EXCLUSIVE: RADiUS-TWC, the boutique label of The Weinstein Company, has acquired North American distribution rights to Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon. The documentary, which premiered in Toronto on September 7 at Roy Thompson Hall, marks the feature directorial debut of Mike Myers. RADiUS co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego plan to release the film theatrically in the first quarter of 2014. They tell me they see the breakout potential of 20 Feet From Stardom, the acclaimed docu they turned into a prestige film hit this spring after acquiring it at Sundance.
Related: Toronto: Fleming Q&A’s Mike Myers On ‘Supermensch
With backing from A&E IndieFilms, Myers devoted the documentary to the life journey of Shep Gordon, who became a music manager after a chance encounter in the 1960s with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Specifically, the latter felt bad after punching Gordon in the face the night before after Gordon, concerned she was being attacked, broke up what turned out to be a consensual sexual encounter taking place in the grass outside his hotel room window. From there, he colorfully steered the careers of such musical artists as Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, Teddy Pendergrass and Blondie, and he created the “celebrity chef” culture and became a confidante of the Dalai Lama. Myers, who met Gordon when he was trying to get Alice Cooper to appear in a Wayne’s World scene, interviewed himself and the likes of Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Willie Nelson, Emeril Lagasse and more. Myers creates a picture of a charming Hollywood mensch whose Midas touch for dealmaking realized the dreams of others, as he put his own happiness on the back burner. I found the Zelig-like subject and the film irresistible. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After hatching characters that fueled movies such as Wayne’s World and Austin Powers, Mike Myers quietly spent the past two years readying his feature directorial debut on a docu about Shep Gordon, a music manager as colorful as any previous Myers creation. Few knew this was how Myers was spending his time until Toronto unveiled a lineup that included Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon. The film premieres tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 at Roy Thompson Hall as an acquisition title. Myers chronicles the spiritual and career journey of Gordon, whose trajectory is parts Forrest Gump and Being There, in terms of the number of chance encounters with icons that helped make him a giant in his field. It started when he arrived in a hotel room in California after quitting a job on the first day. Hearing a woman in distress outside, he rushed to her aid and promptly got face-punched by Janis Joplin after breaking up her consensual sexual encounter. She felt bad the next day, and she and Jimi Hendrix helped Gordon get into the music biz, where he broke Alice Cooper, Teddy Pendergrass and others. Later, his desire to help his chef friends birthed the zillion-dollar celebrity chef industry, and Gordon also became part of the Dalai Lama’s inner circle.
DEADLINE: You have made a career creating and playing these great eccentric memorable characters. Is there a common thread shared by Shep Gordon and your fictional characters?
MIKE MYERS: My friend Dave Foley from Kids In The Hall said that all comedic characters have obsession and compulsion. They’re just like you and I, only heightened in specific areas. For Austin Powers, it is about girls; he’s this girl machine. With Dr. Evil it’s exotica, and he’s a take-over-the-world machine. Wayne Campbell was a party machine and Linda Richman a Barbra Streisand machine. It’s all about obsessions and compulsions. Shep Gordon is just this lovely man, the nicest I’ve met in my life. He is a “fair” machine. He wants to help everyone, and correct any injustice done to someone he cares about, in his Mr. Magoo way. And once he enlists, he has the Midas touch. I have wanted to do a documentary on him forever. I met him on the set of Wayne’s World in 1991. Lorne Michaels told me early on that Wayne’s World was my movie and I had to be willing to fight with it. “You want Alice Cooper in your movie, go work it out with Shep Gordon,” he said. I’d never met a music manager before, I’d never been in a film before. I meet this guy who’s wearing a satin baseball jacket, with a receding hairline and a ponytail. I was six years removed from being a spiky haired punk rocker and we all loved Alice Cooper. When I asked to use the songs Eighteen and School’s Out in the movie he stops me and says, “How about something from the new album?”
DEADLINE: Your reaction?
MYERS: Umm, how about no? In 10 minutes, he not only had me convinced, I wanted him to be my dad. He says, “Look, I read the script. The band is going to be on stage for eight seconds. If you put School’s Out at the end of the movie over the credits, no one is going to remember the song he is singing for the eight seconds you see him onstage in the movie. And the backstage scene is so hilarious, Alice is excited to do it.” He got everything Alice wanted, and the scenes we did, I still can’t believe I was part of that. I came to learn it was vintage Shep. He came up with this compromise, and made me feel very good about it.
DEADLINE: Was he right, or were you agented?
MYERS: He was right. People don’t really remember “Feed My Frankenstein”, which he sang a snippet of in the movie, but the audience liked the song. And they loved the theatrics and the backstage scene. Seth started inviting me out to his home in Hawaii, and I grew to realize he is the most generous man I’ve ever met.
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BREAKING: Mike Myers, who has spent a career on Saturday Night Live and in features hatching eccentric characters, is out to chronicle a real one. Myers has joined with A&E IndieFilms, the documentary feature production arm of A&E to make his directorial debut on Supermensch. … Read More »
AMPAS President Hawk Koch tonight used the Academy as a promo tool for the 1992 comedy which he exec produced 21 years ago. Wayne’s World has zero to do with prestigious Academy functions, but a rep told me similar screenings are in the works to attract a new audience to AMPAS. Tonight’s event sold out in 90 seconds at $5 a pop.
With Saturday Night Live boss Lorne Michaels (who produced the pic) Koch wrangled stars Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, and director Penelope Spheeris to the event following years of tensions between the trio. In a pre-film panel at the Academy’s Wilshire theater, moderator Koch skirted the infamous squabbles surrounding the Wayne’s World shoot. Those include Myers’ reputed difficult on-set demands. And reports that he Myers and Carvey had fallen out after Myers lifted his Dr. Evil voice from Carvey. Spheeris meanwhile has accused Myers of vetoing her as the sequel’s director because she didn’t listen to his edit requests. (“‘I hated that bastard for years”, she said in a 2008 interview.) No questions were allowed from the at-capacity audience. And the panelists were explicitly instructed not to talk to press at the event. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Mike Myers has just left CAA and moved to WME. No big drama, I’m told. He simply followed his agent, Dan Aloni, who moved from CAA to become a WME partner. WME’s quick move to … Read More »
After the Hitfix website reported that Mike Myers had signed a deal to do a fourth Austin Powers film, other websites are running wild with it. What’s really going on? Well, I wouldn’t necessarily dress for the premiere just yet. No deal has yet been signed, and top New Line brass are surprised the whole thing has reared up after they made Myers an offer six months to a year ago, and hear nothing. Forgive New Line for being skeptical: The film company thought it was well on the way to another Austin Powers installment when it made a deal in 2008 with Myers to collaborate with Mike McCullers for a Dr. Evil film that was to focus on his relationship with son Scotty (Seth Green), meant to be an unabashed homage to Myers’ father, whose Brit influence basically prodded Myers to create the British agent Austin Powers character in the first place. Then, Myers’ screen creation, The Love Guru, opened to $13 million in June 2008 against the nearly $40 million that Steve Carell’s Get Smart grossed with Steve Carell. Myers went AWOL, surfacing only for a small role in Inglourious Basterds. McCullers never moved forward with the script. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Stiller is in talks with 20th Century Fox to play the title role in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty after the previous script was finally dumped and a new approach and screenwriter was put on the project. That produced a reboot that Stiller wants to make his next film. Stiller sparked to the new take by Steve Conrad, writer of the Will Smith hit The Pursuit of Happyness. Now that Stiller is coming aboard, Fox will move quickly to lock in a cinematic director who can mix action with a PG rating, and get the picture ready for a late fall start. Stiller is repped by WME.
Mitty is still based on the 1947 Danny Kaye film from the James Thurber short story first published in The New Yorker in 1939. The story of a perpetual daydreamer had been in development so long that it seemed like it might never be more than a daydream. Everyone from Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen flirted with that previous script, and directors who have circled include Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Gore Verbinski. Mitty‘s problems stemmed from that script which was never quite right. But then Conrad started fresh and Stiller felt he knocked it out of the park. Stiller, who has starred in the lucrative Night at the Museum and Meet the Parents franchises, might have another big one on his hands. His Red Hour Films banner is based at Fox. Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and John Goldwyn have been shepherding the project as producers for years. Read More »