Working on The Love Guru
FX supervisor Ron Stephanik invited Greg Ballora and I to assist on the set thanks to the unbelievably talented Frank Meschkuleit.
This was a very stressful set. Aside from personality issues between tech and talent (which I’ll save for my new book, “Stories to get me Sued”), Mike (Myers) was coming up with bits and gags on the spot which left Ron scrambling to create. Sometimes working through the night, he and Frank had to figure out how to choreograph the making of two dumplings that look like testicles without the dough hardening and cracking during takes.
There were other gags like the “full body dental flossing”, the Ostrich (puppet) having to poop out and egg on a plate, or being told that the star is afraid of elephants but has to be on one the whole movie so they had to build a fake elephant for close ups.
There were many times the FX team had to design and choreograph puppeteering on set before the director finished shooting a previous scene.
Like this scene, where during the song “9 to 5”, Guru Pitka is doing yoga gone wrong. He bends over so low that he gets his head stuck up his own ass. In these photos, I am dressing the body mold while Frank is in the blue screen suit.
At the last minute, Mike thought it would be funny to have his legs impossibly contort and start beating him up. The legs were brilliantly sculpted in rubber with hand-sewn leg hairs! Mike would kneel in a hole in the set floor and the fake legs/pants would strap onto him like a diaper. But they weren’t constructed with any rods or wiring for this kind of manipulation. So while the cast shot only feet away, we were deciding where the rods would be implanted and how we would time the movements to the 16 counts of the song’s verse.
Frank stood in for the Guru, Greg and I did the legs while Ron shot it, painted us out of the shot on his laptop, and minutes later Mike and the director came in to watch what we came up with.