Twenty years ago, Mike Myers gave up the idea of shooting a third Wayne’s World movie, for the chance to make a James Bond parody. That parody become Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery.
This article has got some groovy facts, and some bodacious, behind the scenes stories from the entire trilogy. Oh, and fun fact, Mike Myers has signed off on the making of a fourth Austin Powers…but that was years ago, so who knows if it will actually ever happen.
Regardless, this piece is full of leather-clad ladies. An almost desperate dip into the porn industry. Plenty of product placement. Twins. A real-life Bond Girl…and Daniel Craig, hating on it all. Sounds like one hell of a groovy adventure to me. So strap in, and let’s go back to the sixties, so we can follow Austin to 1997. Where all of this far out, sex-driven trilogy began. Does that make you horny baby? Does it make you randy?
20. Elizabeth Hurley Kept Her Leather Suit
For those who don’t know who Elizabeth Hurley is…she’s the tightly leather-clad woman in the above photo. The leading lady of the very first instalment of Austin Powers. She is the daughter of Austin’s former partner. Played by Mimi Rogers. Unfortunately there wasn’t a shot of the two ladies side by side in their leather jumpsuits. So I picked the hottest one to show off. There is a point to this though. Both Hurley, and Rogers (who is by no means unattractive) asked the studio if they could keep their zip-up, leather jumpsuits. And thankfully, they eventually agreed. Which means one thing. There is now a chance (however slim) that you may come across Elizabeth Hurley at a club, or walking down the street…and she could be wearing the above outfit! And don’t worry. It might be twenty years after the fact, but guaranteed she could still fit in that suit.
19. Seven Hours Of Fat Makeup!
And why not jump from sexy to scary? Anyone who knows a little bit about Austin Powers knows that Mike Myers played several characters in each film. They also likely know about Fat Bastard. This obese, obtuse, and overbearing Scotsman is one hell of an interesting and disgusting character. How Heather Graham ever managed to do a bed scene with him, and not either wretch, or burst into tears laughing, I’ve no idea. Either way, some might have realized by now that Fat Bastard is a world bigger than Mike Myers. That makes for an intense makeup session. It took the makeup department seven hours to fit Myers with the Fat Bastard character. Considering that Myers also plays Austin, and Dr. Evil, seven hours every time they need to shoot some Fast Bastard work is crazy. Their scheduling must have been tight.
18. Actors Couldn’t Watch Mike Myers Eating The Fake Dead Skin
Austin Powers: Goldmember features one of the nastiest characters Mike Myers has ever played. And I don’t just mean Fat Bastard. I mean Goldmember himself. He might love gold, but that’s not the only thing. He also, for some reason, loves nibbling on his own dead skin. Apparently this was so revolting that some actors had trouble working the scenes with Myers. Mindy Sterling, for example. She is the actor who played the role of Frau Farbissina. So nasty was Myers when eating the fake dead skin, that Sterling would often forget her lines. You know you’re doing a good job at being disgusting when the actors around you can’t remember what it is they’re doing. That must have been how Heather Graham felt, when in bed with Fat Bastard.
17. Heather Graham Almost Did A Lesbian Film Before Mike Myers Phoned Her
It turns out that Heather Graham was pretty down and out before she got the role of Felicity Shagwell. Apparently unable to land an acting gig, she was getting ready to steer her career towards the wide world of porn. She had gone so far as to have already landed a role. She was slated to do a shoot for a lesbian adult film. However, Mike Myers called her up before shooting started, and the rest is history. Maybe it’s not the sexy history you were hoping you could Google after all of this, but Felicity Shagwell is still pretty foxy. Feeling lucky that she had finally broken in to legitimate film, Graham made sure she did one important thing. Something to remind her of where she was going, and where she got to. She went out and bought the porn she was meant to feature in. Yeah baby, yeah!
16. Translations For The Film Title Are Hilarious
This is just too priceless. In some countries in the world, the word “shag” is a bit offensive. It’s just like saying f*ck, to some people. But it’s amazing what can happen when film titles are translated into different languages. Things can get pretty hilarious.
The German cover of the film, for example, reads: Spy In The Secret Missionary Position. And it gets even better!
The Norwegian translation…clearly they were not concerned with being offensive at all. The Norwegian title reads: The Spy Who Ejaculated On Me.
But of course then you do get somewhat censored ones. Like Malaysia’s: The Spy Who Dot-Dot-Dot Me. And Singapore’s: The Spy Who Shioked Me. Shiok meaning “treat nicely”.
15. You’ll Never Guess What A Muscle In The Pinky Finger Is Called…
There is another, wonderful little behind-the-scenes tidbit about Mini-Me. Those who have been fans of the Austin Powers series will be familiar with the way Dr. Evil deviously holds his pinky to his lips. And for those not so familiar…just look at the photo above. Now there’s something very interesting about this little expression. It has to do with the name of the muscle which allows the pinky to extend in just this way. I promise, this is no word of a lie. The name of said muscle is: Extensor Digiti MINIMI! So never mind just the little version of Dr. Evil running about, trying to eat kittens, and kick shins. There are actually several Mini-Mes throughout the trilogy. Maybe in unexpected, and bizarre ways, but they are there! There’s the gun, the pinky finger, and of course the actual character, as played by Verne Troyer.
14. Mike Myers Loves To Dance In The Buff… Off-Screen Too!
Oh the famous naked scenes in the films. The second instalment, The Spy Who Shagged Me, features Austin dancing about the entire hotel naked. In the first film though, there is simply some innuendo while Vanessa is on the phone with her mother. Now most people assume that there’s always some sort of nude-coloured underwear that the actor is wearing. But not for Mike Myers. He strode about set, completely naked. And this was at the behest of his wife! Apparently he spent quite a bit of time dancing around their home, stark naked. So his wonderful wife told him to take it to set with him. And he did. To critical acclaim! I’m still not sure if that says that Myers has a great wife who understands comedy reflecting life…or is she just didn’t want him bounding around everyday, while she tried to get work done.
13. Mike Myers’ Chair Read “Sir Stinky Bottom, Viscount Of Stinkvania”
Alright, so there’s not a lot of information that I can find on this, but it is extraordinarily interesting, all the same. Everyone’s familiar with the stars having their own names on their chairs right? You know the chairs. They have a star on the back, and the name of the actor? Well Mike Myers’ chair didn’t have Mike Myers written across it. Instead, he had “Sir Stinky Bottom, Viscount of Stinkvania in the Bottom-ic Empire”. I’m not sure if no one has ever asked, or if Myers just won’t say, but not even Rolling Stone could get an explanation for the inscription on the back of his chair. The same chair where he apparently hollers gibberish to himself, occasionally saying “More tea, vicar?” A very strange, Canadian cat indeed. Or shall we say: a very strange Stinkvanian? Either way, he makes people laugh, whether with or at him. “Good baby! Very good.”
12. Fook Mi And Fook Yu Are Not Actually Twins
This may or may not surprise you, but the twins, Fook Mi and Fook Yu, from The Spy Who Shagged Me, are not actually twins. Sorry if that breaks hearts to read, but it’s true. Fook Mi was played Diane Mizota. She was originally cast in the role before her twin Fook Yu was cast by Carrie Ann Inaba. Mizota was asked if she had a sister, or knew someone who looked like her. Ultimately, she settled on Inaba (they had known each other for years, from dancing). So they dressed up, auditioned again, and landed the parts. Apparently even Michael Caine praised their acting from their audition tapes. Though he could have just been finding a way up their pleated skirts. Either way, both of these lovely ladies have gone on to other jobs in the business since. Inaba judged for Dancing With The Stars, and Mizota worked as a blogger for Ashton Kutcher. Neither are quite as high profile as Austin Powers, but they’re still keeping busy.
11. Jim Carrey Turned Down Dr. Evil For Liar, Liar
This was actually unbelievable to me at first. It turns out that Jim Carrey was offered the role of Dr. Evil. He didn’t even have to audition! It’s interesting to think that the proud-to-be-Canadian Mike Myers offered the role to the hiding-being-a-Canadian Jim Carrey. Carrey ultimately turned down the role because of another film he was shooting. What film might that have been? Liar Liar! So he gave up a trilogy’s worth of antics, and crass comedy, in order to star in a one-off, flash-in-the-pan. One can’t help but feel a little bad for Jim Carrey. But on the other hand…as much as it would have been very interesting to see these two comedic legends go head-to-head…surely no one could see anyone other than Mike Myers playing Dr. Evil. Besides, Carrey went the direction of dramatic comedy anyway, with films like Bruce Almighty.
10. Daniel Craig Was Furious About The Films
“We had to destroy the myth because Mike Myers f*cked us – I am a huge Mike Myers fan, so don’t get me wrong – but he kind of f*cked us; made it impossible to do the gags.” That was what Daniel Craig had to say when the premiere of Skyfall was looming. He was very pissed off at Mike Myers for having lampooned almost every aspect of the Bond series. “The truth of it is that I always had this plan in my head that we got to make them and begin them again and bring all that back in.” Craig wanted all of the old gimmicks, and gags back again. But he ultimately had to go a more serious direction because Myers had shone too bright a light on all of it in his Austin Powers trilogy. But to be fair to Mike Myers, the Bond series started back in 1962. Someone was going to parody the hell out of it eventually. Craig should feel lucky that he got to play Bond in the first place. And that Myers was the one to parody it all.
9. Alright Shhhh…All Improvised!
The infamous “shh” scene. The “shh” scene is from International Man of Mystery. It’s crazy to think that this scene (along with the “zip it” scene) is among the most famous scenes of the trilogy! “A whole bag of shh with your name on it”. “Preemptive shh”. “Suckle of my zip-ple”. “Zip-py Longstockings”. Hilarious stuff. That’s what you get when you let a guy from Saturday Night Live just go in a scene. What could Seth Green even do to get in edge-wise? He probably felt relieved, given that he didn’t even really have to say anything. He could just keep getting cut off. No wonder the scene plays so naturally.
8. Just One Version Of The MINIMI
So this probably requires a little bit of explaining. In the third instalment of the trilogy, Austin Powers: Goldmember, the opening sequence is a film, within the film. It’s of course all based on the exploits of Austin Powers himself. This happens to star Tom Cruise, and Danny DeVito. There is a point in this film, within the film (aptly called Austin P-ssy – a play on the Bond film Octop-ssy) where DeVito pulls out a machine gun. It should be stated that DeVito is also playing the role of Mini-Me. The gun he begins firing all over the place is the M249 light machine gun. Now that might mean nothing to a lot of readers, but there is a fun fact about this gun. In Europe, this gun has been named the FN MINIMI. And it should be pointed out that the name for this gun came about before Austin Powers was ever in production.
7. Meet The Real Mr. Bigglesworth
Ah, Mr. Bigglesworth. Dr. Evil’s infamous Sphynx cat. But of course, as is the way with film, that is not this little kitty-actor’s real name. His real name is far more exciting. But maybe it just doesn’t have the sort of edge one would expect for a James Bond parody. Mr. Bigglesworth’s real name is Ted Nude-Gent. This is of course a play on the famous musician Ted Nugent (who actually faked his death just days ago, and may face a year in jail, and up to 1 million dollars in fines). But more importantly, this Sphynx cat, Ted Nude-Gent, has the perfect name for an Austin Powers film. It’s the right amount of pad pun, and sex symbol. And of course this name works so well for this particular breed because the Sphynx is a hairless breed of cat…which may open up a world of other jokes that could fit very well in the titillating spaces of Austin Powers.
6. Moon Unit Zappa
It’s doubtful that many of you are Zappa fans in any way shape or form. But if you are…kudos to you. So Dr. Evil has a plan. The plan is to build a space station on the Moon, and ransom Earth for…some incredible amount of money that doesn’t even exist. Now on this space station, he has two units of people working for him. Respectively, they are called: Moon Unit Alpha, and Moon Unit Zappa. This might seem incredibly silly…and it is, but Frank Zappa‘s daughter is actually named Moon Unit. That is her name. Her given name. Her birth name. Moon Unit Zappa. So for those of you who ever wondered what Dr. Evil was talking about…he named one of his groups of men after Frank Zappa’s daughter, Moon Unit. By the way, Moon Unit is a successful author, and actor, and will be turning fifty this year. Happy birthday Moon Unit!
5. The Real Reason Nigel Powers Hates The Dutch
Of course the man in the above photo is not Mike Myers’ father. This is Michael Caine. But in Goldmember, he does play Austin Powers‘ father, Nigel Powers. Now Nigel is partially based off of Myers’ late father. For some reason, Myers’ father was always hung up on the Hawaiians killing Captain Cook. Now that was way back in 1779. But either way, he harboured a hatred of Hawaiians because of this. So Myers took his father’s little bit of poorly justified racism, and attached to Nigel Powers. But instead of Hawaiians, he wrote him to hate the Dutch…because who hates the Dutch? In Myers’ own words: “We couldn’t even have a pineapple in the house. So I thought it would be funny if Austin’s father, Nigel, had a problem with the Dutch—who nobody has a grudge with.” And why is that? Because they have Amsterdam, of course.
4. Shooting In Southern California
So first off, at least a third of the very first Austin Powers film was completely improvised. That’s pretty incredible, considering the memorable moments it has. One of the famed moments was an impromptu scene where Austin and Vanessa are driving through the countryside. Austin mentions how very different the British countryside looks, in comparison to Southern California. Which is hilarious considering that, though they are supposedly driving through the English countryside…they are, of course, shooting the scene in Southern California. And yes, I realize that the above photo is Austin and Felicity, not Vanessa. However, the location is still the hills of Southern Cali, so I figure it works just the same. But seriously imagine: over thirty percent of the film, completely improvised. Surely they must have done other takes to lock it in, but that’s still impressive.
3. Austin Powers’ Actual Bond Girl
It might surprise some people to know (especially once you read what Daniel Craig thinks) that there was an actual Bond girl in the first Austin Powers! Lois Chiles, who played Dr. Holly Goodhead in the Bond film Moonraker. Now she’s not in Austin Powers for very long, but how cool is that? If you recall, there is a ridiculous scene where an evil worker gets crushed by a very slow-moving steamroller. After this gruesome, and rather flat-acted death, there is a shot of this man’s grieving wife. You guessed it: that grieving widow is Lois Chiles. She may not have got to nail Austin, like she did Bond, but her presence was iconic. And the shooting of Moonraker was almost twenty years before the shooting of Austin Powers. And now, twenty years after that, here we are! It’s amazing what the passage of time can do to people.
2. Starbucks Got All Of This For Free!
There’s an incredible amount of product placement in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Myers simply approached Starbucks to see if he could use their logo for the film. They didn’t even have to pay for the advertising. And it’s some premium grade advertising, served in a venti-sized scene. The headquarters of Dr. Evil is the Seattle Needle, with gigantic lettering, that reads: Starbucks. And that’s not even to mention the shameless plug that Number 2 does, when serving Dr. Evil a coffee. Serving him a coffee from their very own Starbucks cafe that is part of the evil meeting room! Now this was back in 1999 when their sales barely reached 1 billion dollars. Last year, they hit over 21 billion dollars in sales!
1. HBO Bought A Groovy Cartoon Of Austin Powers
Ok, so this isn’t a shot from the actual HBO cartoon. It looks more like Mike Myers, about to play the role of Michael Myers from Halloween. But there is unfortunately a specific reason why this shot is not from the HBO cartoon. The sad truth is that it never happened. It is true also that HBO did buy the rights to make a groovy Austin Powers cartoon, almost immediately after the first film dropped. But sadly it would never make it into production. And no one seems to know why that is. “It’s not going to be a Saturday morning cartoon. It would be more akin to a King of the Hill, which pushes the envelope in a way that’s fun.” That’s what the president of New Line TV said anyway. But the show was scrapped and never heard from again after basically it’s very first mention. I wonder if HBO ever got their money back from that one…