First a movie, then a musical, now a movie musical (but ''not a movie of the musical,'' insists stage and screen director Susan Stroman), The Producers returns mouthy Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) and meek Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) to the silver screen, as two would-be Broadway tycoons who find they can make more money with a flop (to wit, the musical Springtime for Hitler) than a hit.
Co-writer/creator Mel Brooks was involved, tweaking set pieces and jokes but, as Stroman puts it, ''life intervened.'' (Brooks lost wife Anne Bancroft in June.) Still, the film was ''a little life raft for him. Many times I'd say, 'Mel, we need one more joke here.''' says Stroman. ''Takes him about 30 seconds: out of his mouth and into the movie.''