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DIGGING FOR 'GOLDMEMBER' MIKE MYERS AND FRIENDS FIND COMEDIC INSPIRATION TO THE THIRD 'POWERS'.

Byline: Glenn Whipp Film Writer

BEFORE WE TALK about ``Austin Powers in Goldmember,'' the third and unquestionably the best entry in this shagadelic series, let's get one thing out of the way. Forget the hemming and hawing - if the public wants it, there will be a fourth movie. And the reason is simple: Mike Myers can't let the characters go.

``He really loves them,'' says Jay Roach, director of the three ``Austin Powers'' movies. ``I don't think he's ready to say goodbye to Austin or Dr. Evil or anyone else in the movie for that matter. Actually, it's hard for all of us to let these characters go. We'll go off and do other things, but I think there will always be an 'Austin Powers' reunion because we always find new things to add to the series.''

The new things that were added with ``Goldmember'' - the great Michael Caine playing Austin's absentee father, singer Beyonce Knowles updating blaxploitation star Pam Grier and a new villain played by Myers, Goldmember - have given the series new life. It's rare that the third movie in a franchise is also its best (nobody's singing the praises of ``Beverly Hills Cop 3'' or ``Jurassic Park III,'' are they?), so what Myers and company have done with ``Goldmember'' is nothing short of a small cinematic miracle.

How did they do it? Put it on Myers' bad experience with the disappointing ``Wayne's World 2'' and his determination never to do another sequel unless he liked the material. Myers and Roach, longtime friends before they started working together, met early last year to spitball ideas for a possible third ``Austin Powers'' movie. At the time, Myers was the more eager of the two.

``I don't like sequels because they're usually made for the wrong reasons,'' says Roach, who nevertheless is preparing a follow-up to his hit ``Meet the Parents.''

``We knew we didn't have to do another 'Austin Powers' movie for money because we could make plenty of money doing other films,'' Roach, 45, continues. ``The studio was pressuring us, offering us a lot of money, but did we have any good ideas? So we met, and after Mike reeled off like 12 amazingly fun things, I knew we'd be coming back.''

The two, working with Myers collaborator Michael McCullers, came up with a theme: ultimates and origins. The idea being they'd give the audience everything they expected (the ultimate Dr. Evil lair, the ultimate Mini Me pratfall, etc.), while weaving in a back story about the characters' beginnings. That approach makes ``Goldmember'' the most character-based movie in the series while maintaining the infantile humor and physical comedy that have also been (for good and bad) a hallmark of the movies.

Myers declined to be interviewed for this story; in fact, he's not talking to any print publication outside of one national magazine. The reasons are twofold: The 39-year-old Canadian-born comedian is coming off a year where he was sued by Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment for pulling out of ``Dieter,'' a movie based on one of Myers' popular ``Saturday Night Live'' characters. Countersuits and bizarre allegations followed, and undoubtedly Myers doesn't want to talk about any of it.

But then, the press-shy Myers has never been thrilled about opening up anyway. Those who know him describe him as an odd hybrid - outrageous in his films but almost pathologically reserved when it comes to his private time.

``It's ironic because Mike is about the most frighteningly normal person you'd meet, but he sure puts the outrageousness out there,'' says actress Mindy Sterling, who plays Dr. Evil's cohort Frau in the series. ``He doesn't like to be touched, but he likes potty humor. There's something about him where you want to hug him and protect him, but you don't because - well - you can't touch him.''

So while Myers' co-stars laugh about his peculiarities (original ``Austin'' girl Elizabeth Hurley, aware of the touching thing, was known to slap him on the behind to spark a reaction) and toast his generosity and ability to make them laugh, his directors call him ``difficult'' and ``quirky'' (but not necessarily in a good way).

Roach, who has worked with Myers three times, acknowledges the reputation while maintaining that being ``difficult'' comes with some advantages.

``He's never difficult for his own benefit,'' Roach says. ``If he ever gets demanding about something, it's to be better. It's like, 'Why wouldn't someone want to spend the money,' or 'Why wouldn't someone want to eliminate these distractions?' People get branded a certain way because others misunderstand what motivates them. And Mike is motivated entirely by working hard to give the audience what they want.''

And since ``Goldmember'' is even more of a crowd-pleaser than the last installment, ``The Spy Who Shagged Me'' (which grossed over $200 meeeelion, it's natural to assume the audience is going to want another go-around. While series regular Michael York (who plays the dapper Basil Exposition) wonders how Myers could possibly top this one, Roach says they already have a good dozen ideas.

And while Roach won't divulge anything from the top-secret dossiers, Sterling offers one possibility.

``I think we'll be exploring the domestic life, sort of an 'Osbourne' kind of thing,'' Sterling says. ``What would it be like to have breakfast with the Evil family? How does he keep that head so shiny? Where might he and Frau get it on? That sort of 'Yeah, baby!' thing.''

More chunks of 'Austin Powers': Missing scenes eventually will be regurgitated

Seth Green, aka Scott Evil, says the art of making the ``Austin Powers'' movies is defined not by what you put in but what you take out. And boy did they take a lot out.

The 90-minute movie originally ran more than two and a half hours. Forty minutes of that surplus will make it on the ``Goldmember'' DVD when it arrives in stores around the holidays.

``There's usually another hour of great stuff and it's always frustrating,'' says Jay Roach, who has directed all three ``Powers'' movies. ``At one time I said, 'Why don't we cut the movie in half, release the first one now as a sequel and then the rest of it later. Wouldn't New Line make a fortune?' ''

Roach wasn't serious about the idea, though, so the studio (and fans) will have to console themselves with the abundance of outtakes. Among the scenes you'll eventually see:

An operatic vomit scene following a character's grisly death.

``It was huge; it took days to do,'' says Mindy Sterling, the Groundlings theater veteran who plays Frau. ``Mike loved it, but test audiences thought it was disgusting. Hey, but Fat Bastard they can handle. Hel-lo! I just don't understand.''

``It's the 'Fantasia' of vomit scenes,'' Roach says. ``It tops 'Monty Python's The Meaning of Life'' and ``Stand By Me.'' There are people vomiting off of upper decks. It's perfect symmetry. It's done to opera music. It's horrible beauty, but the problem was that the audience was getting physiologically sick.

``Besides,'' Roach adds, ``how would all that vomit play when they show the movie on an airplane?''

Austin's reunion with former flames Elizabeth Hurley and Heather Graham.

Says Roach: ``We thought the audience would want a scene with Heather and Elizabeth. But Austin got along so well with Beyonce (Knowles) that it seemed a better idea to invest the screen time in their relationship without trying to pretend that Austin had a lot of baggage left over from other loves.''

After Dr. Evil is captured, his underlings pack up the lair.

``While we're putting stuff in moving boxes, there's a Realtor showing the lair to another evil mastermind,'' Green says. ``The Realtor is saying, 'We'll lose the sconces and the lasers. Oh, and there's a lovely detention cell in the basement that I know you could do wonders with.''

While Austin is knighted, a corgi does unspeakable things to Buckingham Palace.

``I didn't want to jeopardize anyone's chance at an audience with the Queen,'' Roach jokes.

- G.W.

New '(Gold)members'

GOLDMEMBER (Mike Myers): The series' latest villain is a Dutch hedonist who became obsessed with gold after losing his privates in an unfortunate smelting accident. Runs a thriving roller disco in 1975, where Austin first meets him.

NIGEL POWERS (Michael Caine): Austin's father is described by director Jay Roach as ``Dean Martin meets Engelbert Humperdinck with a little Tom Jones and Sean Connery thrown in.'' Even more of a man of mystery than his famous son, Nigel also has an irrational hatred of the Dutch, making him a natural enemy for Goldmember.

FOXXY CLEOPATRA (Beyonce Knowles): The last woman Austin dated before being cryogenically frozen in 1967. When Austin goes back in time to 1975, the two re-team, but not before Foxxy lays into her former partner. ``Eight years and no phone call! Nobody stands up Foxxy Cleopatra!''

NUMBER THREE aka ``THE MOLE'' (Fred Savage): Number Two's assistant is actually a mole who is distinguished by the huge mole on his upper lip that seems to grow with each successive screen appearance.

- G.W.

CAPTION(S):

7 photos, 2 boxes

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) third time's a charm, baby

Move over Fat Bastard - Mike Myers has a few new faces to help Austin Powers spread his mojo in `Goldmember'

(2) no caption (Austin Powers with mod females)

(3) NIGEL POWERS (Michael Caine)

(4) FOXXY CLEOPATRA (Beyonce Knowles)

(5) NUMBER THREE aka ``THE MOLE'' (Fred Savage)

(6) GREEN

(7) GRAHAM

Box:

(1) More chunks of 'Austin Powers': Missing scenes eventually will be regurgitated (see text)

(2) New '(Gold)members' (see text)
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 26, 2002
Words:1594
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