Mel Brooks and Son Max Promote Social Distancing During COVID-19 Outbreak - Rolling Stone
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Mel Brooks and His Son Max Promote Social Distancing During COVID-19 Outbreak

Max, author of ‘World War Z,’ also gives tips on surviving crisis

Mel Brooks, Max Brooks'World War Z' film premiere after party, New York, America - 17 Jun 2013Mel Brooks, Max Brooks'World War Z' film premiere after party, New York, America - 17 Jun 2013

Marion Curtis/Starpix/Shutterstock

Max Brooks conducted a Reddit AMA to answer questions about the coronavirus last week, plus shared a very cute PSA with his father, comedic legend Mel Brooks, promoting social distancing. The younger Brooks is the author of the 2006 zombie apocalyptic novel World War Z, which was adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt in 2013.

World War Z was inspired by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a form of coronavirus that caused an outbreak in China in 2002. “Unfortunately, too much of my book is coming true,” Brooks told one user. “I based the initial Chinese response to the zombie plague on their real response to SARS. Hopefully, the USA doesn’t respond to this crisis the way they did in WWZ.”

He also posted the below video with his father, calling for younger folks to keep their older relatives safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. “If I get the coronavirus, I’ll probably be OK,” Max says, gesturing to his father, who stands inside a house behind a closed glass door. “But if I give it to him, he could give it to Carl Reiner, who could give it to Dick Van Dyke and before I know it, I’ve wiped out a whole generation of comedic legends.”

He also shared his thoughts on the Chinese Government’s ban on his book. “I was disappointed,” he admitted. “I mean, c’mon, a billion-plus reader market? But what am I gonna do? I can’t censor my own book, especially a book I wrote about censorship. I have to be true to what I wrote.”

When asked if he thought Italy was “doomed” because of COVID-19, Brooks said no. “It will be interesting to see how a democracy like Italy deals with infection,” he said. “As an Italian-American, my heart goes out to the people of my mother’s tribe.”

He also addressed social distancing, calling it “the best tool we have” to prevent it from spreading. “You can’t pass on a disease from person to person if those persons aren’t next to each other,” he wrote. “Social distancing is something we can all do. And we need to do. We can help buy time for medical science to come up with treatments and a vaccine. That’s what it means to do our part.”

Brooks also answered whether or not the world could handle a virus more dangerous than COVID-19. “I do think the world has the ability to adapt,” he said. “I’m not a pessimist. I can’t afford to be. I think about all the diseases that were around when my parents were my age. Back then (in the Twenties and Thirties), having pandemics regularly kill or cripple millions of people was just part of life. We’ve come such a long way.”

“Even now, we’ve got armies, literally, of dedicated public health professionals fighting this world war,” he continued. “We can do our part to help them. That’s why, in WWZ, there’s no one hero. Everyone has a role to play. Just like now. No matter what country you’re in, check in with your local public health department. Check in with WHO. Follow the guidelines. Do what you can, from social distancing to hygiene, to help slow the spread. This is so solvable, as long as we all do our part.”

In This Article: coronavirus, World War Z


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