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AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER

Mission Briefing
Although the filmmakers never envisioned the Austin Powers franchise as a trilogy, after the success of the first two films (Austin Powers International Man of Mystery in 1997 and Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999), fan enthusiasm demanded they come up with a third installment of the series.

"I was blown away when the first two films found the audience they did," says creator, writer, producer and actor Mike Myers. "The only reason we decided to do a third one was to honor the fact that people followed us through one and two. We wrote it from a backwards approach and explained the origins of the worlds of Austin and Dr. Evil. It was strangely easy to connect all the stories. It was screenwriting meets Mad Libs."

Myers was not interested in making a third film just for the sake of making another Austin Powers movie. He was insistent that the premise be fresh and interesting enough to stand on its own. Once he had developed a concrete concept, he and co-writer Michael McCullers began writing a first draft in March of 2001.

"Mike always said he wouldn't do another movie unless he had a really good idea," notes producer John Lyons, who also produced Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me. "He is committed to the material and believes he has a contract with the audience. He feels the audience comes with expectations and that it would be cynical to believe they'll see the movie simply because they liked the first two films. All of us want people to feel this one is bigger, better and funnier than the last two.

"That was the real challenge," Lyons continues. "Upping the stakes and still remaining true to the loose, easy sensibility of the first two films. Mike has the ability to seize the moment and be silly and celebratory; he knows how to take a grab bag of pop culture moments and funnel them down to what is essential and funny. The story feels grounded in whatever era he writes about, but it's not nostalgic, his ideas are completely contemporary and cutting edge."

"The first movie was incredibly charming and the second one was wall to wall comedy," says co-producer Gregg Taylor. "In this third movie we've tried to achieve both; it's comedy that's extremely heartfelt."

"The franchise works because it's so unusual," says director and series veteran Jay Roach. "It's so bizarre and weird, it took people by surprise at first. On top of that, Austin's character is completely infectious. We asked the audience to assume with us that Austin has always been this happy person and that whatever he does, he will always come out of any dilemma up and affirmed by his experience even it's the biggest disaster ever. Austin Powers is the Bugs Bunny of spy movies.

"It just has a certain spirit," Roach says. "We tried to get all the other characters to take on that same assumption and cheer for Austin. Everywhere he goes, women want him and men are intimidated by him. We say, ‘Hey, this is the mythology. Go with it!' even if it is an acquired taste. But we didn't want there to be any required reading for this third film; each one was designed to stand on its own.

"How the films got into the mainstream does mystify me a little," the director admits. "We just never imagined people going around repeating ca

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