A rift between Wayne and Garth? Way. No Way. Way. There are reports that the ego-swelling success of Wayne’s World is taking its toll on the relationship of Dana Carvey and Mike Myers. The Saturday Night Live duo seem unable to agree on a script or a director for the sequel to the movie, which has grossed $121 million. Their bickering could eventually threaten the May start date of WWII, which Paramount hopes to deliver to theaters by year’s end.
Not surprisingly, the movie’s players — Carvey, Myers, their reps, sequel producer Lorne Michaels, and Paramount brass — insist all’s right with Wayne’s World. ”This is gossip and innuendo,” insists Paramount production chief John Goldwyn. ”Mike and Dana have been a collaborative team. This creative spirit is continuing.”
Insiders say the rancor first developed when Myers delivered a draft of the sequel that had lots of Wayne but ”barely included” Garth. Paramount quickly hired SNL comedy writers Terry and Bonnie Turner, the husband-and-wife authors of Wayne’s World (later revised by Myers and Carvey), to divvy up the gags more evenly.
According to Marc Gurvitz of Brillstein/Grey, Myers and Carvey’s manager, Myers’ script deliberately ”left holes” for Carvey to add on Garth scenes. ”It’s how they work together,” he says. That may be true, but sources also claim the pair have been referring to one another in less than flattering terms. Carvey recently vented his frustrations with Myers in a high-level meeting at Brillstein/Grey, says one insider. Carvey allegedly joked that when he recently phoned Myers at his home, an assistant asked chillingly, ”And what is this regarding?”
Myers, who’s also coping with mixed reactions to his upcoming TriStar film, So I Married an Axe Murderer, is said to be bothered by the job offers Carvey has attracted since the success of Wayne’s World. The offers include the soon-to-be-vacant David Letterman slot at 12:30 a.m. on NBC, which Carvey is apparently no longer interested in filling.
Another argument has been over Myers’ desire to direct the sequel, an idea Carvey and Michaels are said to oppose. Sources say Myers was also interested in calling the shots on Wayne’s World. That film’s director, Penelope Spheeris, says she didn’t consider doing Wayne’s World II because ”making a movie doesn’t have to involve that much strife.”
Unfortunately for Myers, the prevailing Hollywood view is that he’s more difficult than Carvey. One agent close to the sequel’s negotiations says, ”Doesn’t (Myers) realize that 20 years from now, he’ll be running around a state fair in a black wig, yelling, ‘Hey, I used to be Wayne!’?” Gurvitz sees it another way. ”With Mike,” he says, ”it’s all about the work. He’s a perfectionist. He’s very detail oriented and fights for what he believes in.”
Carvey, 37, is definitely more laid-back than his 29-year-old colleague, but he’s not without his quirks. Screenwriter James Toback (Bugsy), who recently collaborated with Carvey on a stalled Simpson-Bruckheimer comedy, Bad Boys, calls him ”extremely funny, bright, and open to all kinds of stuff.” But another screenwriter on Boys says that he’s just as competitive with other performers as he has been with Myers. ”It was the same thing on Bad Boys,” he claims. ”Basically, Dana was sitting in this room with (costar) Jon Lovitz, and they both wanted to be the only funny guy.”
Given everything that’s riding on Wayne’s World II, the movie will be made. And the tumult between the two stars may even work itself out. In the closing moments of Feb. 6’s SNL, Myers and Carvey seemed to go out of their way to embrace each other — a sign of solidarity aimed directly at the cameras. To some observers, the rift was inevitable: Wayne’s World ”was just a little $10 million movie,” says Spheeris, now in preproduction on The Beverly Hillbillies. ”They didn’t know what would happen. No one knew. Mike and Dana got only about $200,000 or $300,000. But they got about $3 million each for the sequel.” And money can change everything — even for burnouts like Wayne and Garth.