Austin Powers is a creation of comedian Mike Myers
and the hero of the three Austin Powers films. He is a swingin' '60s send-up of Ian Fleming
's James Bond character and is recognized by his blue crushed-velvet suit, frilly lace cravat, Buddy Holly-rimmed glasses and poor dental hygiene.
He first appears in the 1997 comedy Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
as a fashion photographer being chased by clamoring women through the streets of London (a la The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night
). His ruse as a photographer is a front to hide his employment as a secret agent for England's Ministry of Defense. He reports to Basil Exposition (portrayed by Michael York
), who claims Powers is, "irresistible to women, deadly to his enemies and a legend in his own time." His arch nemesis is Dr. Evil (also portrayed by Myers), whose plots to destroy the world often include an elaborate scheme to kill Austin Powers. After a failed assassination attempt against Powers at the fictional "Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swinger's Club", Dr. Evil escapes by having himself cryogenically frozen and launched into space inside a rocket ship shaped like the mascot for the Big Boy restaurant chain. Powers, in turn, has himself frozen to deal with Dr. Evil's return in 1997.
Austin is the son of secret agent Nigel Powers (portrayed by Michael Caine
), and it is revealed in Austin Powers in Goldmember
, that he is the twin brother of Dr. Evil, whose birth name is Dougie Powers. This completely condradicts the account Dr. Evil gave of his life while at a father-son group therapy session with his son, Scott, in the first Austin movie.
He was awarded the title "International Man of Mystery" while attending boarding school and later joined the Ministry of Defense, where he teamed up with Mrs. Kensington (portrayed by Mimi Rogers
). When Austin Powers is unfrozen in 1997 in order to capture Dr. Evil, he partners up with Mrs. Kensington's daughter, Vanessa (portrayed by Elizabeth Hurley
). The couple is eventually married and during their honeymoon Powers is informed that he is to be knighted by the Queen of England. In the series' second installment, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, it is discovered that Vanessa was actually a deadly fembot, designed by Dr. Evil to kill Austin, and she self-destructs. Austin mourns her loss until he realizes that he's free to resume his hedonistic lifesytle again -- which takes roughly five seconds!
He celebrates his newfound bachelorhood by parading throughout the posh hotel in his birthday suit, then working his mojo
on a string of new ladies including Felicity Shagwell (portrayed by Heather Graham
) and Foxxy Cleopatra (portrayed by Beyoncé Knowles
Mike Myers has revealed in interviews that the Austin Powers character was created because his father was a fan of British comedies featuring actors such as Peter Sellers
and Alec Guinness
and that Myers, himself, always wanted to play an English character in a comedy. He also said that one night after coming home from hockey practice, he started flirting with his wife in an English accent. His wife laughed and told him to write the routine down, so he could perform it again. It was that material that led to the first Austin Powers script.
Part of the influence for this film can be seen in an early sketch Mike Myers did for Saturday Night Live
in which several of James Bond's nemeses complain about his invulnerability and how much easier it would be to just shoot him. Myers reportedly based the Austin Powers on Michael Caine
's womanizing character Alfie from the 1966 film Alfie
. There are also elements of Michael Caine's Harry Palmer character; and there is the nod to James Coburn's Derek Flint, whose film "In Like Flint" is Austin's favorite movie.
The partnering with "Mrs. Kensington" is a direct homage to the early sixties English show "The Avengers" starring Patrick Macnee
as the bowler-wearing and brolly-carrying John Steed, initially partnered with Catherine Gale (played by Honor Blackman
, aka Pussy Galore from Goldfinger
), then later Emma Peel (played by Diana Rigg
), who made skin-tight leather catsuits the stuff of every teenage boys' dreams long before Lee Meriwether's Catwoman strutted her stuff on the Batman movie.
Austin Powers admits in the first film that only two things scare him: nuclear war and carnies, explaining the latter as, "circus folk. Nomads, you know. Smell like cabbage. Small hands."
Austin Powers is the author of the book "Swedish-made Penis Enlargers And Me: This Sort of Thing Is My Bag Baby.""