Mel Brooks reminisced about his longtime pal and collaborator Gene Wilder on “The Tonight Show” Tuesday night, and he didn’t disappoint.
In an interview with host Jimmy Fallon, Brooks recalled the time he turned Wilder, who died Sunday at age 83, into a blubbering mess of gratefulness.
Wilder had scoffed at the notion that the 1967 film “The Producers” would ever get made. So Brooks promised the young actor that he would play Leo Bloom ― the movie’s mousy accountant who conspires to make a Broadway flop ― just as soon as he rounded up the financing.
“Miracle of miracles,” Brooks did find the backing and visited Wilder backstage of a play he was doing called “Luv.” We’ll let Brooks take it from there:
“I took the script and I said, ‘Gene, we got the money. We’re gonna make the movie. You are Leo Bloom.’ And I threw [the script] on his makeup table and he burst into tears and held his face and cried. And then I hugged him. It was a wonderful moment.”
Check out the entire conversation above. And be sure to watch out for Brooks’ impromptu Hitler comb salute.