Director Penelope Spheeris talks about her clash with Mike Myers on Wayne’s World…

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Whilst the first Wayne’s World film in 1992 made Mike Myers a huge star it seems all was not well afterwards according to director Penelope Spheeris who has recently spoken about her clash with Mike Myers on the film

It all seemed to have begun when the film had wrapped and and was screened for test audiences. “I got great audience reaction in the testing setting. That’s when the crap hit the fan,” Spheeris recalls. “He wasn’t there to witness the incredible audience reaction and look at the test cards and realize that we had something on our hands.”

Myers father had passed away at the time and he had returned to Canada for the funeral whilst the test screenings took place and when he returned he watched it alone and made 11 pages of notes for Spheeris which according to her, ‘sucked’.

“Mike is hypoglycemic’ she explained, ‘So if he got low-blood sugar he could get grumpy. So big deal. I worked with Richard Pryor and Albert Brooks. They’ll cause you a heart attack.”

Among the cuts Myers’ wanted was a scene in which Lara Flynn Boyle, who plays an ex-girlfriend still pining for Wayne, crashes her bike into a car. “Mike didn’t want it in there because she was getting the laugh, not him,” Spheeris explains. “That’s the way Lorne teaches his players — to always one-up one another.”

Bur perhaps the most surprising cut he requested was the now iconic Bohemian Rhapsody sequence in the car or the mirthmobile as they called it. “They hated doing it. They hated banging their head in the car. It hurt. [Metallica’s] James Hetfield, all those headbangers, they’re used to it. These guys weren’t used to doing that. They didn’t have the muscles in their neck and it started hurting real bad. They started asking for Advil on the set,” Spheeris recalls. “The worst part is Mike said not only does it hurt, it’s not funny.”

Spheeris hated all his suggestions and campaigned to the Paramount execs and producer Lorne Michaels  that if she carried them out it would ruin the film. “Lorne took me aside and said, ‘Penelope, if you don’t change the movie, you won’t be able to direct Wayne’s World 2. Mike’s not going to approve you,’” she recalls. It was further compounded when the execs told her: “We really want to do Wayne’s World 2 with Mike. We’re not going to tell him you won’t change it — you have to tell him’. And then Lorne said, ‘I’m not telling him, you tell him.’” 

“So I told him,” Spheeris says. “And I got canned.”

She did reluctantly agree to some of the minor suggestions and the film went on to make over $183m that meant a sequel was immediately greenlit. Except not with Spheeris who was replaced by Stephen Surjik, a Canadian director who had worked with Lorne Michaels.

The sequel bombed earning a pitiful $48m.

Spheeris and Michaels have not spoken since

related feature: career ruining movies – Part 2

related feature : Rami Malek, Queen & Mike Myers at the Bohemian Rhapsody World Premiere

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