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Whatever Happened To Mike Myers?

Mike Myers made the jump from "Saturday Night Live" to the big screen with two adaptations of his silly SNL skit Wayne's World, and he hit paydirt with his James Bond parody character Austin Powers in a wildly popular and ridiculously quotable film series.

Some fans know him from his "SNL" days, and will forever associate him with Simon and his "drawings." Others only recognize his trademark "Wayne's World" party-time look. Die-hard fans know and love his odd early rom-com, "So I Married an Axe Murderer." Generations know him as the green ogre Shrek, star of multiple movies and a series of spinoffs. (Not to mention the inspiration for "Shrek raves.")

But one day, as if Myers himself had received the "happily ever after" promised to his ogre incarnation, he seemed to drop off the face of the Earth ... or at least the face of Hollywood. What happened to turn an unstoppable comedy juggernaut — and one of Canada's favorite sons — into a virtual recluse? And what projects finally drew him back out into the spotlight? Don't worry — we've got the answers you're looking for. Read on to discover what happened to Mike Myers.

Mike Myers' bizarre Sprockets story

Mike Myers' blazing hot career hit a cool patch in 2000 when he walked away from "Dieter," another "Saturday Night Live" sketch-inspired film that would have had him reprise the role of the quirky German host of the fictional show "Sprockets," who has an unhealthy affinity for monkeys. According to ABC News, "Dieter" was to be Myers' follow-up to "The Spy Who Shagged Me," the second "Austin Powers" film, but Myers bailed on the production, citing issues with the script. (Interesting side note: He co-wrote it.)

A series of lawsuits followed. Universal sued Myers for $5 million, and then the production company making the film, Imagine Entertainment, sued Myers for an additional $30 million. Myers countersued everyone, citing "violations to [his] right of privacy, abuse of process, and fraud on the part of Universal."

Eventually, they all got in a room, dropped their respective lawsuits, and agreed to work together on another project: The live-action adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic "The Cat in the Hat." Unfortunately, their problems weren't over yet.

Mike Myers' bungled Cat in the Hat adaptation

Though its abysmal Rotten Tomatoes rating should indicate what a flop "The Cat in the Hat" was, the devil was in the details of Mike Myers' take on the seminal children's classic. Almost every review cited the filmmakers' bewildering choice to infuse the tale of the mischievous feline houseguest with a bunch of decidedly off-tone and crude humor. But the more particularly scathing criticisms fell directly at Myers' feet, like in The Dallas Observer's takedown, titled "Kitty Litter," which stated, "The producers may as well have skipped the hassle of securing licensing rights and simply called this mess 'Mike Myers: A**hole in Fur.'"

And as if being dragged by strangers who didn't even have an emotional attachment to the material wasn't enough, Dr. Seuss' wife, Audrey Stone Geisel, responded by subsequently forbidding live-action adaptations of her husband's work. But wait, there's more! On top of churning out a universally panned performance, Myers also allegedly acted like a complete jerk on the set.

Mike Myers: Darkness behind the laughter

In an interview with The A.V. Club, Mike Myers' "The Cat in the Hat" co-star Amy Hill painted an unflattering portrait of the film's lead, right down to the claim that he had a sycophant trailing behind him all day whose entire job seemed to be feeding Myers chocolates from a Tupperware container. That's the clear highlight from her on-set anecdotes, but she also characterized Myers as a "diva" who constantly made the cast and crew wait while he micromanaged the entire production. And Hill isn't the only former collaborator to rake Myers over the coals.

In a 2008 EW profile of Myers, "Wayne's World" director Penelope Spheeris got her own digs in, describing him as "emotionally needy" and saying he "got more difficult as the shoot went along." Spheeris even echoed Hill's experience when she recalled having to enlist her daughter to perform the duties of snack wrangler for Myers. But perhaps her most telling line from the interview was her remark, "Maybe he could open, like, a children's hospital to clean up his rep. He's got to do something pretty quick." EW generously described the quip as a "dark joke," but was it?

Yet another scorned cohort, Rob Fried, who produced "So I Married an Axe Murderer," put things in even starker terms, telling The Telegraph, "I think Mike's a visionary, but his way of getting what he wants is to be remote and threaten and express anger." All in all, It's a pretty damning list of burned professional bridges, which likely hasn't gone unnoticed by studios and future collaborators.

The Love Guru killed more than just Mike Myers' career

For younger audiences who may not necessarily associate Mike Myers with "Austin Powers" or "Shrek," there's another movie that unfortunately comes to mind: "The Love Guru." The 2008 comedy presented Myers as, well, a love guru whose dream is to be featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." He brought his "Austin Powers" costar Verne Troyer to the film along with several big names, including Justin Timberlake, Jessica Alba, and Ben Kingsley.

Despite all that star power, the movie flopped hard. Against a budget of $62 million (which doesn't count the cost of advertising), the movie only brought in a worldwide gross of $40 million. It struggled against fellow comedy "Get Smart" as well as "The Incredible Hulk," marking a particularly painful failure during an overall bad year for Paramount that possibly contributed to execs John Lesher and Brad Weston losing their jobs. 

It's been over 15 years since "The Love Guru" bombed, but Myers hasn't done much on the big screen since — and it isn't hard to imagine that studios might still be gun-shy about handing Myers the reins to a major movie.

Nobody's calling, but when they do, Mike Myers doesn't always answer

When it comes to figuring out why a beloved actor is no longer headlining major Hollywood movies, there are typically two possible answers. One is that Hollywood is no longer sending them scripts in a not-so-subtle "thanks, but no thanks" from a movie industry that has no further need for what that actor is selling. The other, more positive-sounding possibility is that the actor has become very picky.

What's interesting about Mike Myers is that both of these are true, and have been for a long time. In a 2014 interview with GQ, Myers alleged that he'd only received 15 scripts since 1991. The incredulous interviewer asked Myers if he would be happy to star in "interesting dramatic parts," to which he replied, "Yeah, a hundred percent, yeah, absolutely." What happens to the rest of the roles he's offered? He clarified that "I do turn virtually everything down." Basically, offers for movies he really wants are few and far between, and he tosses everything else — one of the benefits of having the big green monster on your side. No, not just Shrek: piles of profits.

While in 2014 it might have seemed ridiculous for a funnyman like Myers to shift into more dramatic roles, by 2017, Myers saw his wishes for meatier characters start to come true. He had roles in "Terminal" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" in 2018, and followed both roles up with a turn in the star-studded epic "Amsterdam" in 2022. It might have taken Hollywood a minute to see Myers in a new light, but the slightly dramatic turning point seems like it might stick.

For Mike Myers, it's a passion, not a paycheck

Or shall we say, Pay-Shrek? Mike Myers is a legendary comedian who's shown he's got chops on both the small and big screen, but he's not like some comedic actors who seem to show up in everything. For Myers, it's more about passion than just a willingness to show up and play the game, which is why he's turned out some surprising — albeit possibly unnoticed by his regular fans — roles in films like "Studio 54" and "Inglourious Basterds."

In his interview with GQ, Myers said as much, describing his decision to make the esoteric turn as club owner Steve Rubell in "Studio 54" by saying, "I loved that character so much and loved that world." He made a similar statement in a promotional interview for "Inglourious Basterds" when he said he took the serious role just for the chance to work with director Quentin Tarantino.  

Perhaps part of why Myers can afford to pick and choose his projects is because of the phenomenal success of his seriously silly animated film empire, the "Shrek" franchise. We dare you to search for "Shrek rave" on your favorite social media platform. Wonder and gawk at either your age or your Shrek-themed dance party options.

Speaking of passion projects

Another one of Mike Myers' out-of-the-box projects is his 2014 documentary "Supermensch," which profiles the life of Shep Gordon, a legendary music manager whose clients ranged from Blondie and Luther Vandross to Alice Cooper. In fact, according to The Guardian, Cooper served as the original connective tissue between Gordon and Myers through his cameo in the first "Wayne's World" movie. Myers had to meet with Cooper's manager, Gordon, and immediately took a liking to the man.

Gordon ultimately served as a bit of a mentor and father figure to Myers over the years, a friendship that proved especially poignant after the actor's father passed away and Myers helped process his grief by staying with Gordon in Hawaii for about two months.

It's a lovely story of a professional association that turned into a wonderful friendship, but with a domestic box office gross of only $213,064, it's one that likely didn't make investors any money. This sort of goes without saying, but that's never a great thing to have to report when you've got your hand out for funding the next time around. 

HBO paid Mike Myers for new work no one ever saw

In early 2015, HBO announced that Mike Myers had signed a two-year deal with the network to make ... something. Details were never specified, and the following year, Decider reported that Myers eventually opted out of the contract because his production deal never led to an order of his series.

While this particular deal never panned out, that isn't entirely unusual or unique to Myers. Sometimes development deals are historically slow to bear fruit, or the projects creators cook up never make it to production for one reason or another. This development process can take a lot of time, and this plus the recent Hollywood strike can put the brakes on an already slowing career significantly — especially if it's a career at a crossroads.

Myers obviously knows how to make a hit movie, but he also has deep roots in TV. Returning to the small screen could make Myers known beyond his "Shrek" ubiquity. It could also help him contribute something ridiculously funny to the media landscape.

Mike Myers' Gong Show shtick

In the summer of 2017, Mike Myers started hosting ABC's reboot of "The Gong Show," only in heavy disguise as the older English comedian Tommy Maitland. Donning an intentionally bad toupee, prosthetic jowls, and baby blue contacts, Myers transformed into Maitland with so little fanfare that Myers even did press as the character, refusing to admit the ruse. Except anyone who's ever seen Myers in anything, and who has a working set of eyes and ears, could identify him immediately.

Months later, Myers came out, so to speak, as the show was greenlit for a second and final season. "It is with great delight that I can finally admit that there is indeed a Tommy Maitland, and that I portray him," Myers told The Wrap, effectively lifting the veil on "the worst-kept secret in Hollywood."

The obvious question here is: Why stage the transparent deception in the first place? We've got two theories — one, it was a promotional stunt, plain and simple, which if that was the case, okay, fine. Or perhaps Myers thought this would be hilarious, and if that was the case, it prompts a whole other series of questions, starting with: Really?   

Mike Myers, author

Mike Myers' big-screen absence may not entirely be a case of Hollywood turning its back on him. He's also turned over a new (maple) leaf as the author of "Canada," a book focusing on Myers exploring what his beloved country means to him via photographs, anecdotes, and his trademark humor. In addition to the time it took Myers to write and publish the work, he also embarked on a nationwide promotional tour, spurring bestselling sales in the country and inspiring the #MikesCanada Twitter hashtag. 

Myers previously wrote the foreword to Deepak Chopra's 2008 spiritual manual "Why Is God Laughing?" and Christopher Ward's Canadian rock memoir, "Is This Live?: Inside the Wild Early Years of MuchMusic: The Nation's Music Station." It remains to be seen whether these few works mark the limit of Myers' literary ambitions, but he obviously isn't just sitting around waiting for screenplays.

Fatherhood became his greatest role

Mike Myers has been busy playing a couple of other major roles offscreen as well: husband and father. In 2015, he and his wife Kelly Tisdale welcomed a new addition to their family — a daughter named Paulina Kathleen. She's the latest in a line of kids that includes son Spike (born in 2011) and daughter Sunday Molly (born in April 2014).

How important is family life to Myers? In an interview with Deadline, he said, "Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it." He went on to gush that he had no idea fatherhood would be so "awesome" and that it has made him "the happiest [he has] ever been."

Film and TV production schedules are particularly tough on family routines, which could be one reason Myers has been incredibly selective about which projects get his time. In a 2022 "Sunday Sitdown" with The Today Show, Myers even admitted his kids aren't too crazy about "Shrek." His kids' opinion has got to weigh on his mind at least a little bit before he signs any dotted — or swamp green — lines.

Going back to the well

Mike Myers' incredible success with a string of early hits might have established unreasonable expectations for subsequent efforts. Fans will likely always clamor for more "Shrek," "Wayne's World," and "Austin Powers" sequels — with varying levels of realistic results. For example, "Shrek 5" has been rumored as a possibility for years. Myers himself sometimes plays into the hype, like when he pitched The Independent some ideas for a fourth "Austin Powers" movie.

Myers even allegedly patched up some possible beef with "Wayne's World" and "SNL" alum Dana Carvey for a "Wayne's World" themed Uber Eats commercial with Cardi B. Carvey talked with Howard Stern (via People) about burying the hatchet with Myers, after he thought Myers stole the concept of Dr. Evil from him. He discussed their friendship, saying "We were like siblings a little bit and we were never meant to be a comedy team." Regardless, years later, they became one again, however briefly.

It all seems in keeping with Myers and his career: Anything can happen in it, and often, the strangest things do.

Mike Myers comes back with The Pentaverate

Though some could argue Mike Myers never fully left pop-culture consciousness, he came back in a big way in 2022 with the Netflix streaming series "The Pentaverate."

"The Pentaverate" is inspired by a joke Myers made, referencing a conspiracy group under the same name when he made his early-career, pre-franchise film, "So I Married an Axe Murderer." Myers tells SyFy: "When I did 'So I Married an Axe Murderer' it was on everybody's mind ... So I said to Netflix, 'What if five people did run the world? What if they were nice and what if I got to play all five of them?' And they said, 'Yes!'"

The ridiculous conspiracy comedy about a society of men who influence the world features Myers playing eight roles, alongside co-stars Rob Lowe, Jennifer Saunders, Lydia West, and Debi Mazar. The cast is stacked with heavy hitters — so maybe the rumored diva days of Mike Myers are finally over. His career certainly is not.