Growing up in Scarborough, Canada, a suburb of Toronto, Myers' obsessions were hockey, rock 'n' roll, television and reading, but not necessarily in that order. The first books he recalls reading were "Scrubs on Skates" and "Rookie at Leaf Camp" by Canadian hockey writer Scott Young. Other early influences ranged from Kurt Vonnegut to Ayn Rand.
Myers began creating the character of Wayne about age 12, when he discovered it was a good way to attract girls at parties. Commercial auditions followed and he was cast in ads for K mart and Pepsi, among others. Accepted to college at Toronto's York University, he opted for a berth with the Canadian branch of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe instead. In between his long affiliation with Second City and "Saturday Night Live," where he hired on in 1988, Myers spent some time in England.
It was there that he teamed up with Neil Mullarkey, an alumnus of the Cambridge Footlights. "That was where Monty Python started," Myers recalls, "I thought, oh great, my heroes started there. So Neil and I did a double act and then went on to do the Edinburgh Festival together twice. Both times were very successful."
Mullarkey, who helped Myers write the final script for "Axe Murderer" (the screenplay originated with writer Robbie Fox), recalls that when he first met the budding comedian at a small London theater, he was a rather pathetic sight. "He was huddled in a wheelchair, because all the seats were taken, in a coat and scarf, because it was freezing. He was very gaunt, because he didn't have much money."
Yet, after working with Myers, Mullarkey says he knew he'd become a star. "I did, but I guess not as quickly and as hugely as it has happened. He's basically still the same guy, but it is weird that the guy I met huddled in a coat is now signing autographs and people come up and recognize him and treat him like an icon. It makes you realize the nature of stardom. You just realize how difficult it is because every minute of the day he has something to deal with."
In "Axe Murderer," Mullarkey says, "it would be less difficult if he was just a hired actor, but because he's a writer too, every scene has been rewritten and needs to be looked at the day before. If he didn't care it wouldn't matter. But he's passionate about it being right and funny."
Anthony LaPaglia, who plays Charlie's best friend, observes: "Mike has a very serious side to him--he's a very intelligent guy. He just happens to have created this persona in 'Wayne's World' that I think people expect him to live up to. This movie is a transitional movie because it really requires acting. It's not just broad comedy, there are a lot of different levels in Charlie."
Myers says that playing Charlie is no more difficult for him than playing Stuart--a role that he is obviously very comfortable with.
"It's the same. Martin Short once said that when he's on a talk show, he's playing the character of a man who's happy to be there. Which I thought was quite brilliant. It's himself, only heightened. Charlie is me, basically. Do you know my 'SNL' character, Dieter? It's the arty side of me, but Dieter is definitely arty, whereas Charlie is in the world of art but he definitely has an American passport. He has a girlfriend and he writes her poetry and likes hanging out with bands. His favorite poet is Kerouac--actually that is mine too. I also like Bukowski and Ginsberg a great deal. But I don't have time to read poetry now--all I read are my own scripts.
"I'm actually kind of fed up with writing at the moment. Not really, I always say that and then I end up writing. I do try to rewrite the part, but not as much as you think. Fellini used to say, about improvising a film, that it's impossible. It's like improvising a moon shot. There's too many elements and it's the most expensive entertainment device created by man. There's just too many democratic elements to go, 'Oh, let's see what we're going to do today.'
"Not that I feel ruined or anything, but actually I'd love to be on a vacation in the north of Canada, like two hours north of Toronto, and just sit there and read. Sit on the dock, read, and the big thing that day is what you're going to have for dinner. Make sure you get your workout and then get into your boat and drive to the marina and buy this type of gum they have in Canada called Black Cat Gum that's all I want to do. I think I'm going to get some gum now, \o7 rrrrrmmmmm\f7 (boat sounds)."