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.