Mike Myers is known by many names: Wayne Campbell, Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, Shrek, MTV Movie Awards host . On June 20, he hopes we’ll begin calling him Pitka.
The chameleonlike funnyman recently unveiled the first trailer for “The Love Guru,” a highly anticipated summer comedy that has him lost in a beard, a handlebar mustache and the persona of a spiritual adviser hired to help the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. Giving us one of his first interviews in advance of the film, a candid Myers was eager to chat about co-star Justin Timberlake, his spiritual connection to the Beatles and the possibility of Wayne and Austin meeting in a movie.
MTV: Did you set out to make Pitka like Austin Powers or to do a complete 180 with him?
Mike Myers: I have no master plan for any of this stuff. I really just love making comedies; I love doing characters. I make a movie once every three-and-a-half years — that’s the way it has been from the start of my career. I workshop the characters, I take them on the road. The Marx Brothers used to tour their movies for six months before they would commit them to film, and I’m in no rush.
MTV: What made you pick this character as your first new one after Austin?
Myers: Everything I do is autobiographical in some way. “Wayne’s World” was me growing up in the suburbs of Toronto and listening to heavy metal, and “Austin Powers” was every bit of British culture that my father, who passed away in 1991, had forced me to watch and taught me to love. With the guru Pitka, after my father died, I went on a spiritual quest, and it’s very hard when you’re a comedian to go on a spiritual quest, because your natural instinct is to be cynical. But when you do come across wisdom and things that actually make you happier, and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier in my life, [you think], “That’s an area I’d like to make a movie about.”
MTV: Do you remember the exact moment when you invented the character?
Myers: Well, the irony is that it was on the last day of “Austin Powers 3.” There’s a scene with Tom Cruise, who plays Austin Powers, and Danny DeVito and Steven Spielberg and Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey and, God, millions of other insanely famous people. That was very complicated, to get all those people to be there on one day. It was outdoors, and it was raining. I thought, “I’m screwed,” and I was bummed out. So I put on CNN, and George Harrison had died. My parents are from Liverpool, and my dad adored George Harrison, and I cried. I was really bummed out. I knew that George had gone on a spiritual quest with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who, ironically, just died [in February]. And, of all the ideas that were circling the airport, I went, “I think [Pitka] is my next idea; that’s a sign.”
Myers: Yeah, and that day, I got to the set, all the water had cleared up, it was a sunny day, everybody was brilliant. And then I received the last letter that George Harrison had ever written. He had written a fan letter to me that I received on the day that he died! I went, “OK, universe, I think I get it. This is the movie you want me to make.”
MTV: The trailer gives us this bizarre look at Justin Timberlake with a mustache, a stomach tattoo and an accent. He told us once how eager he was to make a comedy. So is this his coming-out party?
Myers: Justin Timberlake is the single most talented human being I’ve ever met in my life, and it sickens me. He is, like, 12 years old or something! He has 0 percent body fat, he is musically gifted, he has a great ear for accents and he is hilarious. I met him six years ago in Cannes for a promo for “Shrek,” and I said to Jeffrey [Katzenberg], “This dude should be in ’Shrek the Third.’ ” I worked with him on that. I saw him on “SNL” — he is 99 percent ham and 1 percent water. The dude is a natural entertainer, and he learned the French-Canadian accent in about five seconds. He’s a good goalie now; he hadn’t played [hockey] before.
MTV: You’ve made it your trademark to do an underwear scene in almost every movie. In the trailer, we see Justin “smuggling a schnauzer” in his Speedo. Has the torch been passed?
Myers: He wears the underpants in this relationship. [Laughs.] It’s funny, even in “Shrek” you see his ass. I don’t know how that happened.
MTV: You’ve given us so many classic lines in not only the “Wayne’s World” and “Powers” movies, but also films like “So I Married an Axe Murderer.” Were you on the “Guru” set thinking, “I’ve just said something I’ll be hearing the rest of my life”?
Myers: No, I’ve never done that. I’m always at a loss as to what people say back to me. There are already some things that people have said back to me [from early “Guru” screenings] that I’m like, “That’s the one you take away?” I am shocked every time — there is absolutely no way you can manufacture that stuff. It’s not like I have a factory full of 18-year-olds with electrodes attached to their bodies going, ” ’Yeah baby!’ is getting a good response, put it in the film!”
MTV: What is one scene from “Guru” that you can’t wait for us to see?
Myers: I get attacked by a rooster, a real rooster.
MTV: What was that like?
Myers: Scary! They are pretty frightening animals. There’s also a scene involving two elephants that I can’t really talk about. I will leave you with that mystery.
MTV: The goofy town names in this movie remind me of something the Three Stooges used to do.
MTV: Give us a few.
Myers: I am from the town Hairinmykeester, in the valley of Lintinmybelly. My guru is Tuggingmypoota, his guru was Cheddarfromundah, and his guru was Hasasmallweena. [Laughs.] I like silly things. This is a very silly film.
MTV: We know how much you love Peter Sellers and love playing multiple characters in films. Will we ever see a movie that brings Wayne, Austin and Pitka together?
Myers: I don’t know. I never have a master plan, but I do love playing those characters. Do you have an idea?
MTV: I think that would be awesome.
Myers: All right, I’ll go back to my hotel room and write it up.
MTV: Will “The Love Guru” feature a dedication to George Harrison in the credits?
Myers: Every day is a dedication to George Harrison.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Love Guru.”
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