Mel Brooks Had The Perfect Response To The Idea Of A Paws Of Fury Being A Blazing Saddles Adaptation

Academy Award-winning comedy legend Mel Brooks is still working at 96 years of age. His latest film, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, is loosely based on one of his most iconic flicks, Blazing Saddles. Obviously those behind the animated movie approached Brooks for his stamp of approval, and apparently he responded in the most Mel Brooks way possible.

We recently spoke with one of Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank's directors, Rob Minkoff, and when we asked how Brooks responded to the idea of a Blazing Saddles adaptation in the early stages, Minkoff retold the story with the following:

That actually all happened before my time. But I understood that when he first heard the idea, he said, “that's a mashugana idea,” which means that's a crazy idea. But then he went along with it.

So even though Rob Minkoff hadn’t yet been hired to take the reins, by the time he came on board, there were still stories floating around about how Mel Brooks responded to the idea of one of his most successful films being adapted. He may have thought it was crazy, but in an exciting way, as he was the first person signed on to join the cast. After that, the dominoes fell pretty fast, as Brooks was followed by Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, George Takei and plenty of other comedic talent. 

Although its fair to say that the adaptation is “loose,” Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is very much based on Blazing Saddles. The original title of the production was even Blazing Samurai, though they likely realized that one was a little on the nose. The way that Blazing Saddles featured a Black sheriff being set up for failure in a white town, Paws of Fury is about a dog who is assigned to be the samurai for a town of cats. It’s also full of references to the classic film, including the iconic horse-punching scene. 

It’s crazy that the 96-year-old actor, writer, director and producer is still working, and on feature-length projects that go far beyond Coronavirus PSAs he filmed with his son. Mel Brooks was involved in Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank during the majority of the film’s seven-year production, and there’s more to come. Namely, he’s in an upcoming TV project called Fairy Tale Forrest alongside Jane Lynch and Matt Lucas. We’ll certainly keep you updated as to when a release date for that show is announced. 

Given the ridiculous premise of the film and the absurd Paws of Fury trailer, you can imagine that the film is quite a wild ride. If you’re on the fence, you can check out our CinemaBlend's official review and a roundup of other reviews for the animated movie. You can see Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank in theaters right now! As for everything else that’s coming to theaters this year, check out our 2022 movie release schedule.

Jeff McCobb
Senior Video Producer

Jeff started his career producing television commercials in his hometown of Fresno, California. After a few years, he came across the opportunity to make a living talking about his favorite thing: movies. Jeff is a film buff who is full of gratitude that he gets to spout opinions about them for a living. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he spends his time complaining about Los Angeles.