After taking a two-year hiatus from Saturday Night Live, Mike Myers came back full-force in 1997 when he created one of the most iconic comedy movies of all time. The premise of a time-traveling secret agent who is as “randy” as he is cunning might seem a bit too bizarre for mass appeal, but the movie worked.
The three Austin Powersmovies in total grossed over $670,000,000 worldwide, which goes to show how well audiences responded. Although we may feel like we know the series by heart, many stunning revelations have come out about all that went on behind the scenes. We’ve compiled them for your reading pleasure. Wait until you learn what Mr. Bigglesworth’s real name was.
Mike Myers Is A Genius, But You Knew That
While it may seem like a lot of thought and creativity went into the first Austin Powers, that turns out to not be the case. Mike Myers came up with the character Austin Powers while he was driving home and listening to Burt Bacharach’s “The Look Of Love.”
He thought about where all the swingers of the world went off to, and he asked his wife if she ever swung. She told him to record that idea, and he wrote the first Austin Powers movie in less than three weeks.
Dr. Evil’s Bizarre Inspiration
Many former writers think Myers got his inspiration for Dr. Evil from SNL‘s head honcho, Lorne Michaels — from the physical mannerisms to the controlling personality. There was some notorious fall-out from this character as Dana Carvey refused to talk to Myers for a decade because he thought Mike stole his Lorne Michaels impression.
Dr. Evil’s look came from a James Bond villain named Ernst Stavro Blofeld. They look almost identical except for the fact that Blofeld’s cat had hair.
The Improvisation Was Real
When it comes to Mike Myers movies, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there is going to be some improvisation. From what we’ve heard from Myers himself, about 30-40% of the first Austin Powers movie was improvised,
There are some notable scenes that were totally made-up on the spot, including Basil telling the audience to not think so much about the travel logistics. Perhaps the most famous improvised scene was when Dr. Evil told Scott to “shush” for about five minutes.
Mr. Bigglesworth Has An Interesting Real Name
The real name of the cat that played Mr. Bigglesworth was Ted Nude-Gent. If that name confuses you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Ted Nugent is a well-known voice in conservative circles and was the lead guitarist of the Amboy Dukes.
This cat does a great job of looking like it’s sent straight from hell because it’s u-g-l-y. Watching Dr. Evil stroke its “fur” sent chills down many spines because one can only imagine the texture of that bizarre cat. The movie significantly accelerated the sale of hairless Sphynx cats.
He Took A Beating On Set
Verne Troyer played Mini-Me and it wasn’t an easy role physically. He took quite a beating on-set because he mostly did his own stunts. While you might think that there weren’t too many stunts needed, he had to be kicked into different objects quite a bit.
Taking these beatings is nothing new for Troyer though. It’s interesting to note that he broke into the movie business by being a stunt baby. That’s a real job, and Vern nailed it. Sadly, Vern passed away in April of 2018.
The Word That Shook The World
The Austin Powers series pushed a lot of boundaries and censorship watchdogs to the limit. None caused more of a controversy than the word “shag” in the sophomore movie Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
The movie was a worldwide success but the title was changed in many countries to either censor the word “shag” or make it more translatable. For example, in Germany, it translated to Austin Powers: The Spy In The Secret Missionary Position. In Malaysia, it became The Spy Who Dot-Dot-Dot Me.
The Dance Parties Were Iconic
It’s vital when filming movies like these that the right mood is set. Many people who worked on the film said that 1970s dance music would play between takes just to get the perfect vibes.
Rob Lowe says that the opening claps of Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” remind him so much of the shoot even today. There were impromptu dance parties that livened up the long shooting days and for some, it was the best movie set they’ve ever worked on.
Frau’s Name Is Quite Punny
Frau was a parody figure of many James Bond female villains (mostly Frau Hoffner from the 1967 Bond spoof Casino Royale). Her name is a play on the Yiddish word “farbissen” which is an angry, vocal woman.
Mindy Sterling, who played Frau, was so disgusted by Goldmember’s habits of eating skin that she frequently forgot her lines. She says that it was nearly impossible to look at Myers without wanting to laugh and/or vomit when he was in character.
Rob Lowe’s Impression Of An Austin Powers Character Got Him The Job
While on a golf trip with Mike Myers, actor Rob Lowe did a spot on impersonation of Robert Wagner (who was playing Number Two in the Austin Powers series). Myers was so impressed that he decided to create a character for him.
Just a couple of months after the golf trip, Lowe received a script for The Spy Who Shagged Me. He was already written into the script as the young Number Two. At that time Lowe wasn’t getting too many calls for work and his schedule was fairly open. Fans are thankful that it was.
Beyoncé Slayed Back Then, Too
Look, anything Beyoncé touches goes gold, and in this case, that’s in the literal sense. She was just 20 years old when she played Foxxy Cleopatra!
She was the youngest of all of Austin’s sidekicks and even then, it was clear that Beyoncé was going to be a star. She has transformed into one of the most influential women in the world, and some of that can be in thanks to her stellar performance in the third Austin Powers movie.
Some Serious Money Was Made
You already saw the $670,000,000 figure at the beginning of this article, which is impressive. The second Austin Powers movie alone grossed over $300,000,000 at the box office and made more money on opening weekend than the first installment did in total.
For every movie, there was a bigger budget. By the time Goldmember rolled around they spent $70 million, which was nothing compared to the $213,000,000 that the film made at the box office.
Scott Evil Was Supposed To Have A Much Different Look
Former SNL cast member Colin Quinn is probably kicking himself for bypassing the Scott Evil role. The job was his if he wanted it but he declined it to look for other opportunities.
He says that he regrets that decision to this day, but that it doesn’t affect his love for the series. He says that he’s not someone who holds a grudge or lives in the past too long. Seth Green ended up taking the role and to be honest, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing it.
Goldmember Almost Didn’t Happen
In 2002, New Line Cinema (the production company for the Austin Powers series) had to take down all of the promotional items for Austin Powers: Goldmember. The company was sued by MGM, which claimed that New Line was trying to profit off their James Bond franchise.
The title was a play on James Bond: Goldfinger which MGM did not take kindly to. They ended up reaching a deal where they would be allowed to use the name Goldmember, but MGM had to greenlight all future titles to make sure that they weren’t parodies of other Bond titles.
Took Almost Seven Hours To Transform
Fat Bastard is one of the most recognizable characters from the Austin Powers series. Obviously, Mike Myers isn’t a 500-pound Scot with a ginger man-bun, so the method acting had to come into play.
It took over seven hours to transform Myers into Fat Bastard, and it was worth every second. Myers said that the suit smelled like a “sewer filtration system” when he was inside it which is absolutely repulsive. Way to push through, Mike.
Nigel Powers’ Rage In The Movie Came From Real Life Experience
If you’re familiar with the movie, you know Austin Powers’ dad has a bizarre hatred for the Dutch and it seems quite random. But it turns out that hatred isn’t random at all.
Myers was drawing from real-life experiences from his own dad who had a serious hate for Hawaiians. He claimed that they “killed Captain Cook in his sleep,” (Captain Cook being a British navigator and explorer) which is not true at all. Instead of Hawaiians, it was the Dutch who felt the wrath of the Powers family.
The Iconic Glasses
Thick, dark-rimmed glasses are often credited to Austin Powers. It became a style that many people associate with the character, but the original wearer of the now-iconic glasses wasn’t Powers.
The inspiration for the look came from another Austin Powers cast member, Michael Cain. Cain played Nigel Powers in the third installment, but it was his character in a 1965 movie called The Ipcress File, that wore similar glasses. When Cain first saw Austin Powers, he was mad because he thought that Austin went for his Ipcress character’s look.
Dr. Evil Was Originally Supposed To Have More Jim Than Mike
Mike Myers first wanted Jim Carrey to play Dr. Evil but they couldn’t figure out how to get past scheduling conflicts. Carrey was already filming Liar Liar which was also a box office smash.
Since Myers had a specific vision for how the character would look and act, he decided to not cast anyone for the role and did it himself. It leaves us wondering how different the Austin Powers movies would’ve been with Jim Carrey tormenting the world as Dr. Evil.
The OG Number Two
The character Number Two was modeled after the James Bond villain Emilio Largo. The name is supposed to have dual parody, the first being that Number One usually is the term used for a First Officer in the British Navy. The second was mostly talking about the common slang for defecation.
Technically he’s second in command of Dr. Evil’s empire and is known for wearing an eye patch. The patch was a functioning X-Ray to see which card was at the top of the stack when Number Two played poker.