Two years ago, legendary manager Shep Gordon was lying in the hospital, recovering from gastrointestinal surgery, when Mike Myers approached him with an idea he’d been obsessing over: a documentary about Gordon’s life. Gordon – a Zelig-like figure who’d befriended everyone from Michael Douglas to the Dalai Lama and was best known as Alice Cooper‘s manager – reluctantly agreed. “I was heavily medicated and must have been feeling sorry for myself,” says Gordon.
Myers had been fixated on Gordon ever since they met during the making of Wayne’s World in 1991. Myers wanted Alice Cooper to sing “School’s Out” for a concert scene, but Gordon strong-armed him into using the new song “Feed My Frankenstein.” “He said, ‘I know you start filming in two weeks and have no alternative,'” says Myers. “I was like, ‘Wow.'” The two became friends, with Myers spending a lot of time at Gordon’s home in Hawaii, where Gordon regaled Myers with infinite and hilarious stories that presented a secret history of music and Hollywood in the Seventies. “I’d go to his place with the names of celebrities written on my hand,” says Myers. “I’d say, ‘Larry Storch,’ and he’d go, ‘I met Larry Storch at Zabar’s. . . .'”
Myers worked for 18 months on the film, scouring the planet for old photos and videos. “I remember walking into his apartment and every photo on the wall was me, even photos of my relatives and my bar mitzvah,” says Gordon. “It scared me. I kept thinking about CSI.”
The film, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, traces Gordon’s entire life, from his time as a hippie drug dealer hanging out with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to his nine-day stint as Pink Floyd‘s manager (he was fired after a club he booked them in burned down and they weren’t paid) to ushering in the era of the celebrity chef by repping figures like Emeril Lagasse. A central theme of the movie, however, is how fame ruins lives – Gordon watched clients like Cooper and Teddy Pendergrass descend into drugs and egomania. “Fame is the industrial disease of creativity,” says Myers, who hasn’t starred in a movie since 2008’s The Love Guru, a box-office flop. “It’s an all-encompassing external experience that often excludes intimacy.”
Harvey Weinstein is plotting a major theatrical rollout for the film this summer, which means Gordon might finally get a taste of his own fame. “I’m feeling humbled and proud,” he says, “though seeing just how many drugs I did blew my mind.”
Now Myers is starting to think about his next project. IMDB says a fourth Austin Powers movie is in the works, but Myers remains tight-lipped. “That’s premature,” he says. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I always have two or three projects, and I never talk about them until they’ve landed.”
This story is from the July 3rd-17th, 2014 issue of Rolling Stone.