Who is Shep Gordon? Aside from his career in rock & roll, as Alice Cooper's manager among many other high profile clients, Shep Gordon invented the concept of the celebrity chef and adheres to the teaching of the Dalai Lama; he is, however, not a celebrity, a status he claims to prize. All of that is about to change. In Mike Myers' directorial debut, Supermensch, the question of why Shep Gordon is no ordinary mensch is treated with enormous humanity, largesse, and humor. Not merely a supermensch, Shep Gordon is now a star.
Mike Myers could have made an episodic film of Shep Gordon's life and times, his meeting Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, and Sharon Stone, but the comic Dr. Evil had a clear view of the movie's arc, attempting to explore something of Gordon's inner being, his loneliness despite being surrounded by loving and eccentric friends, for example. At the film's New York premiere party at The Wayfarer, Myers had tete a tete with legendary documentarian D. A. Pennebaker, among other filmmakers. Myers said his next directorial effort will be a film about his father, who came to Toronto from Liverpool.
Eager to find out more about what makes a mensch a super one, I spoke to Shep Gordon on a recent sun-filled morning at the Crosby Street Hotel, and found out why, after saying no, he decided to allow Mike Myers to make a film about him.
I was in the hospital feeling sorry for myself, and my ego started to take over my choices. When I was more rational I was more aware of the longterm effects of losing privacy. An industrial byproduct of fame is the loss of anonymity. That's not the part I'm looking forward to. I just want to make sure I keep getting invited to celebrity golf tournaments.
What was it like to work with Mike Myers?
Mike was remarkable. He dedicated 18 months of his life to this film. I walked into his house and it was like CSI with pictures of pieces of my life all around. Mike and I share a love of documentaries. Documentaries are really about storytelling. I was involved with some too, like Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense. I felt comfortable giving it to him. I have an image of myself not being a legend. He made a superhero out of my life.
Is there anything in the film you wish he hadn't included?
Yes, what I paid for my house. I feel pain when I hear it. It feels elitist. Another, my mother being cruel was part of a longer discussion; she was also loving, and loved me. And the title was always embarrassing until I saw it with audiences. They are taking something out of this.
What will this film show people?
I came from a generation of people who cared, who wanted to change things. I was a hippie. I've been doing a lot of film festivals and people are so into it. In Sun Valley, a beautiful couple waited till the movie was over. Tears in their eyes, they said, 'We have so much to be thankful for; we need to share more and we'd love to start with you. Looks like you have everything you need but we're hunters and we have elk in our freezer. Would you come over for some elk?' I went to their house and they gave me this container of frozen elk, which was beautiful. Now I'm so proud to be the centerpiece of a movie that is making people more generous.
What's your favorite part of the film?
When I talk about meeting Pablo Picasso, and Mike found out I couldn't have because Picasso died two years before. There may have been drugs involved.
You keep reinventing yourself. What's your next move?
I don't know. I make career moves for other people. I became a manager because someone said, are you Jewish. And I ended up representing chefs because I was in a restaurant and I met a chef and thought this is someone I want to learn from. I'm still a hippie: I have no idea what's next.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.