It’s exactly 20 years since the hugely quotable spoof superspy Austin Danger Powers first burst onto the big screen with the US release of his debut film International Man Of Mystery (it was released in the UK in September 1997). It’s also half a century since Austin and his nemesis Dr Evil were frozen in 1967.
Based on the frontman of Myers’ swingin’ ’60s band Ming Tea from Saturday Night Live, Austin Powers became a worldwide phenomenon and fancy dress staple, leading to two sequels and a mooted fourth movie which is yet to come to fruition.
Here’s a shagadelically groovy look at the careers of the major – and a couple of minor – players since.
Jay Roach (Director)
A then-young and relatively unknown director, Roach went on to helm another comedy smash hit in Meet the Parents and returned for both Austin Powers sequels.
He later produced another triumphant comedy quoteathon, Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat, and the comedian’s lesser followup Brüno.
Four-time Emmy winner Roach’s last two directorial outings have been biographical dramas starring Bryan Cranston, Trumbo and All the Way (about Lyndon B. Johnson).
Mike Myers (Austin Powers/Dr Evil, writer)
Previously best known for SNL and his two Wayne’s World films, IMoM propelled then 33-year-old Canadian Myers to superstardom. As well as sequels The Spy Who Shagged Me and Goldmember, he bagged the lead role as Shrek when Nicolas Cage passed and original star Chris Farley died before he could finish recording his dialogue. Three Shrek followups sustained Myers as a huge household name but he struggled to establish himself elsewhere, as with the forgettable The Cat in the Hat and Razzie-winning The Love Guru.
A small role as a British general in Inglourious Basterds was his last notable Hollywood part. He’s reprised his roles as Wayne and Dr Evil on SNL, and published a book about Canada called, er, Canada in 2016.
Elizabeth Hurley (Vanessa Kensington)
Model and actress Hurley had played a handful of roles in film and British TV before her Hollywood break with Austin Powers, after which she enjoyed some success with bigger parts in the late ’90s with EDtv, Bedazzled and Disney’s My Favourite Martian, before fading once more from the movie limelight.
In recent years, she’s made a decent TV comeback in Gossip Girl and The Royals, as fictional British Queen Helena.
Seth Green (Scott Evil)
After his scene-stealing appearance as Dr Evil’s rebellious teenage son Scott, Green mainly scored TV success as werewolf Oz in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and as a regular voice cast member on Family Guy and a producer and writer on Robot Chicken.
Green’s other voice work includes animations Batman Beyond, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, American Dad! and the rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – as well as video games like the Mass Effect series.
Fun fact: he’s also the uncredited voice of Howard the Duck in both Guardians of the Galaxy movies! Could a spin-off be on the cards?
Will Ferrell (Mustafa)
After a small but memorable role as Dr Evil’s perennially unfortunate, fez-wearing henchman Mustafa (“You shot me!”) it goes without saying that Ferrell has become a comedy megastar with iconic roles in the likes of Anchorman, Elf, Zoolander and Step Brothers.
Away from the big screen, Ferrell launched internet comedy video site Funny Or Die with director Adam McKay, and co-produced the TV show Eastbound & Down.
Rob Lowe (Decapitated Henchman’s Friend)
In what should have been a deadpan funny but throwaway (uncredited) cameo as henchman John Smith’s friend getting a call about his death, faded ’80s superstar Lowe impressed so much he returned as the young Number Two in both sequels.
High-profile film roles after that were far and far between (Thank You For Smoking and HBO’s Behind the Candelabra) but it was on the small screen where Lowe really cemented his comeback. He won two Emmys for playing White House Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn in The West Wing and spent several years on drama series Brothers & Sisters before “literally” playing the hyper-enthusastic Chris Traeger on massive hit Parks and Recreation.