"Wayne's World" was an unexpected runaway hit when it came out on Valentine's Day in 1992, eventually earning $183 million worldwide to become the eighth highest grossing film of the year. But back when Mike Myers (Wayne Campbell) and Dana Carvey (Garth Algar) were making the classic comedy, they were unsure … about a lot of things.
That famed "Bohemian Rhapsody" lip-synching bit -- which put the then 17-year-old Queen song back on the top of the singles charts -- was first considered an iffy move. "I was afraid we were taking a whiz on a Picasso at that point," Myers said on Tuesday night during a cast and crew reunion at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.
And when Wayne tests out his coveted white Fender Stratocaster, only to be shown a No 'Stairway to Heaven' sign, the scene killed with audiences, who were unaware of a behind-the-scenes workaround. The Led Zepplin classic would have cost much more than the film's relatively meager (by Hollywood standards) $20 million budget could afford. They had to make it work while using less than five notes of the song. Luckily, Myers figured it out with the help of his writing team.
When filming began on the Paramount lot, Myers said he wasn't positive the light would stay green on him or the movie, noting that his name was routinely missing from the studio gate entry list and that his first notes back from Paramount on his script were, "I don't get it."
Lorne Michaels, who approved the "Wayne's World" sketch when it first appeared on "Saturday Night Live" and saw it through to its theatrical release as the film's producer, said the note was "meant to be encouraging."
Even after the film was testing through the roof with audiences, Carvey remained as nervous as his Ritalin-popping cable access co-host character Garth. "When you're on 'Saturday Night Live' there's a live audience. You're getting all this feedback. When you go to a [film] preview, even the best laugh, you're just not sure. So we were both kind of worried about our scenes," the 57-year-old actor-comedian explained. But then, Myers and Carvey recalled with a laugh, they were assured audience tests were coming in at "'Ghostbusters' numbers."
Myers, Carvey, and Michaels weren't the only ones on hand at the event. Tia Carrere (Wayne's girlfriend, Cassandra), Lara Flynn Boyle (Wayne's "psycho hose beast" ex), and Rob Lowe (sleazy television executive, Benjamin Kane) were there along with other cast members and director Penelope Spheeris.
All past problems were checked at the door as the mood was jovial throughout the evening. (The "Wayne's World" leading men had a former falling out after Carvey claimed Myers stole his Dr. Evil character for "Austin Powers." Spheeris also had beef with Myers for blocking her from directing "Wayne's World 2.")
Of the roster, a barely recognizable Boyle easily won the "most changed" award.
Lowe joined the evening's panel discussion and admitted he didn't "get" "Wayne's World" at first (back when he hosted SNL). He thanked Myers and the team for the opportunity that led to his comedy career, which includes his current run on NBC's "Parks and Recreation." "Shows what kind of taste I have," the 49-year-old confessed.
Fun fact: The filmmakers initially planned to cast Dennis Hopper as Lowe's father figure, but got crunched for time and had to consolidate the two roles.
Myers and the gang kept the roomful of fans in stitches until the 49-year-old "Shrek" star revealed that the year "Wayne's World" came out was also a tough one for him. During the making of the comedy his father was dying, and he passed away when it was released. "The call was either horrible news or the best news in the world," Myers recalled.
And when it came to making the movie, Myers divulged, "I was scared the whole time."
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