Urban Cinefile
"Once the films are finished, I never see any of them ever again . all I can see is mistakes. I can't bear to look at them."  -Bruce Beresford, Australian director
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday December 3, 2019 

Search SEARCH FOR AN INTERVIEW
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

MYERS, MIKE: AUSTIN POWERS, THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME

AUSTIN POWERS is back – in the 60s. It’s time to save the world again, while retrieving his mojo and having a shagging good time. ANDREW L. URBAN meets Mike Myers in Cannes, where Myers explains how Austin was born.

The first thing Mike Myers says as he walks into the room is "I couldn’t find my clothes." Of course, he is wearing clothes, but he’s referring to his other clothes, ones he was hoping to wear for the interview. Instead, he is in a grey T shirt with a NASA baseball cap, and clutches a brandy baloon filled with cola. Or so he insists. If it weren’t for this being an expensive French hotel on the Riviera (we were at the Cannes film festival together….well, at the same time), who would believe him? Oh, did I mention his jeans? He’s wearing some.

"Myers is not the airhead or the buffoon his screen personas would lead you to believe"

Myers explains that he couldn’t find his clothes simply because his luggage was unpacked by the hotel’s fiendishly attentive house staff, him being a big star and all. That’s the price of fame, he could (but doesn’t) say.

One thing, though, his teeth are fine. After seeing him as Austin Powers in The Spy Who Shagged Me, I had scribbled down the name of a highly regarded cosmetic dentist. But no need…

Jet lagged but jovial, Myers is not the airhead or the buffoon his screen personas would lead you to believe. But he’s not dull, either. Like many comedians, his brain has developed a capacity to stay in second gear, revving faster than anyone else in the room.

The Spy Who Shagged Me, as you Myers fans all know, is the sequel to International Man of Mystery, which was possibly the first screenplay in Hollywood history that was greenlighted in a single day, when New Line executives made a decision so fast that their hair parted. What you may not know is that it was basically a tribute to Myers’ dad, a Liverpudlian who migrated to Canada with a very young Mike and the rest of the family. "The house became a shrine to England," Myers recalls.

"I had two options: suicide or get funny." And so Mike Myers the comic was born – out of fear.

Myers senior was a funny chap, so much so he wouldn’t tolerate anyone in the house who wasn’t. That included his kids, and Mike recalls a dreadful day when his mum told him straight: "Mike, you’re not funny." As Myers now tells it, with the Liverpudlian twirl to the vowels, you can sense how this message propelled the young boy’s imagination. "I had two options: suicide or get funny." And so Mike Myers the comic was born – out of fear.

When his dad died in 1991, Myers was on the threshold of his first major success, with the release of Wayne’s World. "It was a strange coincidence of events," he says with a sad look. Not long after that, he heard snatches of a Burt Bacharach song and the music triggered an idea for a 60s setting. What better to use than one of the classic structures of 60s filmmaking, the spy movie. And who better than the Brits at that? Bond, James Bond…

"I am introverted, so I like to play extroverts"

"The Bond films use a classic structure of a hero’s journey, with set elements that you can replicate all the time," he says, running through the elements rapidly. As for the Austin Powers character, he says it was a natural for him. "I am introverted, so I like to play extroverts, and I like Dr Evil because I have no formal education but I like to wax lyrical on various subjects."

Dr Evil, and his miniature clone, Mini Me, are symptomatic of Myers’ comedic approach: "I like to have many personas… not like some comics who have one very good one."

He describes Austin Powers as a cosmic in joke; "but he’s very flawed, and maybe that’s why young kids like him so much."

Email this article

________________


Dr. Evil is back...and has invented a new time machine that allows him to go back to the 60's and steal Austin Powers' mojo, inadvertently leaving him shagless. The Spy Who Shagged Me stars Mike Myers as Austin Powers/Dr Evil/Fat Bastard/60s Guru, Heather Graham as Felicity Shagwell, Robert Wagner as Number 2, Gia Carides as Robin Swallows, Seth Green as Scott Evil, Kristen Johnston as Ivana Humpalot….

________________

HEATHER GRAHAM
was also in Cannes to promote the film, and she talked to
ANDREW L. URBAN:

She prepared for her role as spy Felicity Shagwell by taking shooting lessons and watching spy movies, says a deadpan Heather Graham. Coincidentally, her father was an FBI agent, although she recalls he seemed to work 9 to 5 like her friends’ dads – except he did have a gun and a bulletproof vest. (She is now estranged from her parents.)

Graham, pert in a pink slip dress with large coloured flowers on it, has taken to promoting The Spy Who Shagged Me with enthusiasm, fielding the obvious questions with her own smart humour. Like: what did she enjoy about the film? "I like sex jokes and Mike’s very funny." She says she noticed how 6 and 7 year olds (like her nephews) loved the film, "though I don’t think they know what ‘shagged’ means."

Graham, a slim sorta girl, explains deadpan how she used Mae West as a model for her Felicity Shagwell character.

Best known for her role as the roller blading Rollergirl in Boogie Nights, Graham says she was surprised to be offered this role – but delighted. She has since shot Bowfinger, with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy.


... in Boogie Nights

 ________________

See our REVIEWS

 ________________

AUSTIN POWERS

 ________________







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2019