Mel Brooks Says Django Unchained Makes Blazing Saddles Musical Possible
[UPDATE: Mel Brooks has already updated our original story at the TCA 2013 press tour, suggesting two songs for the Blazing Saddles sequel. First, and perhaps most obviously, "I'm Tired," to be sung by the sexy Lili von Shtupp (sung by Madeline Kahn in the original film), and another tune to be performed by the protagonist, Bart (originally played by Cleavon Little), called "You Keep Forgetting You're Black."]
Mel Brooks is at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour for the “American Masters” documentary on his career. Today is not the first day he’s suggested bringing Blazing Saddles to Broadway, to follow his success with The Producers and Young Frankenstein, but this qualifies as an update. The success of Oscar nominee Django Unchained might actually give Brooks the push he needs to adapt his western spoof to the stage.
“Now that Django Unchained has literally used the N-word, I think I’m in the clear,” Brooke said during a press conference. “I don’t look so bad. He really used that word a lot. So I’m okay with Blazing Saddles.”
When Blazing Saddles had Cleavon Little as an African-American sheriff (the film’s exclamation was “A black sheriff???”), it was controversial social commentary. How little has changed, Quentin Tarantino’s western has been a subject of controversy for its frequent use of a racial epithet that was in fact used a lot in the era of slavery.
As for adding music to the parody story of Blazing Saddles, that’s easy. “My thoughts have been as a writer and composer, I’ve been thinking about Blazing Saddles as a musical on Broadway,” Brooks said. “A lot of it is musical already and a lot of it has a rather fanciful and fantastic tone to it.”
We’ll have more on the Blazing Saddles musical after we punch a horse in the face.
Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.