "He's the only man I let call me Bob." Trachtenberg's past films for American Masters include Cary Grant: A Class Apart (2005), Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer (2002) and On Cukor (2000) about director George Cukor. He's also the author of the bestseller When I Knew (2005) and an award-winning entertainment and fashion photographer.