Wayne’s World ranks as one of the funniest and most quotable comedies of the 1990s, but that doesn’t mean it was an excellent experience for everybody on set. Now, as the sequel nears its 30th anniversary, director Penelope Spheeris reflects on her clashes with star/apparent diva Mike Myers and why she wasn’t asked to return.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Penelope Spheeris pointed to the test screenings as the real point at which her relationship with Mike Myers came to a head, stemming from a lack of trust in the director and the viewers. “I got great audience reaction in the testing setting. That’s when the crap hit the fan,” she said. “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.” Instead, Myers handed over 11 pages of notes, which Spheeris said “sucked” for the most part.
One change Mike Myers tried to force on Penelope Spheeris saw plenty of ego at play: the hilarious moment when Lara Flynn Boyle’s horrible gift-giving ex Stacy runs her bike into a parked car and flies over the hood, apparently because it took away from Wayne and Garth. “Mike didn’t want it in there because she was getting the laugh, not him,..That’s the way Lorne teaches his players — to always one-up one another.” Could the bit have been cut? Sure, Boyle has plenty of stalker ex-girlfriend moments that we get who she is, but it does enhance the hockey scene. Game on!
Another scene Myers didn’t find excellent was the now-iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene due to how much headbanging the group had to do. Of course, it went on to become the movie’s signature moment and even got the Queen classic nominated by the American Film Institute has one of the 100 greatest movie songs ever…But I also think “Foxy Lady” should have been in the running.
At the urging of executive producer Lorne Michaels, it fell on Spheeris to tell Myers which changes she wouldn’t make. It’s here that one might take note that Spheeris didn’t direct Wayne’s World 2, being replaced by Stephen Surjik (Kids in the Hall).
Despite the bond that ties so many SNL alum — Penelope Spheeris was producing Albert Brooks shorts in the early days while Mike Myers was cast member from 1989 to 1995 — the two never worked together again. So if Wayne’s World 3 ever happens, you can forget her involvement.
How do you feel about Penelope Spheeris’ stories about Mike Myers? Did her absence from the sequel show? Do you prefer the first or second Wayne’s World? Let us know!