Welch plugs into Myers’ ‘Sprockets’ for helm bow

Prod'n designer to make feature debut on 'SNL' adaptation

NEW YORK — Renowned production designer Bo Welch will make his feature directing debut on “Sprockets,” the Imagine Films comedy for Universal in which Mike Myers will star from a script Myers wrote with Jack Handey.

While the signing of Myers to topline the film for his first $20 million payday has been common knowledge for nearly a year (Daily Variety, Aug. 12, 1999), recent rehashed reporting trivialized the genesis of the “Sprockets” film, much to the chagrin of Myers.

Myers has spent even more time developing his Dieter character than he put in on either his “Wayne’s World” or “Austin Powers” franchise creations.

The Dieter persona is an homage and a parody to a waiter he knew in Canada. He’s been honing the character since the age of 18, long before he performed it during his run on “Saturday Night Live.”

In the film, avant-garde talkshow host Dieter must come to America when his beloved monkey is snatched.

Myers considered directing “Sprockets” himself. But he, U chairman Stacey Snider and Imagine chairman Brian Grazer ultimately embraced the hiring of Welch primarily because, as a production designer, he has proven so adept at creating believable reality in otherworldly and highly visual films like “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” “Beetlejuice,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “Men in Black,” “Batman Returns” and “The Lost Boys,” the latter two directed by Joel Schumacher, another production designer who moved up to the directing ranks.

Myers made the deal with Imagine as part of a two-pic pact that includes another comedy to be named later. He also has flirted with such films as “Scooby-Doo” and “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” based on the novel penned by Chuck Barris. Welch and Myers are CAA repped.