Myers plays the Guru Pitka, the second most popular spiritual advisor in the world, trumped only by archrival Deepak Chopra.
The idea has long gestated in Myers’ brain.
“I grew up in Toronto,” he explains. “As long as I can remember there have been Bollywood movies on Toronto TV Channel 47 at 2 a.m.”
An insomniac since the age of 11, Myers found hours of late night entertainment and boundless inspiration.
“It was so different, but ultimately it was Austin Powers,” he reveals. “All singing, all dancing, very bright colors, and I didn’t know it then, because I hadn’t written it yet, but I thought ‘Wow, this is a fascinating parallel universe.’”
That early inspiration proved a boon for later pain.
“In 1991, my father passed away, and I went on a spiritual quest,” Myers confides. “A light one, not terribly deep because I’m not terribly deep and neither was my father ... and I saw Deepak Chopra on the Oprah show.”
His Oprah discovery provided comfort and a creative outlet. He began reading Chopra’s teachings and other books on spiritual philosophy.
“But what happened was, my friends would ask me what I was reading, and I would say, ‘This wonderful thing,’” Myers transitions to his Guru Pitka voice, “‘The only way out is in.’ This voice started happening.”
He decided to delve deeper.
“I did a stage show in 1994. For the first time, I did Austin Powers and the Guru Pitka. Austin Powers was a tribute to my father and all the British comedy he had introduced me to, and the Guru Pitka was an extension of my dealing with my father’s death.”
Myers continued developing the idea in what has become his signature style, which typically takes three to five years and includes numerous performances of the character and jokes before a script is ever written.
Director Marco Schnabel explains, “Mike spends a long time incubating an idea. He’s getting audience feedback and building a character from the outside in. He takes his silly very seriously.”
“We wrote a stage show, and we did eight or nine of those over [five] years,” co-writer Graham Gordy says. “We really tested the jokes the way the Marx Brothers used to test their material; they would do stage shows and tour them around the country, test the jokes for six months and then put them on film.”
Once cameras were set to roll, Myers reached out to Justin Timberlake.
“Mike called and said, ‘I can think of three other people I could cast, but they just won’t do it the way you’ll do it,’” Timberlake says with pride. “That meant a lot to me.”
More than the ego boost, Timberlake was thrilled to work with a comedic maestro.
“It’s Mike,” Timberlake says with reverent esteem. “If you’re gonna do a comedy, do it with the best. To get to work with him, you walk in saying, ‘Don’t let Mike down!’”
According to Schnabel, Timberlake never had anything to worry about.
“[Justin] was electrifying. The guy is a born entertainer,” Schnabel gushes. “He was a joy to work with, incredibly prepared and constantly looking for ways to make it funnier and better.”
Myers, who has openly admitted to having a man crush on JT says, “Is it a shock to anyone? He’s the most talented human being I’ve ever met.”
We’re feeling the love.
The Love Guru releases in theaters June 20.