15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘So I Married An Axe Murderer’

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15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘So I Married An Axe Murderer’

When So I Married an Axe Murderer arrived in theaters 30 years ago, no one gave it much thought. The film centered around Charlie MacKenzie (Mike Myers), whose fear of commitment has led him to imagine the worst about his girlfriends. His latest seemingly doomed romance is with a butcher named Harriet (Nancy Travis), who he gradually becomes convinced is an axe murderer. As it turns out, she isn’t an axe murderer, but her sister Rose (Amanda Plummer) is. 

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The movie was panned by critics and tanked at the box office, but as with many comedies of the era, it would gain a cult audience via numerous cable repeats. Those airings further boosted its cred due to a deluge of quotable moments, like Myers’ “Woman” beat poetry and everything he says as Stuart, Charlie’s Scottish father. While the film may not hit the pop-culture ubiquity of Myers’ work on Wayne’s World or Austin Powers, it’s definitely a dark comedy deserving of a dive into some trivia tidbits...

‘Most Women Appeared to Be Out to Destroy Us!’

The script for So I Married An Axe Murderer began with producer Robert N. Fried and writer Robbie Fox. Fried had recently opened the independent studio Fried/Woods Films and was looking for their first film. Fried recalled that during their meeting, he and Fox discussed women, oddly concluding that “most women appeared to be out to destroy us.” From there, Fox began writing

In the Original Script, Charlie Really Did Marry an Axe Murderer

In the final film, we learn that Rose, Harriet’s sister, was the murderer. However, the film’s title held true in Fox’s original script. In an interview, Fox said, “She was great at a dinner party: bright, funny, great cook. Other than the stabbings, she was the perfect wife.”

It Was Originally Written as ‘Woody Allen in Hitchcock’s ‘Suspicion’’

While Myers’ Charlie is distinctly Scottish, the original plan was to have the main character be Jewish and played by someone known for being neurotic. Initial casting choices included Allen, Garry Shandling and Albert Brooks. Although he doesn’t fit the type, Chevy Chase was also considered at some point.

The Writing Credit Had to be Settled by the WGA

When Myers joined the film, he decided the script needed to be totally rewritten to his own sensibilities and got to work with writer Neil Mullarkey on doing so. Myers wanted himself and Mullarkey to be credited for their work, so the script ended up in arbitration with the WGA to settle the matter. Ultimately, only Robbie Fox, the original screenwriter, was credited. 

Sharon Stone Wanted to Play Two Parts

For a time, Stone was looked at for the film’s romantic lead, and much like how Myers played dual roles, Stone wanted to play Harriet and Rose as identical twins. “I wanted to play both the parts in So I Married An Axe Murderer, the wife and her sister. (TriStar) didn’t want that, so it didn’t feel worth it,” Stone told Movieline in 1993.

Jack Kerouac Inspired Myers’ Character

Because the story was set in San Francisco, Myers wanted Charlie to be a beat poet. He drew inspiration from Kerouac when shaping the character’s poetry.

Alternate Titles

In an interview at the time, Myers expressed only a lukewarm endorsement of the film’s bold title. He said he’d prefer Fear… of Commitment or The Man Who Cried Wife. The latter of which was screenwriter Robbie Fox’s original title.

Shooting Often Concluded with Games of Street Hockey

After a shoot, Myers and co-star Anthony LaPaglia would regularly play street hockey. Despite LaPaglia’s history as a former pro soccer player in Australia, he always lost to Myers. 

Nancy Travis Cut Off the Tip of Her Finger

The movie features a sequence where Myers’ and Travis’ characters are flirting in a butcher shop. At one point, she got so distracted by Myers that she cut off the tip of her finger, requiring stitches.

Travis Married the Producer

She was Robert N. Fried’s girlfriend when she was cast as Harriet. They married a year after So I Married an Axe Murderer was released.

‘Lay Down Tracks, One-Eyed Jacks’

The movie didn’t help Myers' reputation of being difficult to work with. For example, if Myers saw that director Tommy Schlamme set up tracks for a shot, he’d say, “Lay down tracks, one-eyed jacks,” and retreat to his trailer. As Fried explained to Spin, “If you put tracks down, that means you’re going to move the camera, and if you move the camera, you’re only going to film half of the thing. You’re only going to get one eye. And if you want the joke to be funny, you have to shoot the actor directly while he’s delivering the joke so you can see both eyes. ‘Lay down tracks, one-eyed jacks,’ was Mike’s way of saying Tommy is not going to make it funny. The camera is the star, not the joke… Mike thought that Tommy was undermining his comedy.”

Stuart Was Based ‘A Little Bit’ on Myers’ Real Dad

In addition to playing the lead in the film, Myers plays his character’s father, Stuart, a loud, angry Scotsman who provides the film’s most memorable laughs. When asked if any of the Stuart character was based on Myers’ real father — who was British, not Scottish — Myers said, “A little bit. In Liverpool, there’s a long tradition of being crusty and put-down humor. … My dad was very, very funny.” He also based Stuart on a friend’s father, who was Scottish. 

Stuart’s Rant Inspired Myers’ Netflix Series

In So I Married an Axe Murderer, Stuart talks about a secret society known as “The Pentaverate,” which controls everything. Its members consist of the Queen, the Vatican, the Gettys, the Rothschilds and “Colonel Sanders before he went tits up.” 

Decades after the film, Myers wanted to explore the idea further and created the 2022 Netflix series The Pentaverate. In this iteration, the members of the society include a member of the British aristocracy, an Australian media mogul, a Russian oligarch, a rock music mogul and a computer genius. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as funny as Stuart’s scenes in So I Married an Axe Murderer.

There Were Recent Talks of a Remake

As screenwriter Robbie Fox told Spin in 2018, Sony was considering adapting it for TV. He imagined a show like “Dexter, but a romantic comedy,” or “Mad About You, with a serial killer swapped in for Helen Hunt’s role.” In the new version, the plot would have unfolded over several seasons, with Charlie not finding out about his wife’s homicidal streak until the second or third season. At that point, he’d be in too deep for it to be a dealbreaker.

Honestly, that sounds more exhausting than having to watch The Pentaverate.

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