It seems much-loved comedy sequel ‘Wayne’s World 2’ wasn’t always a barrel of laughs for writer and leading man Mike Myers.
The Canadian comedian became a worldwide star alongside Dana Carvey in 1992’s ‘Wayne’s World,’ a feature length adaptation of their popular Saturday Night Live creation. However, Myers’ newfound celebrity status didn’t spare him the full wrath of Sherry Lansing, then head of production at Paramount, when a significant problem arose with the sequel.
Lansing’s new biography ‘Leading Lady,’ written by Stephen Galloway of The Hollywood Reporter, recounts a meeting during pre-production on ‘Wayne’s World 2’ which left Myers “curled in a fetal position” with terror at the Paramount boss’s threats.
Readers will recall that ‘Wayne’s World 2’ sees hard-rocking protagonist Wayne visited by Jim Morrison in a dream, compelling him to launch his own music festival Waynestock. However, this was not the original vision for the comedy sequel. Myers heavily modelled his first draft of the ‘Wayne’s World 2’ script on 1949 Ealing comedy ‘Passport to Pimlico’ – under the mistaken belief that Paramount owned the remake rights to this film.
As ‘Wayne’s World 2’ was scheduled for release in December 1993, just 18 months after the original was released, the sequel was on a very tight schedule, and Paramount did not become aware of what Myers had done until the sequel was mere weeks away from starting production.
This meant there was no time for the studio to start negotiations for the ‘Passport to Pimlico’ remake rights – but shooting Myers’ original script would have been an open invitation to legal action. Understandably, Lansing was not best pleased.
One unnamed party present at the meeting recalls, “She said, ‘How dare you? How dare you put us in this position?’ She turned to Mike and said, ‘We’ll sue you. We’ll take your f***ing house. You won’t even own a f***ing home.'”
According to John Goldwyn, Paramount’s then-production chief, “She made up this fabulous story about all of the lawyers sitting with [Paramount Communications executive] Stanley Jaffe. She said, ‘As I’m sitting here with you, there’s a team figuring out how they can take every single thing away from you.’ ”
This reportedly left Myers “so shaken that he curled up in a fetal position on Lansing’s couch.” Lansing then told him, “If I were you, Mike, I’d go to Lorne [Michaels, ‘Wayne’s World 2’ producer]’s office right now, and stay there until you come up with a new script. We’ll slide food under the door.”
Ultimately ‘Wayne’s World 2’ made it to screens on time without any legal problems, although it didn’t prove as big a hit as its predecessor. Little wonder that it marked the end of the ‘Wayne’s World’ movies, and the last time Myers worked with Sherry Lansing.
Myers and Carvey retired Wayne and Garth in 1994, but have reprised the characters a few times in the past nine years on SNL and at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards.