Maximillian Michael Brooks (born May 22, 1972) is an American actor and author. He is the son of comedy filmmaker Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft. Much of Brooks’s writing focuses on zombie stories. He is a senior fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, New York.
Brooks, born May 22, 1972, is the son of actress Anne Bancroft and director, producer, writer, and actor Mel Brooks. His father is Jewish, while his mother was an Italian-American Catholic.
Brooks is dyslexic and recalled that during the time in which he was growing up:
“…they didn’t even call it a disability back then; it was just ‘laziness,’ ‘goofing off,’ ‘you’re not trying hard enough.’ ‘You can do it but you don’t want to do it’ — that was a big one of my teachers. And my mother, one of the greatest, most successful actresses of her day, gave up her career, put her career on the shelf, to raise me, to be my educational advocate and to teach herself about dyslexia. … She took, every year, all of my school books that I had to read to the Institute for the Blind and had them all read onto audio cassette so I could listen to my reading list. And if I hadn’t been able to do that, I wouldn’t have graduated high school. I can literally say that not only did my mother give me my life, she saved my life.”
Brooks attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California. He studied at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He also attended graduate school, studying film at American University in Washington, D.C.
From 2001 to 2003, Brooks was a member of the writing team at Saturday Night Live.
In 2003, Brooks wrote his first book, The Zombie Survival Guide, a satirical survival manual about zombies. In 2006, Brooks wrote the follow-up World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, a novel on the same subject, set ten years following a zombie apocalypse. Paramount Pictures acquired the movie rights, and Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment, produced the film. In the October 2006 issue of Fangoria Magazine, Brooks stated that he would not be writing the screenplay for the motion picture, as he felt he was not an accomplished enough screenwriter to “do it right” (J. Michael Straczynski wrote the first version of the screenplay).
Brooks wrote the introduction for the hardcover collected edition of Dynamite Entertainment’s zombie miniseries Raise the Dead, released in 2007.
In 2010, Brooks wrote the IDW comic book mini-series G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds.
In 2012, he published Closure, Limited and Other Zombie Tales, featuring the story of that name from The New Dead, along with three other short stories set in the World War Z universe.
In 2014, Broadway Books published The Harlem Hellfighters, a graphic novel which portrays a fictionalized account of the entirely African American 369th Infantry Regiment’s experiences in World War I, written by Brooks and illustrated by Caanan White. Sony Pictures has purchased the rights to create a film of the novel, with Caleeb Pinkett and James Lassiter producing on behalf of Overbrook Entertainment.
He wrote the story for the 2016 film The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon.
In 2016, Brooks was invited to MineCon 2016 and announced that he was working on a new novel based on Minecraft.
In August 2019, Brooks’ announced a new book, entitled Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre, about the cryptid Bigfoot. It was released on June 16, 2020.
Acting and voice-over work
Brooks has a number of other creative credits. As an actor, he has been seen in Roseanne, To Be or Not to Be, Pacific Blue, and 7th Heaven. He also has a career voicing animation; his voice has been featured in the animated shows Batman Beyond, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Justice League and All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series. During the start of the 3rd season of Lost Tapes, he was cast as himself in the zombie episode, telling the audience about how zombies come to be. He also appeared on Spike TV series Deadliest Warrior, in which he represented the zombie team in the “Vampires vs. Zombies” episode, as one of the Zombie experts along with Matt Mogk, the Founder of the Zombie Research Society.
Brooks has been married to playwright Michelle Kholos since 2003. They have one son, Henry Michael Brooks (born March 2005), and live in Venice, California. In October 2020, Brooks and his son appeared in a short video featuring Mel Brooks making his first political video at age 94 to endorse Joe Biden for president.
|1983||To Be or Not to Be||Rifka’s Son||Film|
|1992||The Public Eye||Teen at Thompson Street||Film|
|Roseanne||Snarky Customer||episode: “Terms of Estrangement: Part 1”|
|1997||Pacific Blue||Marty Rosen||episode: “Avenging Angel”|
|1999||7th Heaven||Waiter||episode: “It Happened One Night”|
|Melrose Place||Messenger||episode: “How Amanda Got Her Groove Back”|
|The Wild Thornberrys||Lead Dog (voice)||episode: “Polar Opposites”|
|2000||Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles||Lt. Bernstein (voice)||episode: “Swarm”|
|Godzilla: The Series||Uncredited voice||episode: “Underground Movement”|
|Batman Beyond||Howard Groot / Drew (voice)||6 Episodes|
|Buzz Lightyear of Star Command||Tech #2 / Ranger #2 / Punk-Goon #2 (voices)||2 Episodes|
|2001||Justice League||Howie||2 Episodes|
|2010||Satan Hates You||Reporter||Film|
|Lost Tapes||Himself||episode: “Zombies”|