A surprising '90s superstar was the money behind the Austin Powers movies 2 weeks ago

A surprising '90s superstar was the money behind the Austin Powers movies

The first Austin Powers movie first arrived in cinemas 25 years ago this week.

Across the five years when the three Austin Powers were released, they made a combined $676 million at the box office, and the cultural impact that the character has can't be understated. Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg made cameos! Madonna sang one of the theme songs! So did Beyonce!

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Of course, it all had to start somewhere, and depending on who you ask, the characters within the movies may or may not have come from different places.

Mike Myers has stated that the character of Austin Powers came from listening to Burt Bacharach (who also appears in one of the movies) and asked himself "Where have all of the swingers gone?", and he was also a tribute to his late father, telling The Hollywood Reporter the following:

"After my dad died in 1991, I was taking stock of his influence on me as a person and his influence on me with comedy in general. So Austin Powers was a tribute to my father, who [introduced me to] James Bond, Peter Sellers, the Beatles, The Goodies, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore."

As for Powers' arch-nemesis Dr. Evil, according to Dana Carvey, the co-star of Wayne's World with Myers, some of the affections of that character were... uhm... borrowed:

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Regardless of the origins, Myers wrote the script for Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery, which would be directed by Jay Roach (who went on to direct Meet The Parents and Bombshell).

This would be Myers' first movie project since Wayne's World 2, so Hollywood was obviously very interested. Eventually, it would be produced by Moving Pictures, which featured a huge 90s star as one of its founding members: Demi Moore.

Yep, in one of those weird coincidences, Demi Moore's very limited producer roles - she's only got nine credits on her IMDb page to date - a full third of those make up the Austin Powers trilogy.

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With the money in place, next came casting. Myers had no intention of playing multiple roles himself, and initially offered the role of Dr. Evil to none other than Jim Carrey, who was fully primed to take it on but had to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts with Liar Liar.

Cheers star Rhea Perlman was offered the role of Frau Frabissina, but also had to turn it down due to scheduling difficulties, while Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, Grown Ups) turned down the role of Scott Evil.

Once the movie was officially cast, they got to filming Myers' script... only for up to 40% of the movie to end up being improvised. The finished product arrived in cinemas on 2 May 1997, with the $16 million production making a decent $68 million worldwide. It was enough to greenlight a sequel that would get double the budget... and make FIVE TIMES the amount the first movie did.

And perhaps best of all, it influenced Bond, with Daniel Craig revealing the reason his 007 movies were so serious:

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"We had to destroy the myth because Mike Myers fucked us."

At the time of writing, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is available to rent on Google Play and Sky Store, while both The Spy Who Shagged Me and Goldmember are available to stream on Netflix.

Clips via MovieClips & The Howard Stern Show