Verne Troyer Love Guru & The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Verne Troyer Love Guru & The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Verne Troyer: Size Matters.

Verne Troyer Love Guru & The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Interview by Paul Fischer.

When it comes to his stature, Verne Troyer has been able to use it to comedic effect, from Mini Me in Austin Powers, through to his portrayal of a hockey coach in the latest Mike Myers comedy, The Love Guru. In fact, in that film, he literally has the last laugh. But audiences will soon see the diminutive actor in a very different light in Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Heath Ledger's final film. Troyer talked size, comedy and Imaginarium with Paul Fischer.

Paul Fischer: You must have a fantastic relationship with Mike Myers?

Verne Troyer: Yeah. I guess so. It's fun to do the films that he asks me to do. If Mike Myers calls and asks you to do a film, you're going to say yes.

Paul Fischer: There were a lot more of the little jokes in this particular movie. Were you a little bit worried about how much they were making fun of your size?

Verne Troyer: No. It's a movie. It's comedy. Entertainment. If you don't like it, I'm sorry. It doesn't bother me. If that were to happen in the outside world, depending on the tone or how they said it, it might offend me a little bit. But, like I say, it's a movie and it's there to entertain people.

Paul Fischer: You get to talk in this one. As Mini Me, you didn't. Were you really happy when you were reading the script? Did you go "Ooooh, dialogue!"?

Verne Troyer: Yeah, I was. It wasn't like I hadn't done anything with speaking lines before. I have. I've done a bunch. Just being in this big movie, everybody is going to see that he can actually speak.

Paul Fischer: I'll bet you have the best, funniest line in the entire movie at the end. Was that always a post credit thing? Did you know that was going to be there?

Verne Troyer: I didn't know. I didn't think they caught that on film. That was just.... that came up and it is. That's how I see it.

Paul Fischer: It's hysterical.

Verne Troyer: It's like when I walk behind somebody, what do I have? A crack.

Paul Fischer: Your character is really this badass coach. Did you model him after somebody in particular? What did you have in mind when you were creating him?

Verne Troyer: Well Mike thought the character should be based around an actual coach from the Maple Leaves like back in the 60s. His name was Punch Imlach. He based it on the way I dressed and things, and he wanted the kind of old school, hard nosed, straight to the point, angry, mean coach. Maybe like back in the day of Vince Lombardi or something. Just in your face.

Paul Fischer: What are the challenges for you to find roles in movies that really interest you? How hard is it for you to find the kind of stuff that you want to do?

Verne Troyer: It's difficult because a lot of people, most people, just look at somebody of my stature as being an elf or a leprechaun, you know, things like that. What was great about this film with Mike, it was really good that he kind of thought outside the box and cast me in this movie because normally you'd think that it would be an average size man. Having him give me that opportunity is a great stepping stone for me to show other people I can do many things.

Paul Fischer: How long ago did he tell you about the role? Was he working on the script? Was it something that he'd thought about in that process? Or was it something afterwards where he sort of had a realization?

Verne Troyer: No, I think he thought about it. He didn't tell a lot of people. I found out when I was having dinner. I ran into him and he just mentioned something about it. And the next day I got a script in the mail and bam! I loved it and I jumped on top of it.

Paul Fischer: Were you part of the public readings that Mike had where everyone came and read the script? He put on a show and tested out the character.

Verne Troyer: No, I wasn't a part of that. I knew that he did that and he didn't get out of the Guru character. He stayed in it to test how it would be. But no, I wasn't involved. The only way I knew about Mike doing that was all from the internet.

Paul Fischer: After you wrapped this film, you started working for Terry Gilliam on Imaginarium, could you talk a little bit about playing Percy, your character in the film?

Verne Troyer: His name is actually Percival St. Antoine de la Terrain San Sepulcral da Piedmonte III.

Paul Fischer: What a mouthful!

Verne Troyer: So you can just call me Percy.

Paul Fischer: That sounds like Terry.

Verne Troyer: Yeah.

Paul Fischer: What kind of character is he?

Verne Troyer: Kind of a sidekick to Christopher Plummer who plays Dr. Parnassus. It's like a traveling theatre group that stops in certain places, you know, and entertains audiences.

Paul Fischer: After what happened with Heath, I know they reshot. Have you reshot stuff or did you just film at that one point.

Verne Troyer: No, I was part of their reshooting of it. We had some great people come in to help us finish the film kind of to give tribute to Heath.

Paul Fischer: How many more weeks of shooting did they have to do?

Verne Troyer: When we were in London, we just shot exterior scenes, that's all. So we had all the interiors to still shoot when we went to Vancouver.

Paul Fischer: What was it like? There were some pretty heavy hitters that came in to help out to finish this film. What was the vibe on set like and what was your experience working on it as a whole?

Verne Troyer: It was something different that I haven't really done. I've done a little bit of drama like on Boston Public and other things, but this is a big movie role for me and it's not really... it's out of the comedy role. So, in that way, it was good and I need to do more things like that.

Paul Fischer: How did you find Terry Gilliam as a director?

Verne Troyer: Awesome. He has an eye for exactly what he wants and he and his DP Nicola (Pecorini) just work well together. You can't believe the shots that he gets after you see it. It's just beautiful.

Paul Fischer: Do you have any idea when it might come out?

Verne Troyer: It's supposed to come out sometime in 2009.

Paul Fischer: Did you do much improv on this or were all your lines pretty much there on the page for The Love Guru?

Verne Troyer: They were pretty much there, but doing a Mike Myers film, everybody has to improv. If you have a scene with Mike and he improvs, what are you going to do? You need to be able to keep up with him. And he makes it fun.

Paul Fischer: You guys have something special. Does it just automatically switch on when you start working with him?

Verne Troyer: I don't know how to explain it but we just seem to have this great chemistry. I guess great minds think alike.

Paul Fischer: Was it fun to have your own office that was your size and watch everybody else adjust to your world for a change?

Verne Troyer: Yeah, exactly. In the average size world I adjust to, you know, I'm used to everything. It was very different for me to get on this stage. It was like a different world that was very comfortable.

Paul Fischer: Have you talked to Mike about possibly doing another Austin Powers?

Verne Troyer: Personally no. If it happened, I would love to do it. I just haven't really heard anything.

Paul Fischer: Are you signed up for a sequel to this?

Verne Troyer: If there was, I would be. But I don't know. Since the Guru can teach a lot of different people, I don't know if I'd be involved in that unless he wanted me, maybe I have a personal problem.

Paul Fischer: What are you doing next? Do you know?

Verne Troyer: I just got done with Imaginarium so I'm taking a little bit of a break doing some commercials and things.

Paul Fischer: How long was the shooting in Vancouver of Imaginarium?

Verne Troyer: About a month and a half almost. For me. There was probably two and a half months, three months or something.

Paul Fischer: So it was a healthy shoot?

Verne Troyer: Yeah.

Paul Fischer: What's your favorite place for filming?

Verne Troyer: We shot Guru in Toronto and I fell in love with that city.

Paul Fischer: Why?

Verne Troyer: It reminded me of a miniature Chicago. I just fell in love with it.

Paul Fischer: Do you love traveling? Is there a part of the world you'd like to see?

Verne Troyer: Yeah, there's a lot of places that I haven't been to that I would love to see. What I try to do is I try to take these movie roles as my vacation. I just look for the ones that are traveling. But I have been to a lot of interesting places while working and eventually I will go and see the places I haven't.

Paul Fischer: Do you share any of these Eastern philosophies that are put forth in the film in a comedic way? Does some of it stick with you and make you think "That's actually pretty smart. It's a wise thing"?

Verne Troyer: Like the things that Mike said?

Paul Fischer: Yeah. Like the DRAMA and all that.

Verne Troyer: I mean it's funny. I'm not worried how you look at it.

Paul Fischer: Is there a certain kind of code or philosophy that you live by yourself?

Verne Troyer: I wouldn't say a code or philosophy. I do believe that there is a higher power but I'm not here to throw it down somebody's throat of anything. I mean I just believe.

Paul Fischer: It seems that there might have been a lot of stuff cut from this?

Verne Troyer: There was a lot of stuff cut. The movie was over two hours.

Paul Fischer: Were there scenes that you remember doing that were just really out there and you hope will make there way onto the DVD?

Verne Troyer: It's so hard to remember because I did Imaginarium right afterwards. So I guess it wasn't too funny if they didn't put it in the film.

Paul Fischer: What's the funniest thing that happened on set?

Verne Troyer: The funniest thing? I can't just pinpoint one thing.

Paul Fischer: What was one good thing that happened?

Verne Troyer: I guess what I said at the end of the film and I didn't know they had captured that. So I guess that's the funniest thing.

Paul Fischer: That got a huge laugh. It was very, very funny.

Verne Troyer: Thank you.

Paul Fischer: For someone playing this temperamental coach yelling at the team, it seems you would be limited in terms of the PG-13 rating and what you could say. Were there any other takes where you got [inaudible]?

Verne Troyer: Yeah. I had other takes where it was inappropriate for me to say for a PG-13 film.

Paul Fischer: What about the physical stuff that you do in this movie? Was it sort of fun to get your hands and feet dirty?

Verne Troyer: I got started doing stunt work and I did that for 8 years and I fell into this so I love doing all of my own stunts. I'd rather do it than have somebody else do it.

Paul Fischer: That wasn't you flying into the hockey goal?

Verne Troyer: That was a doll. I probably would have broken my neck. That was actually me sliding across the ice attached to the camera along for the ride.

Love Guru

Cast: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, and Ben Kingsley
Director: Marco Schnabel

Love, hockey, and Indian spirituality come together in this film that marks Mike Myers's return to live-action comedy. THE LOVE GURU costars Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, and Ben Kingsley. Love, hockey, and Indian spirituality come together in this film that marks Mike Myers's return to live-action comedy. THE LOVE GURU costars Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, and Ben Kingsley.