New Line Cinema
Mike Myers burst onto the scene in the 90s with the refreshing comedy Wayne’s World. His star went on the rise from then all the way up to the late aughts, with hits like the spy parody Austin Powers and children’s favorite Shrek. But it’s been quite a few years since we’ve seen Myers in anything big. He hasn’t retired, so what happened to this former A-lister?
After the success of the second Austin Powers film, Myers signed a contract to make a film about his SNL character Dieter. However, he walked away from the production citing issues with the script (which he co-wrote). Universal sued him for $5 million and Imagine Entertainment sued him for $30 million. Myers responded with a countersuit. Eventually all lawsuits were dropped, but that was not the end of his problems with these studios.
In 2003, Mike Myers starred in The Cat In The Hat, the live-action adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic. The film was not well received, with critics panning its off-tone, crude humor. It was so bad, that Dr. Seuss’ own wife decided to forbid further live-action adaptations of her husband’s works. And it seems Myers didn’t just play a jerk cat, he acted similarly on the film’s set.
In an interview, Myers’ co-star in The Cat In The Hat, Amy Hill, gave a few anecdotes that painted the actor as a diva. Apparently, one assistant’s entire job was to feed him chocolates from a container all day. He also micromanaged the production and made the cast and crew acquiesce to his every demand. You may think fame went to his head, but it seems he has acted this way since the beginning.
Mike Myers’ big break after leaving SNL was his hit movie Wayne’s World. But even making that film wasn’t pleasant for everyone involved. Director Penelope Spheeris remembers him as difficult to work with and emotionally needy, and gave a similar anecdote about his demand for a snack assistant. Studios kept hiring him because he made them money, until a movie came that changed everything.
The 2008 comedy The Love Guru was made on a $62 million budget (plus marketing costs). Its worldwide gross was $40 million, classifying it squarely as a flop. It contributed to Paramount’s already bad year, and possibly led to the firing of several executives. It was the last big movie with Myers as lead, and that’s not a coincidence. But maybe the lack of offers is not the only reason he’s out of the limelight.
In a 2014 interview, Mike Myers said he’d only received 15 film scripts since 1991. So clearly he’s not getting many offers from studios. But it appears he’s also become very picky, claiming he turns “virtually everything down.” He said he’d be happy to take interesting dramatic parts, but those are not the opportunities he’s getting. Though he has played some serious roles, his fans haven’t seemed to notice.
Myers has played small, non-comedic characters in movies like Studio 54 and Inglourious Basterds, which he took out of interest in the scripts and respect for the directors. But that hasn’t quite translated into more prominent dramatic roles like it happened with Steve Carell. Myers continues to be seen as a comedian, but that’s not where his passion seems to lie anymore.
While filming Wayne’s World, Mike Myers met legendary music manager Shep Gordon. Gordon became a mentor of sorts for him, and in 2014, Myers made the documentary Supermensch, profiling Gordon’s life and career. But the movie grossed less than $250,000 domestically, further souring studios from funding his projects. Myers turned back to TV, but the problems didn’t end.
2015 saw the prospect of Myers’ return to TV, with HBO announcing they’d signed a two-year deal with the comedian. The project was not specified, and a year came and went without more news. Then it was reported that Myers had opted out of the deal because his series wasn’t picked up. With another failed project under his belt, he began making some bizarre choices.
Sony Pictures Television/ABC
In 2017, Mike Myers became the host of ABC’s The Gong Show. But here’s where it gets weird: he appears in disguise as English comedian Tommy Maitland. He even did promotional press in full character, leading people to question whether he was trying to hide his real identity. It was seen as an odd, unfunny publicity stunt. Though the show was renewed for a second season, Myers’ attention seems to be elsewhere.
Jewel 92.5 FM
Myers recently has turned to the literary world. He published a book called Canada, full of photographs and anecdotes about his beloved homeland infused with his characteristic humor. He did a promotional tour for it, which resulted in making the book a bestseller. His new role as an author was earning success, but it didn’t restore his A-lister status. His lifestyle choices may also have something to do with that.
Mike Myers had his first son at the age of 47 and now has three children, the youngest of which is only two years old. He has talked about how happy fatherhood has made him, so it stands to reason he wants to devote himself to that new role. But a more normal family life doesn’t always align with a prolific film career. That’s not to say he has completely given up.
New Line Cinema
Myers is set to appear in the noir thriller Terminal alongside Margot Robbie and Simon Pegg, as well as the biopic Del. But it remains to be seen if these efforts will finally give him the “serious dramatic actor” reputation he’s been chasing. Though if that fails, he can always go back to his greatest hits, and he knows it.
Shrek producers have announced that the fifth installment of the animated hit is set to arrive in 2019, though Mike Myers isn’t officially attached to the project yet. In interviews, the actor has remained open to the possibility of making a Wayne’s World 3 or even an Austin Powers 4. So while Hollywood isn’t giving him any new big projects, his old hits are always on the table.