since the release of The Producers, an American musical-comedy film directed by Susan Stroman. The film starred Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and was an adaptation of the 2001 Broadway musical, which in turn was based on the 1968 film of the same name starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. OutUK's Ron Dicker talked to Nathan Lane about his relationship with Broderick and the film of their Broadway smash.
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick sit on a couch in a Manhattan hotel and are asked what makes them click.

Broderick draws a blank and mumbles, "Uh... uh... uh.... uh... uh."

Lane smirks and tells Broderick quietly, "There's a little bit of drool coming out there."

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
©2005 Universal Studios.
A decorated run as the shady impresarios in The Producers a current sold-out revival of The Odd Couple on Broadway and a filmed version of The Producers very quickly anointed them the showbiz tandem of the millennium.

But the real star was unquestionably Nathan Lane. Elfish and chubby, Lane embodies old-time razzmatazz. His song-and-dance teeters between vaudeville and goofy. The UK got its first live glimpse when Lane replaced an overwhelmed Richard Dreyfuss in the London West End staging of The Producers. He pocketed 38,000 pounds a week before a bad back sent him home.

On any continent, Lane seizes the stage. Broderick plays the straight man, as it were.

Lane, who's now in his 60s, has not denied being gay since he came out to his mother at age 21. He just never got around to participating in parades and proclaiming it to the world, he has said.

Besides, he is busy dealing with another matter of image: the sad clown.

Keep It Gay. ©2005 Universal Studios.
Sure, it's a cliche epithet conjuring images of a prima donna drinking in encores onstage and spitting out any chance of happiness at home. When the subject comes up, an air of bonhomie is sucked out of the room.
""It's like me coming out of the press conference," Lane says, "and two gay guys saying, 'How was Nathan Lane?' One said, 'He was very arrogant!' And the other guy said, 'Oh really? I loved it!' I thought that summed up my career."

He sighs. "I'm not as sad as they think and I'm not as clownish as they think."

Nathan Lane, Uma Thurman and Matthew Broderick
©2005 Universal Studios.
In a song from The Producers called "Til Him," Broderick's Leo Bloom warbles about Lane's Max Bialystock, ""No one ever made me feel like someone, 'til him."

While the two actors have flown solo with aplomb at times, their pairing has conjured the kind of magic that real producers spend entire careers trying to find. Lane's wham-bam-thank-you-ham seems particularly suited to the footlights.

"I think we were both fans of each other before we did this," Lane says. "It's an enjoyment of each other. I think that translates, plus our genuine affection. It's not much more complicated than that. It's an interesting dynamic. We both come at it in very different ways and we arrive at the same place."

Earlier in the news conference, a weary Lane poked fun at their chemistry: "Itís the sex. That's what has kept us together, and we never go to bed angry."

They bicker, but have never fought, the two say. Lane recalls an exchange during The Producers run where Broderick tells Lane, "You frighten me." Lane retorted with an unscripted "I frighten YOU?" To Broderick's chagrin it got a big laugh, and he retaliated by skipping a chunk of the ensuing dialogue. The two did not speak offstage for almost the rest of the play. Then late in the third act, Broderick blurted out onstage an impromptu "We'll be partners forever," followed by an "I'm sorry" and gave Lane a hug.

"I started to laugh," Lane says. "Little did the audience know we just resolved this thing in front of them while doing the show at the same time."



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