Calgary Herald

Mike Myers directs portrait of kindness

- — Katherine Monk

Some day soon, every Canadian will be able to leave a Mike Myers stamp on a letter, but the Canadian comic, actor, writer and now director says the only stamp he wants to leave on the world is that of mensch — Supermensc­h, in fact.

Myers spent the past two years working on his directoria­l debut in the form of a new documentar­y about music manager, and humanitari­an, Shep Gordon. Titled Supermensc­h: The Legend of Shep Gordon, the movie may sound like a mock doc for those unfamiliar with the inner circle of ’70s rock, but Myers says it’s more than a portrait of one real man. It’s proof you can be successful and kind at the same time. Postmedia spoke with Myers and Gordon about their collaborat­ion, which opens in select markets this week. Q: How did this project begin? Myers: I met Shep on the set of Wayne’s World in 1991.

Q: What sort of bond did you form?

Myers: I thought he was reasonable and lovely and I wanted the (Alice Cooper) song Eighteen from School’s Out for Wayne’s World and he said it wasn’t going to happen. … So from there I went to Hawaii and he called and said come over to my house, and it’s been an insanely close friendship ever since.

Gordon: I was very nervous when I first met Mike because I was a huge, huge, huge fan. … And in those days, it was really important for an artist to have the propulsion of a song in a movie for radio, it really influenced radio. I knew Mike wanted School’s Out and I was used to people making decisions based on complete stupidity, so when I sat down with him and said it really doesn’t work for us, he actually listened … and let me tell you, reasonable­ness is not one of the qualities you experience, usually in Hollywood.

Q: What have you been able to maintain that others may have lost?

Gordon: For me it’s a difficult answer because it’s just the way I live. It’s how you treat the world and your business is part of the world, rather than have the world just be business. I also think it’s overstated how bloody the world of show business is. I think all commerce is bloody. ... It follows the state of humans.

Myers: I would agree entirely. Many people have managed to do well and maintain their humanity but show business is a self-reflective industry and most industries don’t have that degree of scrutiny.

Q: One of my favourite observatio­ns of yours in the film, Shep, is that fame doesn’t mean anything.

Gordon: In the end, you want to make a living and feed your family. I’ve been lucky because I have been able to do that without flirting with fame. … Mike has a great focus on it. He calls it industrial waste.

Myers: It’s the industrial disease of creativity.

Gordon: Say you take a mineral out of the earth which really helps people, there is usually toxic waste that ends up in a river somewhere. And this is the same. If you choose to be an artist and choose to support your family, fame is this industrial waste that you have to learn how to deal with, or it kills you.

Myers: You almost need to don a Hazmat suit.

Q: We haven’t seen you in a while. Was something therapeuti­c happening for you while making this film?

Myers: Absolutely. Any time you hang out with Shep, something therapeuti­c happens. It’s not just me. Shep has touched many people. … He doesn’t see kindness as weakness. It’s just straight-up kindness … As for me and fame, I am incredibly grateful things have worked out so well for me. I grew up in Scarboroug­h. I always wanted to be in show business but didn’t grow up in a show business family. I had to learn it. All I can tell you is my training has been to love the art and yourself, and not yourself and the art. Besides, I’m not famous to me. First of all, my mum and dad would never allow it … and the dudes you played hockey with are not going to let you get away with any of that crap. The only weird part of it is I got married … and I didn’t think to call the media. It’s not how I was raised. But then when it came out three months later it was called a “secret wedding.” Well, it might be a private wedding, but it’s not a “secret” wedding.

Q: So why was this important to make?

Myers: Well, to know Shep is to love Shep. I am 51 and the father of two and as I look back on things, first of all, his stories are fantastic. And second … when I went to York University to get a fine arts degree in film I thought I was going to be (American director) John Cassavetes …

I wanted to make movies about Canada and tell Canadian stories and wanted Canada to be a place where it’s all about early attempts at success. Then I got hired by Second City and then got hired by Saturday Night Live and was thrilled about it all. But you just get busy. Stuff takes time.

But the response to this has been fantastic. And people understand the spirit in which it was made. It’s not a career move. This is a portrait of a great guy and I want the world to see there is a way to make a great living and maintain your humanity. Fame is not a destinatio­n. But it’s weird: people need to make stuff. It can’t feed, clothe or shod you, but we need to make things.

 ?? For the Calgary Herald ?? Mike Myers says he has wanted to make movies since his days at York University.
For the Calgary Herald Mike Myers says he has wanted to make movies since his days at York University.

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