List of The Producers characters

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The following are fictional characters from the 1968 film The Producers, the Broadway musical based on it, and the 2005 film adaptation of the musical.

Max Bialystock[edit]

Max Bialystock
First appearance The Producers (1968)
Last appearance The Producers (2005)
Created by Mel Brooks
Portrayed by Zero Mostel (1968 film)
Nathan Lane (Broadway musical and 2005 film)
Information
Gender Male

Max Bialystock is described as selfish and greedy - a man who is only interested in making money. Though this is later proven untrue, Max's fiery and sarcastic nature can be very intimidating. He is willing to do anything to make money (including "shtupping every little old lady in New York") and is often angry, short-tempered and unwilling to cooperate nicely. His name is taken from the Polish city of Białystok. In the Broadway musical, it was revealed that he grew up in the Bronx.

In the fourth season of the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David is asked to take on the role of Max Bialystock when The Producers makes its Broadway run. He is originally paired with Ben Stiller, who is soon replaced by David Schwimmer. Mel Brooks jokes that they can save space on the marquee by just placing "Larry David Schwimmer" in lights.

Larry forgets his lines on opening night, but gets back by doing a little bit of standup with the crowd. Then he proceeds with the show and it becomes an instant hit, to which Mel Brooks is angry because he was hoping Larry's ineptitude would cause the show to be a flop, and he could get out of his roles as director and producer. Mel claims he is sick of the show and would like it to die out.

Leo Bloom[edit]

Leo Bloom
First appearance The Producers (1968)
Last appearance The Producers (2005)
Created by Mel Brooks
Portrayed by Gene Wilder (1968 film)
Matthew Broderick (Broadway musical and 2005 film)
Information
Gender Male

Leopold "Leo" Bloom is a mousy, nervous and fearful accountant,[1] prone to panic attacks and who keeps a security blanket to calm himself. Nevertheless it is Leo who has the idea of how to make money from a failed play.

The character is named after the protagonist in James Joyce's Ulysses, Leopold Bloom. Wilder's costar Zero Mostel had portrayed Bloom on stage in the play Ulysses in Nighttown.

Ulla[edit]

Ulla
Producers musical kondon.jpg
Scene from the London version of The Producers, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, April 2006. Ulla is standing on the stepladder while Leo Bloom enters from the left.
First appearance The Producers (1968)
Last appearance The Producers (2005)
Created by Mel Brooks
Portrayed by Lee Meredith (1968 film)
Cady Huffman (Broadway musical)
Uma Thurman (2005 film)
Information
Gender Female

Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden Swanson Bloom is a fictional character created by Mel Brooks for his 1968 film The Producers (MGM), which was remade as a Broadway musical in 2001 and as a film musical in 2005 (Universal/Columbia).

In the 1968 film, Ulla is introduced as a "toy" that Max found in the local library, and is a symbol of his new found affluence. She can speak little English, but is a jiggly dancer, and can dance better than she can type. She also constantly says "God dag på dig", which means "good day to you" in Swedish and Danish (though, with a faux-Swedish accent), and provides a sexier counterpoint to Max's older girlfriends.

In the musical adapted from the film, Ulla introduces herself as a Swedish actress looking for a part in Max and Leo's production Springtime for Hitler. She is a stereotypical Swedish woman: tall and beautiful with lovely blonde hair. She performs a song she wrote called "When You Got It, Flaunt It". She decided to audition when a "crazy man" (Max) yelled at her the previous day. While the casting isn't to start for quite a while, Max and Leo hire her as their secretary/receptionist. Following the unwanted success of the musical, she and Leo flee to Rio de Janeiro where they marry. Her maiden name is never mentioned, but by the end of the play she is Ulla Inga Hansen-Bensen-Yanson-Tallen-Hallen-Svaden-Swanson Bloom.

Earlier, Max and Leo ask her to clean up their place while they're gone, but she doesn't understand English very well, and after they leave, she paints Max's office entirely white. Little of her role in the Springtime for Hitler play is shown, but she plays a showgirl representing the German Imperial Eagle and later appears as Eva Braun. In Max and Leo's second production, Prisoners of Love, she plays the lead prisoner/singer.

Roger De Bris[edit]

Roger De Bris
First appearance The Producers (1968)
Last appearance The Producers (2005)
Created by Mel Brooks
Portrayed by Christopher Hewett (1968 film)
Gary Beach (Broadway musical and 2005 film)
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Theatre director
Spouse(s) Carmen Ghia, ("common law assistant")

Roger Elizabeth De Bris is a flamboyantly gay theatre director, described by Max Bialystock as the worst director to have ever lived, and was chosen by Bialystock in an attempt to ensure that Springtime for Hitler would flop. He lives with his equally flamboyant partner Carmen Ghia and his production crew in a house described as an Upper East Side town house in New York.

Carmen Ghia[edit]

Carmen Ghia
Andreas as Carmen.gif
First appearance The Producers (1968)
Last appearance The Producers (2005)
Created by Mel Brooks
Portrayed by Andreas Voutsinas (1968 film)
Roger Bart (Broadway musical and 2005 film)
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Common law assistant
Spouse(s) Roger De Bris

Carmen Ghia is a fictional character from the 1968 Mel Brooks comedy The Producers played by Andreas Voutsinas, its 2001 Broadway show The Producers by Roger Bart, and the 2005 musical film The Producers also by Roger Bart.

The character name sounds the same as the name of the automobile, the Karmann Ghia, marketed from 1955 to 1974 by Volkswagen.

Actress "Anne Bancroft recommended Andréas Voutsinas, a fellow performer at the Actors Studio, for the role of the waspish Carmen Ghia..."[2]

Bart said of his role: "As Carmen Ghia I was a sprinter. This guy is like a long-distance runner. I sometimes think to myself, 'Should I have stayed Carmen?'"[3]

Carmen Ghia is Roger De Bris' "common-law assistant".[4] They are both flamboyantly gay and they love to flounce around their Upper East Side town house.

Franz Liebkind[edit]

Franz Liebkind
First appearance The Producers (1968)
Last appearance The Producers (2005)
Created by Mel Brooks
Portrayed by Kenneth Mars (1968 film)
Brad Oscar (Broadway musical)
Will Ferrell (2005 film)
Information
Gender Male

Franz Liebkind (Liebkind being a humorous calque into German of the English idiom "love child") is a former Nazi who has penned an admiring musical tribute to Adolf Hitler, titled Springtime for Hitler. The two protagonists, Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, purchase and produce this "worst play ever written" as part of a plot to defraud investors by overselling and staging a sure-fire flop.

The part was originally cast for Dustin Hoffman, but Mel Brooks allowed him to audition for the film adaptation of The Graduate before shooting began for his own film in anticipation that he would be rejected. Instead, Hoffman was cast as the lead of the film directed by Mike Nichols and Brooks thus had to recast the Liebkind role.

Liebkind is portrayed as easily enraged. The only background to his character is that he is a Nazi, carrier pigeon keeper (he named his favorite pigeon Adolf), and playwright who continues to worship Hitler. In the 2005 version he is seen sending one of his pigeons with a message to Argentina. In an early draft of the script, he was portrayed as Hitler's former butler.

Liebkind is shown to be nervous about his past catching up with him when Bialystock and Bloom go up to his roof to ask about acquiring the rights to Springtime for Hitler, Liebkind thinks they are from the US government 'I vos only following orders, I didn't even know there vos a vor on we lived in the back near Switzerland.'

In the 2005 remake, Liebkind is set to play the role of Hitler in his musical, but breaks a leg and is replaced by Roger De Bris. This differs from the 1968 film, in which Lorenzo St. DuBois (L.S.D.) is cast as Hitler. When in the original he blows up the theatre with Max and Leo, he is hurt the most because he uses a quick-fuse and doesn't escape quickly enough, and is next shown in court in an all-body cast. In the remake, he breaks one of his legs moments before the curtains rise when Max tries to invoke the "Good Luck" superstition, then hours later he tries to flee the police on his broken leg but inevitably breaks the other leg by falling down a flight of stairs. Months later, while Max, Leo and Franz are in Sing Sing Prison, Franz is seen with both legs in casts while playing the piano to the tune of "Prisoners of Love".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Megan Friedman. Top 10 Movie Wimps. Time Magazine. March 19, 2010.
  2. ^ James Robert Parish, It's Good to Be the King (2008), 177.
  3. ^ As quoted in Playbill 21 (2002), 45.
  4. ^ William A. Everett and Paul R. Laird, The Cambridge Companion to the Musical (2008), 335.