Go Behind-the-Scenes: Comments from 'Mel Brooks: Make a Noise' Filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg
American Masters’ Mel Brooks: Make a Noise was written, directed, produced and edited by Robert Trachtenberg. During an online live-chat, the filmmaker provided behind-the-scenes commentary. Enjoy some of the highlights below.
Viewer question: “Since Mel Brooks seems to be such a private person, how did you convince him to go along with this documentary?”
Robert Trachtenberg: “I didn't! Susan Lacy, executive producer of the series, had secured him before I came on board.”
Pictured: Susan Lacy, Mel Brooks and filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg at the 2013 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, CA. Photo credit: Rahoul Ghose/PBS.
Viewer question: “How many days did you have Mel for these sit-downs?”
Robert Trachtenberg: “I shot Mel once a day for four months - so about 30 hours.”
Pictured: Mel Brooks and filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg during the filming of American Masters 'Mel Brooks: Make a Noise.'
Robert Trachtenberg: “All those pictures of Carl and Mel were from a photo session I did with them years ago.”
Pictured: Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. Photo Credit: Robert Trachtenberg.
Viewer question: “Do you have a favorite of Mel's go-to actors, such as as Madeline [Kahn], Gene [Wilder], etc.?”
Robert Trachtenberg: “Cloris [Leachman].” (pictured)
Robert Trachtenberg: “Please note that almost all the background music you hear [in the American Masters film] was written by Mel Brooks...I adapted his songs from THE PRODUCERS and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (Broadway) for this film.”
Since its premiere in 1986, AMERICAN MASTERS has been the only PBS series committed to developing and producing comprehensive film biographies about the broad cast of characters who comprise our cultural history.