15 Things You Never Knew About ‘Wayne’s World’
Yep, it’s been a quarter-century since “Saturday Night Live” slacker pals Wayne and Garth took their public access cable show from their Aurora, Illinois basement to the big screen. The film made Mike Myers a bankable star, spawned a sequel, sent Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” back up the chart, popularized numerous catchphrases (“Not!” “Schwing!” “We’re not worthy!”), and turned out to be the most successful film ever adapted from an “SNL” sketch.
In honor of its 20th anniversary on Feb. 14, here are 18 things you need to know about this comedy hit. (Cue cascading-finger flashback gesture: Diddle-iddle-um, diddle-iddle-um, diddle-iddle-um…)
1. Wayne and Garth may have been teenagers, but when “Wayne’s World” was filmed, Myers was 28, and Dana Carvey was 36.
4. “Wayne’s World” marked the feature film debut of not just Myers, but also of his “SNL” co-star Chris Farley (as Alice Cooper‘s security guard) and future “Oz” star Lee Tergesen (as Wayne’s basement-show cameraman, Terry).
5. Myers’ inspiration for the iconic opening scene came from his childhood memories of driving through Ontario with friends and singing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” As specific as his experience was, he was sure it was universal enough to resonate with others.
7. Producer Lorne Michaels and director Penelope Spheeris wanted to use a song by then-hot Guns N’ Roses for the scene, but Myers insisted on the 1975 Queen tune. In fact, he threatened to walk off the movie if he didn’t get his way.
8. The head-banging required for the scene was a particular point of contention between the star and the director, since it required about four hours of painful neck-snapping to complete the brief scene. In a 2008 Entertainment Weekly interview, Spheeris mocked Myers for being “emotionally needy” during the shoot, saying, “You should have heard him bitching when I was trying to do that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scene: ‘I can’t move my neck like that! Why do we have to do this so many times? No one is going to laugh at that!'”
9. By 2015, however, Spheeris and the cast were willing to chalk up the friction to everyone’s mutual perfectionism. “Mike was a sport about it,” Spheeris said, in a joint reunion interview with the cast in Rolling Stone magazine. Said Myers, “Dana and I both suspect we actually may have hurt our necks doing it. There were just so many angles and so many takes. It needed to be well-covered to just get that tone right.”
10. Myers knew the completed scene was something special. As a courtesy, he sent a video of it to Queen guitarist Brian May, who responded with a gift to Myers of an autographed guitar. May showed it to the band’s dying frontman, Freddie Mercury. “Freddie loved it,” May told Rolling Stone. The singer passed away less than three months before the film’s release.
11. The movie’s popularity took its soundtrack to No. 1 on the charts and sent “Bohemian Rhapsody” shooting up the singles chart to No. 2, 17 years after it had first become a hit. Helping boost the song was a video directed by Spheeris that incorporated footage from the movie.
12. The shoot marked a dark and confusing time for Myers. Not only was it his first movie, but he was away from his ailing, Alzheimer’s-stricken father. Eric Myers passed just before “Wayne’s World” had its first successful test screening; he never got to see his son become a movie star.
13. While working with Alice Cooper on the film, Myers became good friends with the shock-rocker’s manager, Shep Gordon, and eventually directed a documentary about him, 2014’s “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.”
14. Myers has said the suits at Paramount found the film’s humor baffling at first. He said the first note he got back from the studio after screening the completed film read, “I don’t get it.”
15. In fact, Myers and Spheeris didn’t agree on what was funny. They clashed over the scene where accident-prone Stacy (Lara Flynn Boyle) crashes her bike into a car, as well as the scene with Robert Patrick‘s cameo as a scary cop who reminds Wayne of Patrick’s “Terminator 2” villain.
16. The star and director had a falling out after she refused to take up his suggestions on how to edit the film.
17. When it came time to make the sequel a few months after the “Wayne’s World” release, a new director got the gig. Spheeris blamed Myers for nixing her for the “Wayne’s World 2” gig. “I hated that bastard for years,” she said.
18. Eventually, however, the two reconciled. “Penelope is a very brilliant director,” Myers said in 2015. “She’s fantastic. Just really smart, caring, and very generous to me because God knows I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.” For her part, Spheeris said in 2013, “We’re all getting too old to be pissed, ‘Wayne’s World’ has such a beautiful, uplifting spirit about it. Why should there be a dark cloud?”
- ^ Wayne’s World (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Saturday Night Live (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Mike Myers (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ 20th anniversary (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Dana Carvey (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Tia Carrere (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Chris Farley (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Alice Cooper (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Lee Tergesen (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Sean Sullivan (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Lorne Michaels (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Penelope Spheeris (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Entertainment Weekly interview (ew.com)
- ^ Rolling Stone magazine (www.rollingstone.com)
- ^ Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Lara Flynn Boyle (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Robert Patrick (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Terminator 2 (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Wayne’s World 2 (www.moviefone.com)
- ^ Myers said (www.rollingstone.com)