Welcome back my friends, to the one-note character that never, ever ends:
Myers is a very particular talent, a guy who likes to workshop a character for a while before he actually makes a movie. He has not made that many films, all things considered, and a few times over the course of his career, he has actually pulled the plug on things that probably could have gotten made because he didn’t feel they were ready. That happened most famously with “Sprockets,” the feature-film version of one of his SNL characters. I liked the script he co-wrote with Mike McCullers, but Myers bowed out just before it was supposed to start, killing the film in the process.
His most successful bigscreen character, of course, is the hyper-horny snaggletoothed secret agent Austin Powers, and there has been much talk about the possibility of a fourth film in that series over the last few years. For a while, there was talk of a Dr. Evil spin-off film, but I think all of those weird characters need to share the same universe. Taking one of them into a solo film just seems odd. Whatever the case, we haven’t’ seen the character since 2002’s “Goldmember.”
That’s about to change, as HitFix can now confirm that Mike Myers just closed his deal to return to the role. Yep. “Austin Powers 4” is coming, officially.
No word yet on who will be directing. I would hope Jay Roach returns as well, since I think a lot of the kick of the films is the ’60s pop aesthetic, and Roach has been a big part of that since day one. There’s also no word yet on a proposed storyline, but I will certainly start digging to see what I can come up with.
Gee, let’s see. Odds are, there will be:
- The Ministry of Defense and/or Michael York’s suave Basil Exposition character
- Time travel
- A Bond-inspired super-villain
- A sexy babe for a co-star
- Dr. Evil
- Fat Bastard
- Scatology galore.
The first Austin Powers movie was both a James Bond homage, and a marvelous goof on the sort of plush, expensive swinging mid-sixties rarely seen in the movies. In place of the usual cliches of muddy Woodstock excess, there were smart homages to Blow-Up, the Matt Helm and the Derek Flint movies, and even a Burt Bacharach cameo, all played with a knowing glance at the era’s silliness and excesses summed up with this brilliant exchange:
Vanessa Kensington: Mr. Powers, my job is to acclimatize you to the nineties. You know, a lot’s changed since 1967.
Austin Powers: No doubt, love, but as long as people are still having promiscuous sex with many anonymous partners without protection while at the same time experimenting with mind-expanding drugs in a consequence-free environment, I’ll be sound as a pound!
The sequels were all more of the same, though with the scatological humor amped up to #11. James Lileks once wrote that “If art contains s***, we should take it at its word.” And when comedies rely on it to get laughs, we should both take them at their word, and assume that the writers are totally bankrupt when it comes to new ideas.
Actually, it’s too bad the Sprockets movie never got made; who makes fun of arch Weimar-era German Expressionism? Instead of Nietzsche’s concept of Eternal Return though, I suppose we’re stuck with Austin’s, alas.