Mike Myers has been busy since his last on-screen appearance in 2009’s Inglorious Basterds: busy painting variations on KFC’s Colonel Sanders, busy making GarageBand tunes, busy raising his two young children. But now he’s coming back to the film industry with his directorial debut, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon – a documentary that follows talent manager Shep Gordon.
GQ spoke with Myers about Supermensch, what it was like standing next to Kanye West when he said that one thing, and how he really was the last person to receive a letter from The Beatles’ George Harrison. Read the highlights of their conversation below:
On having kids, via Adam Sandler: “Adam Sandler, when he heard that [my wife] and I were pregnant, called me up and said, ‘You’re gonna love it – it’s like falling in love for the first time when you’re twelve, but it’s every day.’ And I think he undersold how momentous it is.”
On worshipping Steven Soderbergh: “One of the most influential things I ever saw was Steven Soderbergh’s acceptance speech. I forget which movie, where he said he just makes things. I reference him at least once a day. To the point where a friend of mine got me a needlepoint that said WHAT WOULD SODERBERGH DO?”
On painting Colonel Sanders: “Growing up in Canada, looking south at America, they are so amazing at creating identity that they even have enough leftover to come up with the colonel, who is the colonel of chicken! As a kid I literally said the words, ‘Why are they militarizing chicken?’ Because I didn’t understand the Kentucky Colonel of it all. Our whole family was obsessed with the Colonel. For me, show business was buying Kentucky Fried Chicken. Because it was nationally advertised, and it seemed exotic. First of all, it’s a great character. He has his own unique silhouette – you can draw him in three lines. On the day that Lucian Freud died, I painted my version of a Freud with the Colonel, naked, holding a palette, painting himself. Then I did the Colonel with the Pearl Earring. Then I did the Colonel Lisa. You know, which is the Mona Lisa with the Colonel.”
On his unsuccessful 2008 film The Love Guru: “I can tell you this, which makes people laugh: I tried my hardest. I can tell you that much. I just love making stuff, dude. You know, you can’t be too attached up and you can’t be too attached down.”
On receiving the last letter George Harrison ever wrote: “The letter came on the day of Austin Powers 3 when we were shooting the scene where Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Steven Spielberg, Danny DeVito, Kevin Spacey are doing the Hollywood movie version of Austin Power’s life as directed by Steven Spielberg, and it was the day George Harrison died … I cried like a baby, and it’s prominently displayed in my house. He says ‘…sitting here with my Dr. Evil doll…I just wanted to let you know I’ve been looking all over Europe for a mini-you doll.’ And he says ‘Dr. Evil says frickin’ but any good Scouser dad will tell you it’s actually ‘friggin’ as in a ‘four of fish and finger pie,’ if you get my drift.’ He said, ‘thanks for the movies, so much fun.’”
On standing next to Kanye West when he said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”: “I assume that George Bush does care about black people – I mean, I don’t know him, I’m going to make that assumption – but I can definitively say that it appeared to me watching television that had that been white people, the government would have been [in New Orleans] faster … I’m, like, super proud to have been next to [Kanye West] … There’s a world of fail culture, and it’s hardly a fail on my part to be next to the guy that spoke truth to power at a time when horrific injustices.”
On weird rumors about Mike Myers: “The craziest one, of course, is ‘morbid fear of tunnels.’ UFO alien sex diet… I ‘only eat salmon.’ It’s just not true. Though I do enjoy salmon.”
On still seeing references to his movies: “I noticed it when I got super sick. I had this horrible flu that was going around New York. It starts in the throat and then it went everywhere, and I was down, dude, and I couldn’t sleep I was that sick, and for eighteen hours the only thing I could do was watch TV. I propped myself up on the couch and just grazed. There were seventeen references to stuff I had done … I thought I was hallucinating. But it was very gratifying. I was blown away. It was very surreal, and very satisfying.”
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon hits theaters June 6. Read the full Mike Myers’ story over at GQ.