Turns Out Mike Myers Was Kind of a Diva While Making ‘The Cat in the Hat’
The Cat in the Hat is one of those special, gotta-see-it-to-believe-it cinematic anomalies that make you question the sanity of the universe while simultaneously feeling grateful for the perfect Hollywood storm that allowed such a bonkers movie to exist. 13 years later, it turns out that the only thing more bizarre than the live-action Dr. Seuss movie is how Mike Myers behaved while making it.
In the latest edition of the AV Club’s great Random Roles series, the site spoke with Amy Hill about several of her notable — and less notable — roles throughout her long career. Like most character actors, Hill’s name might not be one you immediately recognize, but you’ve seen her in movies like 50 First Dates and Next Friday, and her impressive TV career includes roles in Enlightened, UnREAL and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Hill’s filmography also features a part in The Cat in the Hat, a movie that most people probably forgot (or tried to forget) existed until now. The film, which had a reported budget of $109 million, made $38 million in its opening weekend and was so poorly received that Seuss’ widow forbade any further live-action adaptations of her late husband’s work — if that gives you any indication of how terrible it was.
According to Hill, the making of The Cat in the Hat was just as weird and unpleasant as the film itself. Specifically, it was Myers’ diva-like behavior on set that made things uncomfortable:
TheCat In The Hat was with Mike Myers who, if I saw him today, I don’t think he’d even remember who I was. He is like a little hermit. He would come in and, I guess, be in hair and makeup. We would wait. I’d be there at the crack of dawn, waiting. We would all be waiting for Mike Myers to come.
He had his handlers dress his trailer, and his area was all covered with tenting because he didn’t want anybody seeing him. It was so weird. It was just the worst. It was like I was there forever, and my daughter was 2 and a half and I felt like I was missing her first everything. I was miserable. I just thought it was really rude for him to not take all of us into consideration.
And the director [Bo Welch] was really lovely, but it was his first time directing, and he deferred to Mike so much. Mike would do a take, and then he’d go over and look at the monitors, and then he’d talk to the director and then we’d do another take.
It was just a horrible, nightmarish experience. I don’t think he got to know anybody. He’d just be with his people and walk away. People would come and then he’d stand there. There was a guy who held his chocolates in a little Tupperware. Whenever he needed chocolate, he’d come running over and give him a chocolate. That’s what divas are like, I guess. Or people who need therapy.
Myers’ eccentric behavior has been documented before. Back in 2008 (in ye old days of The Love Guru), EW ran a feature on the actor that included a similar tale from Wayne’s World director Penelope Spheeris:
Directing her first studio film, Spheeris found herself struggling to prop up Myers’ often dark moods. One day, infuriated that there was no margarine for his bagel, only butter, Myers—who, according to several sources, said he suffered from hypoglycemia—stormed off the set. (Myers’ rep denies he is hypoglycemic.) “He was emotionally needy and got more difficult as the shoot went along,” Spheeris says. “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!’” To manage Myers’ moods, Spheeris put her daughter in charge of making sure he had whatever snack he needed at any given moment: “To this day, I have this image of her sitting on this little cooler, looking at me, like, ‘Mom, I f—ing hate you.’”
To be fair, bagel spreads are a serious business, and one’s preferred topping isn’t just a matter of personal opinion — it’s a moral imperative. (Also, who the heck puts margarine on a bagel?!)
At any rate, Myers’ weird behavior while filming The Cat in the Hat could be explained by the circumstances surrounding his involvement with the film. As The Playlist tells it, after Myers failed to deliver a movie based on his Dieter character from SNL, the actor exchanged a few lawsuits with Universal before ultimately promising that the studio the rights to whatever character-based film he made next — which was, of course, The Cat in the Hat.
As for Wayne’s World — or any other stories of Myers’ eccentricities, which the actor himself acknowledged in a 2014 GQ profile — maybe it was just the bagels.