For an actor who’s been a part of so many massive and occasionally culture-defining comedies, Mike Myers has kept a low profile in recent years. After The Love Guru landed with a resounding thud in 2008, a clearly unwelcome end to a character that Myers spent years workshopping (helpfully chronicled for all time in a now-hilarious profile in The New York Times), the actor has only appeared in one live-action film since: his single-scene cameo in Inglorious Basterds. Otherwise, it’s all been Shrek offshoots and the occasional Saturday Night Live drop-in for Myers as a star, aside from his directorial debut with the documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon in 2013. (There’s also his part in the upcoming film Terminal, due out in 2017 at a so-far-unknown release date.)
However, it seems as though Myers has finally found the latest character to disappear into, though of a different comic type. The Hollywood Reporter broke news today that Myers is set to star in Del, an upcoming biopic about Del Close, the venerated comedy teacher who pioneered many of the techniques of improv comedy in its early days. A stalwart figure at Chicago’s Second City theatre and school, Close taught a murderer’s row of legendary comedians, from Myers himself to John Belushi, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Dan Aykroyd, among others. (He was even a present figure during some of the golden years of Saturday Night Live, if not on camera.) Since his passing in 1999, he’s been paid yearly tribute by way of the annual Del Close Marathon, a three-day festival celebrating the long-form improv that Close helped to shape.
Close was known for a more rigorous approach to comedy, making him an ideal character for Myers, who has a long-standing reputation for inflexibility regarding his work. (For what it’s worth, Myers attributes this to his top-down method of creating a film around a character on his episode of WTF.) Del will be directed by Betty Thomas (Private Parts) and will hopefully herald a return to form for its star, who remains a singular comic talent with a stable of classics behind him. And who also did The Cat in the Hat. But we’re hopeful about this one.