I said in a recent post, that I wanted to get back to fun on this site, and while you may argue that this post is stupid, or needless, I certainly hope you will find it fun!
I loved the Austin Powers movies, all three of them, but it’s been a long time since the last one Austin Powers in Goldmember came out 15 years ago, but every year or two there is some renewed discussion about Austin Powers 4, and I’m not opposed, but I think my idea for how it should be done is probably far from the idea that has been getting kicked around.
Austin Powers is essentially a send up of James Bond, you could argue that it’s spy movies in general, but really it’s Bond. Bond however, is a 55 year old movie franchise, with a wide array of styles, and as importantly a rotating cast of Bonds.
My suggestion is this, if we actually get an Austin Powers 4, Austin Powers is played by someone other than Mike Myers. This isn’t a knock on Myers, I think he’s very funny, and I’d suggest he stay on as any number of other characters (Dr. Evil, Goldmember or any new characters he comes up with). The character of Powers should be recast, the way Bond has, and not necessarily try to fulfill Myers’ shoes, but instead recreate the character. Bond is always suave, but there have been a lot of other differences, with Powers, lets keep that unfounded cockiness, but change the rest of the character.
If you’re waiting, I have a suggestion of who I think would be great to take the role: Richard Ayoade.
If you’re not familiar with Ayoade, he was on both versions of The IT Crowd and in The Watch (which I think was underrated) as well as being on many British panel shows. He’s able to perfectly capture the ineptitude and confidence needed for Austin Powers, but in a very different way than Myers.
If you cast Ayoade, or any other comedic actor able to capture the character correctly, it also gives you the opportunity to tonally shift the overall film, which I think could greatly improve the chances of success in the current film market. Two things have changed since Goldmember, first we have Daniel Craig, we went from the semi-seriousness of Pierce Brosnan to the downright grittiness of Daniel Craig. Now Myers’ Powers was mostly a parody of the later Sean Connery period, Roger Moore, and George Lazenby, and it would be good to start to parody the latter-day Bonds either Brosnan or Craig, and so you could change the tone to parody the less cartoon-y Bonds.
The second thing that has changed since 2002, is comedy. In the last fifteen years, we’ve seen the return of the R rated comedy, with The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and The Hangover, and Bridesmaids, and we’ve largely moved away from live-studio audience sitcoms. I think this has indicated that we don’t need the winks to the audience, we can have comedies that are shot more seriously, and an Austin Powers movie that doesn’t wink at the audience, but still has a lot of the absurdity of the originals, would be the parody equivalent of going from the campy Bonds of yesteryear, to the dark gritty Bond of now.
This is just my opinion of what should happen, with a movie that seems to be stuck in development hell, that honestly I’m not sure anyone is demanding, but if it were to get done, I think this is the best way. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.