Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon
Affectionate and engaging Mike Myers-directed tribute to talent manager falls short
Actor Mike Myers makes his directorial debut with this engaging documentary about talent manager Shep Gordon, whose eclectic list of clients included the likes of Alice Cooper, Blondie, Luther Vandross and Groucho Marx. The obvious affection Myers feels for his subject is extremely touching, though you do wonder just how full a picture you're getting as a result.
In a series of relaxed interviews, Myers allows Gordon to tell his story in his own words, with illustrative archive material and occasional input from famous talking heads, including Sylvester Stallone, Michael Douglas, Alice Cooper and Myers himself. Unfolding chronologically, the film begins with Gordon’s arrival in Hollywood in the 1960s, whereupon he immediately got punched in the face by fellow motel guest Janis Joplin and advised to go into management by Jimi Hendrix. Subsequent career highlights included a long-time association with Alice Cooper (the truth behind that ‘Alice bites head off live chicken on stage’ story is revealed here), creating the first independent film production company in the US with Alive Films (‘We were Miramax before Miramax,’ says Gordon), developing a close friendship with the Dalai Lama and, bizarrely, inventing the concept of the celebrity chef.
Gordon makes for a likeable and engaging subject, and the film is packed full of entertaining anecdotes, such as Gordon ending up having to share his ginger cat with Cary Grant after the star and the cat took a mutual liking to each other. There’s also plenty of evidence to suggest that Gordon is indeed worthy of the film’s title, most notably in his effective adoption of an ex-girlfriend's five grandchildren. However, there are notable omissions (ex-girlfriend Sharon Stone is conspicuous by her absence) and it’s a shame the film doesn’t allow Gordon to expand further on his unexpectedly negative views on the value of fame.
Limited release from Fri 18 Jul.