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Mike Myers on Shrek 3 & Powers 4

Mike Myers talks about Shrek, Austin Powers and The Love Guru.

Mike Myers on Shrek 3 & Powers 4

This may not seem like such a big deal to all of you, but Mike Myers has never sat down with the print press in the seven years I’ve been a journalist. Like many comedians, he prefers to be on camera where jokes translate visually and nobody can say you said stuff you didn’t, although they can still edit manipulatively. So speaking to the versatile comedian was more a chance to delve into the great comedy mind than to really find out the nitty gritty of the Shrek movies. There’s that too though, so fans awaiting Shrek the Third can get their fix too.

CraveOnline: You’ve played so many Scottish and British characters, do you secretly wish you were born English?

Mike Myers: At every point I wish I was born in England. They need to make it colder in here. We could hang meat in this room. I’m sorry, yeah, I grew up in a very English household. My parents were from Liverpool. I’ve said this before but there’s nobody more English than an Englishman who no longer lives in England. So it was very important to the point where my dad would actually keep me up well into 1 o’clock in the morning to see a classic British film or listen to a classic British band. And I love it. I love all things English.

CraveOnline: Why not do a Madonna and start speaking like that in real life?

Mike Myers: I wouldn’t want to. When I moved back from England, I lived in England for two years, I did have a slight English accent that was ridiculed out of me.

CraveOnline: How has Shrek developed over the last three movies?

Mike Myers: I think it’s developed beautifully well. I think the writing on the movie is excellent. I am very excited to be part of it. It feels like I’m on a Stanley Cup winning team. Everybody wants it to be excellent at every turn and they’re tireless is the only way I can describe it. The character of Shrek has developed. In the first one, he had to learn to love himself in order to be loved. The second one, he had to learn to love himself in order to be married, to start his own family. In the third one, he had to learn to love himself in order to believe that an ogre could possibly be a father or the king of a country. You feel in the third one, I do anyway, that you feel the third one honors the first and second one, it’s the same lesson in a different rite of passage. He has that one more rite of passage to go before he can fully be responsible for another human being.

CraveOnline: Is that also like how they say that most comedians are unhappy people in real life?

Mike Myers: Oh, I’d say that’s 100% accurate. Most comedians want to be the architects of their own embarrassment. They have horrendous self-esteem issues for which being the first, like" I myself will fall into the mud. I don’t want to be pushed into the mud." So yeah, that’s probably true but I think most people struggle with self-acceptance. I think that’s pretty universal. It’s just comedians get an outlet to externalize it.

CraveOnline: Has part of you wanted to tinker with Shrek’s voice over the series?

Mike Myers: I watched one and two. I actually went the other way. I wanted to make sure there was consistency so that you could kind of honor [the trilogy]. I just feel the custodial pressure. Like I feel because 1 and 2 were happily and gratefully so well received, that on the third one you want to just maintain, say to the people, "Thank you for coming to 1 and 2 and we’re going to honor you by making the third the best movie it could possibly be." And there is a slight difference. It is slightly deeper in the third one than it is in the first and second. That was my concession to change.

CraveOnline: Are you involved with what happens in 4?

Mike Myers: I don’t know. I come and I show up and I do the voice.

CraveOnline: So you don’t have any say?

Mike Myers: It’s so good I wouldn’t want say. You know what I mean? I have the joy of I go to the Dreamworks campus and then they put on a presentation, they go, "This is what I’m thinking" and I’m always going, "Thank you for the lesson in filmmaking."

CraveOnline: What’s your process for creating a character, be it Shrek, Austin Powers, Wayne or Dieter?

Mike Myers: Well, I take a long time between movies. It’s about three and a half to four years is the average. I haven’t made that many movies. When you create and write and produce the movies, it just takes forever. Something hits my ear and it kind of happens. Usually it’s music. In the case of Austin Powers, I was driving home from hockey practice and I heard The Look of Love and I went, "What happened to swingers?" And then started doing this voice and I toured the character for a year before bringing it to a studio. And I’ve done the same thing with this new movie I’m starting in two months called The Love Guru. I’ve been in New York, I sort of did it in small theaters, sort of secret shows for about a year and a half and then I spent about a year and a half writing it and now we’re filming it in August. And I take a page out of the Marx Brothers playbook. They would tour their movies for a year before they committed it to film. I do tons of read-throughs as well. There’s sort of two things you’ve got to chart in a movie, which is going for the dramatic goal, and you’re big laughs. They have to be figured out to get that comedic momentum. It’s more journeyman and like being an engineer that way. And it takes time. That’s the thing. I’m a 9 to 5 guy. I get in at 9 and leave at 5.

CraveOnline: Who is The Love Guru?

Mike Myers: The Love Guru is a Canadian kid who was left in India, raised in an ashram, becomes a guru and has to help a star player of the Toronto Maple Leafs who’s gone off the rails, get it together to win the Stanley Cup.

CraveOnline: Are you going to play multiple characters in that film?

Mike Myers: I’m on the fence. There is a couple that I could do and they’re not sure. There’s so many forces at work that have nothing to do with you that are hard to juggle.

CraveOnline: But not the hockey star?

Mike Myers: No, I’m not.

CraveOnline: Is there another Austin Powers in the wings?

Mike Myers: There’s one that we had an idea about and the only thing I will say is that it’s entirely from Dr. Evil’s point of view. It would be the first of his trilogy.

CraveOnline: You said the T word, isn’t that a huge commitment?

Mike Myers: Oh, it’s a joke. I’m completely joking. I just love the bluster of saying it’s a trilogy. Yes, it’s a 25 part series of movies that I’ve decided are going to take 25. No, I was just joking.

CraveOnline: Are you surprised you’re considered a big comic star? There’ve really only been a few movies and some signature characters.

Mike Myers: Yeah, I wanted to act as long as I can remember. I remember my dad was funny. My dad was from Liverpool and one of the biggest joys was making him laugh. One of the greatest feelings was that no matter what kind of chaos was happening in my house, if a funny comedy was on, there was a truce in the house. And so it actually made the house smell nicer. Just everything was good about the house. I love comedy, blah blah blah. It’s hard to sort of talk about it and not seem so precious, but I did TV commercials when I was a kid. Gilda Radner played my mother when I was eight and then I fell in love with her, cried on the last day of this weird four day commercial shoot which was huge. My brothers called me Sucky Baby. I was Sucky Baby for many years, and then one day they said, "Hey, Sucky Baby, your girlfriend’s on this stupid show that doesn’t even have a title." It was Saturday Night Live. I went, "I have found what I would love to do." So I wanted to be on the show since I was 11 and then I got on the show which was the craziest thing. I wanted to be at Second City and I got hired on my last day of high school. Then I did Saturday Night Live a few years later. And a few years later after that I did what I’ve always wanted to do which was to act in a movie, sort of have my own Cloussea. That’s what I wanted and I got to do that with Austin Powers. And then Jeffrey Katzenberg said, "Would you like to be in this thing called Shrek?" And I said, "Uh, it has a very bad title." Actually, a lot of people were coming up to me before it came out, before they knew and said, "Hey, yo, Mike. Shriek?" And I’d be like, "Watch it, it’s good, don’t worry." Shriek. So anyways, yes, I’m very surprised because I did want to do it when I was a kid but you never actually think you’re going to get to do it.

CraveOnline: Has there been anything daunting or a downside to success?

Mike Myers: No. It’s trickier than I thought. In Canada, I’m from Toronto. It’s a very, very laid back city. It’s a very unpretentious city so when you are thrust into different environments, there’s an odd adaptation period. There are times when unkind and unfair and ungenerous and moreover untrue things are written about you. That bothers me less now. When I was first [starting out], I was like, "I can’t believe that. I’m not on the UFO Alien Sex Diet where I only eat salmon." The irony being that I am on that now. But you kind of go, "Wow, that’s just crazy. How can they do that?" On the other hand, my best friend from Toronto came down for the fourth of July and I wanted to see the fireworks. We were rushing to get to the South Street Seaport. They started already and I was at the Brooklyn Bridge. I don’t know if you know the Brooklyn Bridge and then the South Street Seaport. I went, "Oh, could we watch it from the bridge?" And a cop was like, "I’m sorry, the bridge is closed off." It was completely closed off. And then he went, "Hey, go ahead Mr. Myers. Go ahead, Mike, don’t worry about it." [Into walkie talkie] "Mike Myeers is coming up." So I walked on the bridge entirely by myself, me and my best friend, we watched the fireworks from the bridge and I was like, "You know what? The end of the day, it all kind of works out."

CraveOnline: Would you ever go back and revisit Dieter or Coffee Talk? Is Sprockets dead in the water?

Mike Myers: No, nothing dead. There is no committee that meets and has a five year plan. It’s much more informal than that. The way I would want to do the Dieter movie would be super crazy low budge. I’d want to do it like on camera phone or something. Something that is more apt to it, or on Etch-a-sketch or something. That’s what I would like for it. The Coffee Talk lady movie I could do. I love doing the character but I have so many planes that are circling the airport. An average film takes 60 months between the first idea and it being on a screen. I actually am faster than that, because I create it and then I write it and it’s on the average about 36 months between, "Hmm, I wonder" and it being on the screen.

CraveOnline: Just go on The View for a day as that character.

Mike Myers: Oh, that’d be fun actually.