Did Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas Almost Go Full-Frontal for ‘Strange Brew’?
Happy 40th birthday to Strange Brew, a movie one might consider the Wayne’s World of the SCTV Cinematic Universe. Like Wayne and Garth, Bob and Doug McKenzie are another pair of bumbling bros with their own low-budget TV show, although theirs had a decidedly Canadian tilt (and arrived about 10 years earlier). As far as we can tell, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas are the only SCTV cast members to bring their comic creations to the big screen — and judging by the trailer, the cable-access production values were intact.
(Very) loosely based on Hamlet, Strange Brew isn’t an easy movie to summarize. We’ll keep it simple: An evil brewmaster (Max von Sydow) tries to take over the world via mind-control beer, a plot that the brothers foil primarily by drinking a lot of beer, presumably of the non-mind-control variety.
What bits of weirdness didn’t make it into the film? That’s what IGNFilmForce wanted to know in an old-school online chat back in 2000, asking if there were any deleted scenes in Strange Brew. “There were some full frontal nudity scenes that Rick and I did, just for the hell of it, that were deleted by MGM,” typed Thomas, sending weirdo comedy fans scouring the darkest corners of the web for outtakes.
(Okay, we acknowledge that professional comedian Thomas was likely kidding around about the boys revealing their Canadian bacon. But let the record show that he never cops to the joke, meaning the scenes could exist in some version of the comedy multiverse.)
Unfortunately, we’ll never know if Moranis and Thomas would have revealed all in Home Brew, the planned sequel to Strange Brew. Thomas co-wrote the script with another SCTV veteran, Joe Flaherty, and fellow Canadian Dan Aykroyd was on board to play fast-talking insurance salesman Rick Ripple. Ripple would have convinced the McKenzie brothers to try their hand at the microbrew business, a plotline that would still resonate today. Production was scheduled to begin in 1999, but funding fell through at the last minute. “I financed most of the pre-production and ended up losing $750,000,” Thomas told IGN. “Not only did I not get paid, I lost money on that one.”
The brothers did reunite in 2007 for Bob & Doug McKenzie’s Two-Four Anniversary, a career retrospective on the characters’ lasting impact on American and Canadian culture.
Voyeuristic fans were likely disappointed that once again, Moranis and Thomas kept their toques on, both above and below. Maybe it was for the best, though. “We're probably not going to do anything in live-action again,” Thomas told the Toronto Star. “I mean, no one our age should ever have to see themselves in HD.”