Long before Mike Myers annoyed us with his inability to mature his comedy or be innovative, there was the pop culture sensation that was Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Released twenty years ago, the comedic satire of suave spy movies was initially not a huge hit. When released on home video, well. That’s where things really got out of hand.
Everyone and their literal Dad was yelling, “Do I make you horny, baby” in their worst Austin Powers accent. People were using air quotes for “everything” and asking for “ONE MILLION DOLLARS.” In fact, some people still do all of these things, proving the cultural phenomenon this movie really was.
Let’s get into some facts, shall we?
1. Many different people involved with the movie think that they know the origin of Myer’s character. For instance, Michael Caine thought it was his character from 1965 movie The Ipcress File. Elizabeth Hurley thought that chat show host of the 60s Austin Dee was the inspiration. Then there is Adam Adamant Lives!, a British television show about a man frozen in 1870 by a villain and then unfrozen in 1966 to fight the same villain.
2. In reality, Myers has said that the character of Austin Powers was a tribute to his father and the influence he had on his life. Myers’ father introduced him to James Bond, Dudley Moore, The Beatles, and other British pop culture icons that clearly show through in the Austin Powers flicks.
3. Lorne Michaels, the boss of Saturday Night Live obviously, informed the mannerisms of Dr. Evil. Dana Carvey said on Howard Stern in 1997 that Myers stole the Michael impression from him and used it for villain Dr. Evil in the movie.
“Well yeah, I did do [the impression of Michaels first]. When I first got on SNL, no one I knew was doing it. I first saw him on Wednesday night picking the show, and it would get kinda tense putting the cards on the board, and my first hook into Lorne was him saying, ‘Um, I still have no fucking first act’. Now he would bite his nails and I just did this” - Lorne puts his pinky to his mouth, a la Dr Evil - “and when I saw Mike do it and I did kind of go, ahh, look… it’s a really funny affectation, because it’s so specific.” - Via
4. Speaking of Dr. Evil, originally Jim Carrey was going to portray Austin’s nemesis. He decided to make the movie Liar, Liar instead.
5. Colin Quinn, fellow SNL alum, was asked to play Scott Evil, a role that would eventually go to Seth Green. Quinn has publicly stated that he regrets passing on the part to finish up a screenplay called Midnight Mass.
6. Current James Bond Daniel Craig has publicly said that the Austin Powers movies ruined the iconic spy franchise.
7. The five stages that Powers goes through as he defrosts are as follows:
- Laser Cutting
- Warm Liquid Goo Phase
8. The nude blocking scene with Austin and Vanessa took 25 takes to get everything right, as they had to get one continuous shot. It was filmed in the Scientology Celebrity Centre in L.A. and actors were naked with red tape over their no-no zones.
9. Due to the nude blocking scene, language, mild violence, and language, the original cut of the movie was rated R.
10. There was an MTV special before the movie’s opening. Called Austin Powers’ Electric Pussycat Swingers Club, the 45 minute special had clips from the movie and tons of cameos. Rosie O’Donnell, Julianna Margulies, and Kurt Loder were some of the familiar faces credited as The Swingers Club.