Mike Myers just turned 51. Instead of doing something like a round-up of “Wayne’s Most Radical Party Moments” or list of movie roles Myers has passed over doing, we’re going to try to find out where the guy has been for the last decade. We’ve heard Myers voice in green ogre form with the Shrek sequels, but as far as seeing Myers’ face on-screen — those occasions have been few and far between.
For a solid 10 years, Myers seemed to have one hit movie after another, starting with the Wayne’s World movies, then Austin Powers, followed by Shrek. Since 2003, however, we have only seen Myers’ face on the big screen in two films — the critically detested The Love Guru and a cameo in Inglourious Basterds. So what happened? Did Myers adopt a strange new religion that frowns upon wearing goofy wigs? Did Lorne Michaels place a hex on him?
Myers last feature film was 2010’s Shrek Forever, a success both commercially and critically. His last starring role in a live-action film was 2008’s The Love Guru. Instead of being another entry in Myers list of comedy successes, the film ate it, with critics proclaiming things like “Mike Myers is anti-comedy.” How the movie fared with critics isn’t something Myers said he concerns himself with in a recent GQ article.
“You kind of have to make it and you put it out there. There’s a lot in that movie that I love.
I don’t read reviews at all, up or down. I have never read a review. The way I knew about what Siskel said [this is presumably the scathing review of So I Married an Axe Murderer] is that Jay [Roach, Austin Powers director] mentioned it to me. I’ve never read a review.”
It’s easy to pin a critically-panned movie as the culprit for the lack of Mike Myers blockbuster movies over the last ten years, but that’s at least a partially false accusation. In short, Myers has been living his life and doing projects that spark his interest. Myers married for a second time in 2010, had a daughter in 2011, and just welcomed his second child. Add in his dedication to his twice-a-week floor hockey league, and all of that can keep a man busy from rolling out a Sprockets movie.
Myers also admitted that most of the films he’s done in the past have been projects he was intricately involved with, and ideas simply take time to manifest into a movie treatment, script and produced project. He claims to have only had 15 scripts sent to him in the last two decades — he turned all but two of them down, and one of those was his cameo in Inglourious Basterds.
The Inglourious Basterds project came about because Tarantino called him out of the blue and Myers was a fan of the director’s previous works:
“He called and said “Would you like to play a British general in a World War Two movie?” and I was like “Are you kidding me?” It was amazing. We shot at Nazi headquarters, and first day I got there he was like “Mike, come here”, and I watched a scene where Hitler is having a portrait done of himself. I didn’t know what to make of it except to say, “My god, what an unbelievable, awesome life I have.”
In addition to the aforementioned films, audiences of the last ten years were also treated to Myers’ jaw-dropping awkwardness during his Katrina telethon appearance next to Kanye West, as well as a goofy spoof on Oscars etiquette two years ago. Myers also made his directorial debut.
Your local theater probably didn’t run it, but in 2013 Myers produced and directed Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. The documentary, which focuses on the manager of rocker Alice Cooper, was a passion project that stemmed from Myers’ negotiations on which song Cooper would sing for his cameo in the first Wayne’s World movie. (The song was “Feed My Frankenstein,” by the way.)
As far as movies starring Mike Myers are concerned, Austin Powers 4 rumors have been floating around for the past three years with no actual production happening. Myers has said that he currently has five ideas for movies — which may or may not include an Austin Powers film — that he would like to get done.
“I have five ideas. You need to just let them percolate. Everything’s about whether the idea is sparking me. Is this something that I can honor the audience, and make it great, you know? Those are the two things. Often the logistics of moviemaking are, between coming up with an idea and it on the screen, the tendency of the idea is not always to bloom, it’s mostly to rot. It’s an entropic process.”
As far as when we can expect Myers to return to the spotlight, it sounds like he’s in no rush.
“I don’t have to please anybody,” Myers told GQ in the aforementioned interview. “I’m extremely happy with how things are going, have gone, and will go. I’m very grateful for my beautiful family and I’m grateful that I got to choose an artist’s life. But I don’t have to explain myself to anybody. I can tolerate living in the temporary uncomfortability of being misunderstood.”