1. The idea for the character of Austin Powers came to Mike Myers one night while driving home from ice hockey practice. Hearing the song "The Look of Love" by Burt Bacharach on his car radio, he wondered "Where have all the swingers gone?" and conceived the character who would become Austin Powers.
2. But Myers didn't create Austin Powers for a potential film, rather he developed the character as part of the ensemble faux 1960s rock band Ming Tea that Myers started in the early 1990s. The members all adopted 1960s personas and performed under pseudonyms. Along with Myers as Austin Powers on lead vocals & guitar, Ming Tea featured Susanna Hoffs (as Gillian Shagwell, rhythm guitar and backing vocals), Matthew Sweet (as Sid Belvedere, bass and backing vocals), Stuart Johnson (as Manny Stixman, drums and backing vocals), and Christopher Ward (as Trevor Aigburth, lead guitar and backing vocals).
Ming Tea would, of course, go on to perform the track BBC in Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery.
3. The first film came about because Myers was driving his then-wife Robin Ruzan crazy by staying in character as Austin Powers and asking her things like "Do I make you horny?" all the time, so she encouraged him to write a script based on the character to keep him occupied.
4. Though Myers is Canadian by birth, his parents are natives of Liverpool, England, and Myers holds dual nationality. Much of the humour Myers wrote into his script is influenced by Myers's British heritage, particularly the Carry On films and the comedic works of Benny Hill and Peter Sellers, the latter of whom Myers is a self-confessed fan (his favorite films being the Bond spoof Casino Royale and The Party).
As Myers himself has said,
"Austin Powers is everything I watched [on TV in the late sixties]. My parents were from Liverpool, and there's no one more English than an Englishman who no longer lives there. Every molecule of British culture that came across the Atlantic was tasted and worshipped."
5. Obviously, the James Bond series was a huge influence to Myers. And although Austin Powers does frequently spoof 007 it was all meant with love. Myers said of Bond,
"I can't even tell you how huge it was in our house ... That's really why I wanted to do Austin Powers. Austin Powers is out of pure love for James Bond"A few of the Bond references to be seen in Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery include...
- Dr. No: the shower sequence during the unfreeze sequence; Austin's and Vanessa's change of clothing and dinner with Dr. Evil; Dr. Evil's outfit and general surroundings during the climax; Vanessa's bikini identical to Honey Rider's.
- From Russia with Love: modeling the Irish assassin on both Red Grant and the leprechaun character from the Lucky Charms commercials; Frau Farbissina partly modeled on Rosa Klebb.
- Goldfinger: Random Task's name and role modeled on Oddjob; the dialogue "do you expect them to pay? - No, I expect them to die" based on "Do you expect me to talk? - No, I expect you to die"; Random Task/Odd Job chopping off the head of a statue; the final fight between Austin and Random Task against a wall modeled on fight between Bond and Odd Job against a wall inside Fort Knox; Powers stating to Random Task "Who throws a shoe, honestly?" (in Goldfinger, Oddjob kills by throwing his hat); the character Alotta Fagina modeled after the name of Auric Goldfinger's companion and partner in crime, Pussy Galore.
- Thunderball: Dr. Evil's headquarters, where he kills people around the table; the plot about stealing nuclear arms and holding the world to ransom; conversation about a swimming pool with sharks; Austin playing Black Jack with No 2.; No. 2 modeled on Emilio Largo; both Austin and Bond fighting with a bad-guy in drag—though the audience does not know that it is the bad-guy in drag until the fighting begins.
6. The idea of the hero being frozen in time and awoken at a later date to fight their nemesis comes from another 1960s British series, the BBC show Adam Adamant Lives!. In that, an Edwardian hero is frozen by his arch-enemy The Face and is revived in 1960s London.
7. Another important inspiration for Austin Powers came from Myers recollections of former Radio Caroline DJ Simon Dee who hosted the first real TV chat show in the United Kingdom in 1967. Each episode ended with his driving off in a sports car with a young blonde in the passenger seat.
8. Jim Carrey was approached to play Dr. Evil, as Myers initial plan was not to play multiple characters in the series. Carrey was interested in the part, but had to turn the role down due to scheduling conflicts with Liar Liar.
Myers, of course, went on to play the part himself. His friend, and Wayne's World co-star, Dana Carvey felt that Myers copied Carvey's impression of Lorne Michaels for the Dr. Evil character.
9. Although he did actually complete a full script, according to Myers' estimation, "about 30 to 40 percent" of the first movie ended up being improvised. Some examples of these non-scripted scenes include Mindy Sterling's lines about the Lucky Charms commercials and the entire shushing scene.
10. For more than a decade Myers has discussed his return to the character and a fourth Austin Powers film, going so far in 2007 as saying
"There is a fully conceived idea for a fourth [film] and I can just say that it's from Dr. Evil's point of view. So if you balanced how much of it was Austin with Dr. Evil, it's more about Dr. Evil than Austin."Myers went on to state that he'd likely start work on it after he completed his next picture, The Love Guru, which became a box office bomb and possibly the reason why Austin Powers 4 has failed to materialise.
But, even as recently as August 2016, Myers stated the film was still in the pipeline.
"Everything is being negotiated and worked out and all that stuff"Groovy baby!
Follow Geek Dave on Twitter