NEW YORK — After coming up with his most successful comic creation since “Wayne’s World” in “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,” Mike Myers has accepted a new challenge: playing a dramatic role. He has signed to star as Studio 54 co-founder Steve Rubell in “54,” a Miramax film to be directed by Mark Christopher from his own script.
Myers said he was intrigued by the chance to play the super-schmoozer Rubell, who with Ian Schrager launched the nightspot that became a symbol of ’70s pre-AIDS decadence and celebrity worship. Rubell died in 1989.
“If the feeling in America in 1979 was that you were in the center of the universe, then Manhattan was the center of the center, Studio 54 was the center of the center of the center, and Steve Rubell was the center of the center of the center of the center,” said Myers. “Here was this guy who had the world in the palm of his hand.”
Myers has no qualms about going the serious route. “I’ve had serious moments in some of my films, and I’ve done serious roles on Canadian television,” he said.
While he’s traveling a career path taken by comics from Woody Allen to Steve Martin and Robin Williams, Myers said, “This is not a situation where I’ve abandoned comedy. I love comedy.”
His presence gives Miramax a leg up on numerous disco-themed projects in the works. Several Studio 54 projects have been rumored, including one Schrager set up at New Line, which fizzled when the former 54 partner dropped out. Whit Stillman is prepping “The Last Days of Disco” at Castle Rock, and “The People vs. Larry Flynt” scribes Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski are scripting a Village People biopic they hope to direct at TriStar.
“54” will be produced by Ira Deutchman and Dolly Hall, and revolves around a Jersey kid who observes the scene as a bartender.
Myers hasn’t decided on his next comic film outing, though he said “there are nine ideas circling the airport, which is an occupational hazard of having worked on ‘SNL.’ ”
Myers is managed by Erwin Stoff of 3 Arts and his deal was made by CAA’s David O’Connor and Michael Davis.