Jesus! Mel Brooks' All-Star 'History' Cast
Plus: J.J. Abrams' first HBO series taking shape; 'Never Let Me Go' is a go at FX
‘History’-Making Roles: Jesus, Abe Lincoln
Back in October, the trades reported on a sequel to Mel Brooks’ classic 1981 comedy History of the World, Part I. It wasn’t going to be a movie, but rather, an eight-episode “variety series” for Hulu.
Brooks himself would write and executive produce alongside Nick Kroll, Ike Barinholtz and Wanda Sykes, all of whom would also star as various characters. And that’s about all we’ve heard…until now. From the sounds of things, the Brooks series could shape up as the all-star cast event of the decade.
I’m told that Malcolm Barrett, Jillian Bell, D’Arcy Carden, Rob Corddry, Robby Hoffman, Mitra Jouhari, Joe Mande, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Seth Rogen, JB Smoove and David Wain have agreed to appear, while others who are (or perhaps were) holding offers include a who’s who of comic talent, including Adam Sandler, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Ted Danson, Natasha Lyonne, Tim Robinson, Kumail Nanjiani, Keke Palmer, Michael Keaton, Johnny Knoxville, Taika Waititi and Danny DeVito, plus folks like Hailee Steinfeld, Dove Cameron, Jacob Elordi, Charles Melton, Zazie Beetz and Idina Menzel, and sporting world figures such as Pam Oliver and Tara Lipinski.
History of the World, Part I was comprised of segments that took place during different periods in world history, from the Stone Age to Ancient Rome, the French Revolution and the Spanish Inquisition.
This time around, as far as specific characters/time periods are concerned, I’ve heard offers were out to Jay Ellis (Jesus Christ), Timothy Simons (Abraham Lincoln, after Bo Burnham passed), and Jack McBrayer (Robert E. Lee). Other real-life figures who I expect will be depicted in one fashion or another include William Shakespeare (Benedict Cumberbatch passed), Galileo Galilei, Grigori Rasputin, Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin, which is the role Sandler was offered.
Some of the folks listed above may very well end up passing on this project, if they haven’t already. I know some big names have already had to turn the project down for various reasons. But for many, the chance to work with 95-year-old Brooks on a sequel to a movie that many of them grew up loving is too much fun to ignore, especially when the anthology-style series likely requires a minimal time commitment on their end.
Additional executive producers on the series include