Mike Myers Interview
Mike Myers was a member of the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live television program from 1989 to 1995, where he performed characters like Dieter, Linda Richman, and Wayne Campbell from Wayne's World.
The character of Linda Richman was based on Myers's real-life mother-in-law, a woman of New York Jewish extraction who is actually named Linda Richman. In 1993, Myers married Linda Richman's daughter, Robin Ruzan; however, they filed for divorce in 2005.
In 1992, Myers and comedian Dana Carvey took Wayne's World to the silver screen in a full-length motion picture based on the SNL sketch. It ended up being one of the most successful movies of the year and the following year a sequel was made - Wayne's World 2.
In 1997, Myers introduced the world to Austin Powers, with the film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Myers played the title role, and other characters in the film. In 1999, he played one of his first non-comedic roles in the film 54 where he played Steve Rubell, proprietor of New York City's famous Studio 54, a 1970s discoteque). The film was not a box office success, however, Myers' performance was widely praised. Myers later parodied the club as "Studio 69" in 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember.
In June 2000, Myers was sued by Universal Pictures for $3.8 million for backing out of a contract to play Dieter, the SNL character, in a feature film. Myers said he refused to honor the $20 million contract because he didn't want to cheat moviegoers with an unacceptable script - one that he himself had written. Myers countersued, and a settlement was reached after several months where Myers agreed to make another film with Universal. That film would be The Cat in the Hat, released in November 2003 and starring Myers as the title character. It was a role he was ecstatic to play. Also in 2003, Myers was given a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.
Mike Myers is a member of the band Ming Tea along with former Bangles guitarist and vocalist Susanna Hoffs. They performed the songs BBC and Daddy Wasn't There for the Austin Powers movies.
Wild About Movies: Did you feel comfortable coming back to this all over again? And how soon did you know after the second one you'd be coming back for number three?
Mike Myers: I'm so happy. I love the world so much. It's such a fun world and I get to see my old friends. And it's an odd experience though, because you are in this booth. So, it's kind of like being a combination, like being a goal judge in hockey and in the witness protection program. You are in this thing and you don't really get a lot of feedback. You see the people in the booth and occasionally they go, 'Let's try another one.' So, I have developed imaginary friends. I have this imaginary eagle that sits with me and I talk to her. And if it's a particularly good take, she goes 'Caw!' [Laughs.] And if it's a great take it does three Caw's. And I go, 'What's that? I was pretty good in that one.'
Wild About Movies: Do you have input in terms of the overall direction of the movies?
Mike Myers: No, and nor would I want to. Every time I meet with the people, the team, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is just a great artist in his own right and Chris Miller and Aaron Warner and Andrew Adamson. When you meet with them, their world is so complete and their ideas are so great, the dialogue begins because you are never shown a script. This is the entire script. They don't even know what it is. You only record like a little bit at a time, so you start to ask questions, because as Antonio was saying, he's like, 'Well, how big is the cat?' He didn't even know when he first started. So, the dialogue begins with clarification. 'Am I scared at this point? Do I know this person?' All that stuff.
And what happens is I end up asking the 4-year-old questions. Like, it's like, 'Do we have the airplane tickets?' 'Oh! The airplane tickets.' That's sort of the way, and I know that I have asked a hard question because they get quiet. So, I go, 'In the end, blah, blah, blah, blah.' And they go, 'Ah, we'll get back to you. Let's go on to the next line.' And then they come back and they have answers and that's kind of the thing. 'Cause I'm not in the room when they are writing it. But, it's been a great experience. These guys are just really committed to it being excellent and quality. I feel like I'm on a Stanley Cup winning team. These guys, Jeffrey is literally tireless. No aspect of it isn't improved. I think this is the best of the three. I think the animation has gotten better, the story is better, all the characters are great. And it's a great message, well told. And the music is great. Because I normally create the stuff I do for me and Antonio has directed twice and produced and stuff, I think we were talking before is that what we love is just being able to come in and play the characters.
Wild About Movies: There will undoubtedly be a 'Shrek 4.' When it comes around to recording for that movie, would either of you be interested in recording together such as the cast of 'Surf's Up' did in order to allow for more improvisation?
Mike Myers: No, I like this process, because I start to fall in love with Puss and I fall in love with Donkey and Fiona. And when I get there, it's like a radio play. I mean I like them all. In fact, I may have fallen in love with Antonio. Who hasn't? But there is something great, because in the process they don't even know what the script is and they are constantly evolving it.
Wild About Movies: Shrek has a lot more to ponder in this movie. When you saw the script did you think, 'Oh, great, more stuff to chew on' for Shrek?
Mike Myers: Oh, yeah. I feel extremely well served in terms of stuff to play. In the first movie, it's getting over the self. He has to learn to love himself in order to be loved. He has to learn to love himself in order to be in a marriage. And in this one, he has to learn to love himself in order to step into fatherhood or be the king of a country. And that inner conflict if you will, you may feel free to slap me if I cross the line of pretension. [Laughs] For me, I approach this as a dramatic part with some comedy and I get to really believe. And that's me happiest – having to believe. I like making stuff, so it's just believing and making. That's the fun part. So I was really happy. And that unity of 1, 2 and 3 is what I'm blown away most about.
Wild About Movies: Are you currently writing anything right now?
Mike Myers: On the average I take three or four years between movies, because I create them, then I write them, then I produce them and then film them. In two months I'm starting a movie called 'The Love Guru' that I've spent the last two and a half years developing. I came up with this character and I would tour it in little theaters in New York. Just have little secret shows. The Marx Bros. used to tour their movies for a year before they filmed them. I did this same process with 'Austin Powers.' When I did 'Wayne's World' I had 'Saturday Night Live' to tour it. When I left 'Saturday Night Live,' I toured 'Austin Powers.'
And the last three years I've been developing 'The Love Guru.' And now, it's at Paramount and I'm shooting in August. And then after that there's a slot and I'll probably do the Keith Moon movie. That'll also be in development during that time. You see, when you write stuff. I didn't write Keith Moon, that's Donald Margulies, who is a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright. He wrote an amazing, brilliant script. But he's invited me into the process, like, 'What do you think? What do you think?' And I'm like, 'Great.' The average movie takes 60 months from the first kind of 'Hmm, could this be a movie?' to it being on the screen. I tend to take about 36 months, but I am there all 36 months.