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Wayne’s world director Penelope Spheeris is setting the record straight over alleged clashes with star Mike Myers on the set of 1992 Wayne’s world – the first feature film scripted for both.
“It wasn’t an uncomfortable set,” says Spheeris, 77 DAY‘S It happened in Hollywood podcasts. “Mike is hypoglycemic, so if he has low blood sugar he could get grumpy. So no big deal. I have worked with Richard Pryor and Albert Brooks. They will give you a heart attack.
Spheeris says the discord started after filming had wrapped and the finished film was screened for test audiences. Myers’ father died at the time, so he flew back to Canada for the funeral and missed those early showings.
“I had a very good public reaction during the tests. That’s when shit hit the fan,” recalls Spheeris. “He wasn’t there to witness the incredible public reaction and look at the test cards and realize we had something on our hands.”
Instead Myers watched the film himself and wrote 11 pages of notes – many of them suggestions for cuts – single-spaced in a notepad.
“Most of them sucked,” says Spheeris.
Among the cuts Myers wanted was a scene in which Lara Flynn Boyle, who plays an ex-girlfriend who still pines for Wayne, crashes her bicycle into a car. “Mike didn’t want him there because it was her laughing, not him,” explains Spheeris. “This is how Lorne teaches players about him: always against each other.”
Myers also had his doubts about one of the film’s most iconic sequences: when Wayne, Garth (Dana Carvey), and friends lip-sync to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the 1976 AMC Pacer called the Mirthmobile.
“They hated doing it. They hated banging their heads in the car. He did wrong. (Metallica’s) James Hetfield, all those headbangers, they’re used to it. These guys weren’t used to doing that. They had no neck muscles and it started to hurt a lot. They started asking for Advil on set,” recalls Spheeris. “The worst part is, Mike said he not only hurts, but it’s not fun.”
Spheeris strongly objected to Myers’ suggestions and told producer Lorne Michaels and Paramount executives that the film would suffer creatively – and comedically – if she executed them.
“Lorne pulled me aside and said, ‘Penelope, if you don’t change the movie, you won’t be able to direct Wayne’s World 2. Mike won’t approve of you,’” she recalls.
Paramount executives told her, “We really want to do Wayne’s World 2 with Mike. We won’t tell him you won’t change it, you have to tell him. And Lorne said, ‘I’m not telling him, you tell him.’”
“So I told him,” says Spheeris. “And I got fired.”
While Spheeris accepted a handful of Myers’ edits, it’s mostly his vision that audiences have seen on screens. And they saw it: The film grossed $183 million worldwide, or $400 million in 2023.
When a sequel was immediately put into production later that year, Spheeris was replaced by Stephen Surjik, a Canadian director who had worked with Michaels on the sketch show. The boys in the hall.
When she got the news, Spheeris pulled the phone off the wall and “cried for two weeks. And then I got over it,” she says. Wayne’s World 2 grossed $48 million worldwide, or $102 million today.
Spheeris and Michaels never spoke again, despite knowing and collaborating together from 1976 to the first season of SNLwhere he worked on short films.
Myers did not respond immediately THR’s request for comment.
Listen to the full episode of Penelope Spheeris It happened in Hollywood below and make sure you sign up.