It’s been 25 years since Mike Myers first tried his hand at a rom-com leading man role when he starred in “So I Married an Axe Murderer.” In the film, Myers plays Charlie, a poet with a fear of commitment. He finally seems to meet “the one,” a comely butcher named Harriet. Only he begins to suspect she may have murdered her three previous husbands.
The movie was not a box office or critical success, grossing less than it cost to make and getting mixed reviews. But since its release in 1993, the film has become something of a cult classic thanks to its mix of comedy, light horror and romance. (True fans can spot a “virtual planetoid” reference a mile away.)
So in honor of its quarter-century anniversary, here are some fun facts you might not know about the movie that inspired many “we have a piper down” quotes (or is that just in our house?) and the future “eeevil” line made famous in “Austin Powers.”
1. Nancy Travis Wasn’t The First Pick for Harriet
Mike Myers and Nancy Travis have amazing onscreen chemistry as Charlie and Harriet. So it’s hard to imagine “So I Married an Axe Murderer” without Travis playing the potential murderess. But Kim Basinger was also in consideration for the role and Sharon Stone nearly got the part.
After Stone’s idea to play both Harriet and her sister was vetoed, she turned down the role. Travis got hired instead because, as she said in a 1993 Los Angeles Times interview, “I can truthfully say I slept with the producer.” Her then-boyfriend and now-husband Robert Fried was the aforementioned producer (see the two below with their son).
2. There Was An Actual On-Set Blade Injury
While shooting a butcher shop scene, Travis got distracted and ended up chopping off a good chunk of her finger. It wasn’t nearly as gnarly as Charlie’s raw meat wound (see below), but part of Travis’ finger had to be stitched up. In some scenes of the movie, you can see a Band-Aid on her finger.
3. The Butcher Shop Was Real
Harriet’s butcher shop, Meats of the World, was an actual butcher shop at the time of filming. The shop, Iacopi’s, was a favorite of Francis Ford Coppola’s. It eventually became Prudente’s Deli and today is a North Beach Pizza. No haggis to be found on its store shelves anymore.
4. There Are a Lot of Great Cameos
Did you catch all the cameos sprinkled throughout this film? Alan Arkin as the police captain. Phil Hartman as “Vicky,” the Alcatraz tour guide. Michael Richards as an insensitive newspaper reporter. Debi Mazar as a dinner date. Charles Grodin as a driver who doesn’t want his car commandeered. Greg Germann as a hotel concierge.
“So I Married an Axe Murderer” scooped up so many guest stars because they wanted to work with Myers. Arkin and the late Hartman are the standouts. But all of the cameos piled up together help make the movie so memorable, and so quotable. “It’s a quorum, so to speak.”
5. Mike Myers Was Reportedly Difficult To Work With
Speaking of working with Myers, he may not have been as controlling as The Pentaverate, but reports reveal he wasn’t the easiest actor to work with on “So I Married an Axe Murderer.” Fresh off “Wayne’s World” and looking to prove himself, Myers had very high standards for himself and the film. He required a lot of changes, including a script overhaul.
“This was a very hard movie to make,” director Thomas Schlamme told the Los Angeles Times, pointing out that a lot was going on with Myers during filming, including his father’s recent death. Schlamme wanted a more mature film and Myers wanted it to be more comedic.
“He was under a lot of pressure and had a lot of commitment and passion about what he wanted to do and sometimes that made it very difficult to work,” Schlamme said. “But the bottom line was that both Mike and I were trying to make the best movie possible and in the end, I think that’s all that really matters.”
6. But Myers Was Also Wicked Funny
If Myers was creatively difficult, he also managed to create a lot of quotable, hilarious moments, particularly as Charlie’s cranky Scottish retiree father, Stuart.
The audience wasn’t the only one cracking up at Stuart’s onscreen antics. In one scene, you can see Anthony LaPaglia breaking character as he’s unable to stifle his laughter while Myers vociferously talks conspiracy theories. We don’t blame him. Try not laughing while Stuart expounds on his hatred for Kentucky Fried Chicken’s The Colonel with his “wee beady eyes” and addictive chicken that makes you “crave it fortnightly.”
7. The Movie’s Plot Was Roughly Based Off of ‘Annie Hall’
Before Myers and his screenwriting partner redid much of the original “So I Married an Axe Murderer” script, screenwriter Robbie Fox based the film off of Woody Allen’s classic film “Annie Hall.”
Hall envisioned the film as “Annie Hall, but what if Annie just might be a murderer,” he said. Allen was even briefly interested in the project, but it was not meant to be.
8. San Francisco Shines
One of the best parts of “So I Married an Axe Murderer” is seeing early ’90s San Francisco in a co-starring role throughout the film. Besides Iacopi’s butcher shop, you’ll see Vesuvio Cafe where Jack Kerouac used to hang out (the exterior of which became Cafe Roads in the film), The Palace of Fine Arts, Alcatraz, Edinburgh Castle, The Presidio and Dunsmuir House.
What’s your favorite scene from the cult classic?