Mike Myers to Play Chicago Improv Great Del Close on the Big Screen
According to the Chicago Tribune, film star and Second City alumnus Mike Myers (Austin Powers, Shrek, Wayne's World) will play improv great Del Close in a new biopic produced by the Windy City comedy institution. Myers was, fittingly, one of Close's students.
Written by Nick Torokvei and directed by Betty Thomas, a former student of Close, the film will be called DEL. Filming will begin in April, much of it at Second City landmarks, for a fast-tracked release in fall 2017.
Twelve years in the making, the project is based on the book GURU: MY DAYS WITH DEL CLOSE by Close's former assistant Jeff Griggs.
Chicago actor and figurehead of the city's improv scene, Close died in 1999. Some of his notable students included Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Dratch, Chris Farley, Jon Favreau, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Bill Murray, Bob Odenkirk, Amy Poehler, Andy Richter and more.
Close and Second City founder Bernie Sahlins reportedly had an "antagonistic relationship" that stemmed from philosophical differences.
"Sahlins, a founding father of Second City, believed in improv as a tool for developing scripted sketch work (a format that proved hugely influential in the comedy industry), whereas Close, an improv purist with metaphysical interests, was committed to improv as a unique art form in its own right," Chris Jones writes in the Tribune. "The pair reconciled on Close's deathbed in 1999, but the amenity remains the stuff of legend."
Second City owner Andrew Alexander and his wife, Diane, will produce the film with Covert Media's Paul Hanson.