Director Penelope Spheeris recalls butting heads over head banging — and reacts to learning Freddie Mercury saw the Bohemian Rhapsody sequence before his death.
30 years ago this month, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey made the jump from “SNL” to the big screen in “Wayne’s World” — and we’re still not worthy.
That’s right, it’s been three decades since Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar hopped into Garth’s AMC Pacer and started rocking out to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” introducing a whole new generation to the anthem while creating a truly iconic moment in cinema history.
“Wayne’s World,” directed by Penelope Spheeris and costarring Rob Lowe and Tia Carrere, was a smash success and was not only the 10th grossing movie of 1992, but is also the most profitable “Saturday Night Live” feature film to date … by a mile. It went on to spawn a less-successful sequel, before Myers started churning out “Austin Powers” films.
With the original film getting a new, limited edition Blu-Ray SteelBook release and the two films getting a new “Double Feature” Blu-Ray (both available now), TooFab caught up with Spheeris as she took a look back at making the comedy classic — and even filled her in on some Freddie Mercury trivia about the film she never knew!
We gotta start with Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s one of the most iconic movie scenes ever, let alone from this film. In the director’s commentary and in past interviews, you and Mike Myers have admitted he needed some convincing about the head banging. Are you glad you stood your ground and were right about it being a great opening scene, despite his hesitance?
Oh yeah! It was a difficult thing to shoot, because we were shooting all night, two different nights and the boys — if you have Metallica and Megadeath where all they do is bang their heads, then they’re used to it and it doesn’t hurt. But when you get these guys in the car that don’t ever do it, it hurts.
So, after a while they started complaining a little bit and I kept pushing. I don’t usually do that but I did keep pushing on that one and saying, I’m telling you guys, this is funny and it’s gonna work and it’s gonna be a great title sequence. Mike goes, ‘I need an Advil and I don’t think it’s that funny,’ but later he took it back, so we’re cool.
During the recent Reunited Apart video you all did with Josh Gad, Queen’s Brian May revealed Freddie Mercury saw a cut of the scene before his death and loved it. Did you know that at the time and how is it having his seal of approval?
It’s wonderful because you don’t want to make a movie where you make the band unhappy. This is the first I ever heard Freddie got to look at a cut. I did not know that and if that’s true, then you know people in higher positions than me.
Mike apparently sent him a VHS tape of the footage before his passing and he was able to see it, loved it.
Good! I’m glad to hear that. Nobody told me! Now I know. Freddie passed away a few weeks before we released the movie.
It’s crazy how much this movie brought Queen back into the zeitgeist. Congrats on that!
Isn’t it though? And kudos to Mike for wanting to put it in the movie.
In the commentary, you noted the underwear scene with Mike was one of your favorites in the movie — and said he really pushed for the tighty whities.
Oh my God, I love that scene! That was great. You can’t lose if you’ve got Mike Myers in some tighy whities sticking his ass out and trying to flirt with a girl. I’m sorry, what did I have to do there? Just sit back and laugh!
When you are filming something that is so ridiculous like that, your first reaction has to be to laugh too. Is that one of the ones where it is hard to get through without breaking?
Here’s what I’ve noticed and this is a weird dynamic and that is that — because I’ve been on other people’s sets, obviously — when everybody is laughing on a set while shooting, it’s probably not funny. So I personally don’t bust out, very, very seldom unless I’m really tired or something. Mike and Dana at one point both agreed that they were trying to make me laugh, because I don’t laugh a lot. What’s funny in the world? But Mike and Dana say that they were trying to make me laugh and so I didn’t laugh, so they would keep trying harder and that works!
With recent reunions like that one and an earlier one for the Academy, how has it been reconnecting with Mike and Dana all these years later, especially after moving past some of the past gripes? Is it nice to have a new relationship with the movie now?
No, I still hate everybody! I’m just kidding [laughs]. It’s wonderful. The last time I saw Mike, all he does was show me pictures of his babies, of his kids. It’s really really nice. And when I saw Lorne at that reunion, I said to him, ‘Lorne, I have to tell you something very important.’ I think he thought I was gonna say something bad, but what I said was, ‘Thank you so much because you made me a very rich person.’ He goes, ‘That’s a good thing!’ No, we’re friends, it’s fine and I think we all enjoyed the time that we worked together. I don’t talk to them every day, I don’t talk to them ever. I talk to Tia a little bit, talk to Robert Patrick a little bit. But you don’t got longterm friends in Hollywood, unless they’re writing checks.
In the commentary, you open up about turning down films like This Is Spinal Tap and the Brady Bunch movie. Do you have regrets at all when it comes to those projects?
There are certain movies I regret turning down. I wish I would have done ‘Legally Blonde’ when they begged me. That would have been a good one! I don’t regret turning down ‘George of the Jungle,’ they begged me to do that one too. I can’t complain. I feel like I did a few good movies and a couple of them actually really stood out like ‘Wayne’s World’ and ‘The Decline’ and that’s the best you can hope for being a woman in the movie business in the ’80s and ’90s. That’s the best you could hope for, a couple of good ones. I got a file cabinet over there of all these scripts I’ve written that never got made into movies, I wish I could have done those movies. But then I immediately replace that thought with, ‘Well, look what I did.’ It’s okay. Some people don’t get to make any movies.
The guys recently reunited for a Super Bowl commercial and you mention you get pitches for a third movie all the time. Have any of them actually been any good or worth pursuing? Do you think there’s a possibility somewhere it could happen?
I have to say, people are very innocent when it comes to the movie making process. They might come up with a great idea and there has been a couple of good ones — but I immediately write back, ‘Could you please send this to Paramount?’ I have no control over this. This is intellectual property that belongs to Paramount. It doesn’t belong to Mike, it doesn’t belong to me. Go to Paramount and see if you could get another Wayne’s World movie going. I doubt it, but you could try.
Party on and see what the entire cast looks like now in the gallery below!