Entertainment

Mike Myers


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Interviewer: What does it feel like being back for a third time? Is it true that a fourth is being planned, and possibly more in the future?
Mike Myers: That's the first number I've heard today. I hear they'll be 75. They'll be doing it posthumously. It would be like through the dirt. "Donkey? I thought he was dead!" Ah, well. Well, the next step, I think, is that the movie is going to be in pill form. Why go to the pesky theater?

AM: Did you originally sign a contract for three "Shrek" movies?
MM: No, the weirdest thing for me was how I got involved. I went to see "Saving Private Ryan", at the premiere. At the party before the movie, thankfully, Jeffery Katzenberg said, "Would you like to be in an animated movie?" I said, "Yeah, sure. That's great." He said, "It's called 'Shrek'," and I was like, "Hmm, that's a terrible title." And I was wrong, but before the movie came out, they would be like, "Hey, Mike! Hi-'Shriek'?" And I said, "I know. It's 'Shrek'." They said, "Just watch it, you'll like it." So I had no idea. I never know anything. You know a common question that I was asked before "Austin Powers"? It was, "Are you afraid that you're going to be typecast as Wayne?" We have no plans. I mean, you plan, like, a little bit ahead of what you're doing, and you're only doing that at that time.

AM: At this point in your career, doesn't the success of the "Shrek" movies overshadow some of your other work? How do you choose another project that measures up to the greatest hit movies you've had over the past 20 years?
MM: I love your question. I wish I could have recorded it and played it for my best friends in Toronto. Thank you. Look, I just like making stuff. I've made stuff since I was a little kid. I had parents that were your typical relentlessly self-improving. working-class, English immigrants to Canada who just said, "If you want to do it. You can." My mom was an actress. My father and my mother met in amateur dramatics. In a weird way, I had the opposite of most actors, which is, "Why would you want to have any other job than being an actor?" It was almost a "Monty Python" sketch of, "I'd like to be a miner." "No son of mine is doing that! You're going to be a bloody playwright!" So I had that thing, and so I like making stuff. And I play the ukulele, I draw, and occasionally I'll make toy little car models. I get as much of a thrill out of all that.

AM: Are you planning to do another "Austin Powers" movie?
MM: I've been developing one that is going to maybe happen, but this time, it's all from Dr. Evil's point of view.

AM: Why do you only make a movie every couple of years?
MM: Well, I've created and written most things, except for "Shrek". The average time it takes to get a movie from your first idea until it's on the screen is 60 months. I usually take 36 months, so I'm actually faster. But because I'm the guy going 9:00-5:00 to the office and producing it, I'm not in many movies. I find it very gratifying to be lucky enough to do "Wayne's World". I came up with the idea and wrote numbers one and two. I also did "Austin Powers" numbers one through three. Now, the latest one is "The Love Guru", which I'm starting in two months. I've just spent 36 months touring it for a year, like the Marx Brothers used to do and like I did with "Austin Powers". Now I'm getting it to a place for a movie. In two months, I'm going to film.

AM: Do you mean you did stand up when you mention "touring"?
MM: I'd do little secret shows here and there. In this case, it's a movie called "The Love Guru".

AM: It sound like an old Peter Sellers movie.
MM: There was a Peter Sellers movie called "The Party", but my thing is I'm a Canadian that was left at this ashram. You see him grow at this ashram in India, become a guru, then I'm hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup.

AM: Most Canadians will say that will never happen.
MM: I figured I need to see the Stanley Cup in Toronto. I'm going to make it happen.

AM: Did you do any of the "Love Guru" shows in Toronto?
MM: No, I never got up to Toronto, strangely enough.

AM: I understand there is a Canadian version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Are you getting your star this year?
MM: It happened already.

AM: How does it compare to the one in Hollywood?
MM: The star is more stylized and one is made of marble. The other one is made from a loose aggregate--an advance polymer. Well, with both, hugely, who would have thought I'd get them? Like, I'm an idiot from Toronto.

AM: How do you feel about Shrek's evolution throughout the three movies?
MM: I think that they've done a great job. I think the writers are excellent. The directors are amazing. Like I said, all praise to Jeffery Katzenberg, Aron Warner, Chris Miller, and Andrew Adamson. I think that all the animators are great. When Antonio (Banderas) said, "Wow, it looks like real life," but it's not, and it looks like him, but it doesn't. It looks like me, but it doesn't. I don't know how they do it, but, like I was saying, being a guy that usually creates, this time around I'm brought in for them. They presented this thing, because Antonio's directed and created, so it's such a joy to come and see this thing. I think the development of the characters in the first one, "Shrek", had to learn to love himself in order to be loved, he had to learn to love himself in order to be a husband, then he had to learn to love himself in order to be a father. That is what life is like. People will serially learn the same lesson at different rites of passage. and that's what's happened. That's what, for me, it says to the audience,: "Yes, now it is time to come back and revisit this world." And they've honored one and two in this third one. I think it's the best of the three. I think that they advanced every aspect, and that's all Jeffery and the team, and the great characters that they've created. They just really want it to be great.

AM: When you speak of life lessons, I'm sorry to hear about your divorce. Does a personal event like that in your life affect your work?
MM: Well, I have decided to never really publicly talk about it. In terms of my life and the movie, the movie comes to you written, and they have their own immaculate universe that they continue on through. It's such an amazing process.

AM: Are you allowed to give any input, do improv, or offer ideas for your characters when you first read the script?
MM: When you first see it, you're like, "Is that an Etch-a-Sketch?"

AM: Do you get back to Toronto much?
MM: Yeah, my mom and my brother live there, so I get back as much as possible. I didn't go back to see any games this year, though.

AM: Are you able to walk around town without being bothered?
MM: Yeah, because people are super nice to me. The people of Toronto have always been great. They give you room. And I get the loveliest things from them, like, "Up here to see your mum, Mike?" And, I'm like, "Yeah, thanks," then I ride the subways.

AM: For real, you ride them?
MM: Oh, sure. It's the better way. People in Toronto are so like, "I don't want to bug you, Mike, because I know you're up visiting your mum," and it's so lovely. They're super. And then when people do come up and bother me, honestly, other Torontonians will go, "Leave the boy alone. He's up to see his mum, for God's sake."

AM: You are a perfectionist with your own projects. So is it easy to give up control to give your voice to another filmmaker? Do you ever call them up and talk to them about the vocal takes you liked?
MM: Oh, I do it at the time, of course. You're by yourself and you get kind of depth perception. There's a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome as well.

AM: You mean while you are in the recording booth?
MM: Yeah, in the booth. And they're so good--they're such good filmmakers. I feel like every time I go and hang out with these people, I'm going to film school. Every 'T' is crossed and every lowercase 'j' is dotted. It's unbelievable.

AM: It sounds like you really trust them.
MM: Oh yeah, because you know that they're first-rate--that they want it to be great every time.

AM: Would you consider doing the Broadway musical?
MM: Of "Shrek"? I think the costume weighs 400 pounds, so no way. [Laughs]

AM: Where does your Scottish accent originate from?
MM: Glasgow. It's definitely Glasgow.

AM: Are you much of a doodler?
MM: I draw. Those are the things that I do. I play ukulele, I draw, I play hockey. Like, I have kept all of my childhood hobbies, and I love them. I love them even more. I draw people and flowers and stuff, and I love it. It's so relaxing. I still make my little models and stuff.

AM: How did you get your secret tour put together without much fanfare?
MM: I have friends in New York and some friends that have theaters, and I'll go, "After your show, blah, blah, blah..." And the Internet is great now, so they have a subscription base and you can say...I presented it as an evening with his Holiness, the Guru Pitka. So then you think you're going to that, and then it's me. It's the only way to do it, because by the time you do the movie, you're there. It usually takes you half a movie to learn how to make the movie you're making. And I like to hit the ground running.

AM: So, there will definitely be a fourth "Austin Powers"?
MM: Well, we're developing it. We're working on it. We'll see, but it's all from Dr. Evil's point of view. That should be fun.

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 1:40 PM EDT | More details

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