Mel Brooks Wildly Overpaid Orson Welles For History Of The World, Part I

When you hire someone like Orson Welles, you should probably expect perfection, but Mel Brooks had him booked for five whole days. He explained that Welles was supposed to work from nine to five for those days, narrating each of the segments for the film with lines like, “Rome, center of the universe … ” and “The ape rose and became man.” Welles, however, was just too good at his job to take up all that time. As Brooks told BFI: 

“I paid him for five days. He was like, ‘I want $5,000 a day,’ right? So he started at, like, to test his voice out. This is about 10 to nine in the morning. By 11:30, 12 o’clock, he had done all of the narration; it was all perfect. He said, ‘Any changes? I’ll do anything you want, Mel.’ I said, ‘It’s flat-out perfect,’ you know? I said, ‘My god, I could have paid you $5,000!'”

True, of course, but it is Orson Welles we’re talking about here. It’s kind of awesome that he came in, nailed it all, and still asked for the total amount of money. What’s even better is what Welles said he would do with the money. 

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