Mike Myers Wanted to Cut All the Funny Parts From ‘Wayne’s World’
As we’ve argued before, Wayne’s World is one of the funniest, most prescient comedies of all time – and a major reason why the film works so well is due to the contributions of its director, Penelope Spheeris, then best known for helming the Decline of Western Civilization music documentaries. Famously, Spheeris and star Mike Myers didn’t always get along behind the scenes, and it turns out that one of their disputes was a heated battle over some of the movie’s funniest moments.
As Spheeris recently revealed on the It Happened in Hollywood podcast, Wayne’s World’s first test screening received a “great” reaction from the audience – but unfortunately, that’s also when the “crap hit the fan.” After filming wrapped, Myers’ father passed away, and he was forced to return to Canada, meaning that he missed out on the screening and had to watch the movie alone in an editing room.
While many of Wayne World’s jokes were validated for Spheeris by the audience response at the test screening, Myers’ solo viewing led him to have concerns; he presented Spheeris with 11 pages of notes containing a list of changes he wanted to make. According to Spheeris, “most of them sucked.”
For example, Myers wanted to cut the moment when Wayne’s ex Stacy, played by Lara Flynn Boyle, runs into a parked car while conspicuously riding her bike past Wayne and Garth. Spheeris’ theory? It was because “she was getting the laugh, not him.”
As hard as it is to believe, Myers also allegedly had issues with the iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene. We’ve talked before about how the filming of this scene was a major pain in the neck (literally), and, as Spheeris recalled, Myers didn’t think it worked: “The worst part is, Mike said not only does it hurt, it’s not funny.”
Spheeris also countered any suggestions made by Mike Myers that she argued for swapping out “Bohemian Rhapsody” for a Guns N’ Roses tune, stating: “Mr. Myers claims that I wanted to use a Guns N’ Roses song in that scene. And he, being the hero and genius that he is, fought so hard against this asshole director to get ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in the movie. That is a big F-ing lie.” Although, to be fair, Spheeris previously told Rolling Stone that, while she didn’t remember the details, she was “probably pushing for Guns N Roses.”
Spheeris also pointed out that this sequence has its roots in one of her earlier films; 1987’s Dudes features a scene in which Jon Cryer and Flea headbang to “Hava Nagilia” while going for a drive.
While Spheeris admits that she may have taken a couple of Myers’ notes, she ultimately decided, “I’m not gonna take out a joke that I know really works.”Producer Lorne Michaels took Spheeris aside and warned her: “Penelope, if you don’t change the movie, you won’t be able to direct Wayne’s World 2. Mike’s not going to approve you.” The director stuck to her guns and refused to remove the jokes she knew would work. And even though Paramount had final cut, the studio tasked her with telling Myers that most of his notes wouldn’t be taken.
As a result, Spheeris wasn’t asked to return for Wayne’s World 2 – which, despite being the only movie we can think of that features Aerosmith, a T-Rex, and Christopher Walken, is nowhere near as good as the original.
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