When it comes to shagadelic superspy Austin Powers, New Line has its mojo working overtime. More than a year after he goosed Hollywood with a $54 million-grossing feature debut, the International Man of Mystery is poised for a major pop-cultural assault. Here’s a peek at the studio’s plan of action for the world’s hippest swinger.
— THE SEQUEL According to his publicist, Powers creator-star-overseer Mike Myers has submitted a script for the follow-up film, and a New Line spokesman says the studio hopes to put Austin Powers II into production in November or December, with a release date tentatively set for next June. While Myers will definitely step into his velvet threads again, costar Elizabeth Hurley will not reprise her role as fetching brainiac Vanessa Kensington. ”It’s Mike’s intention to have a different female lead in each of these films, kind of like the Bond [movies],” says a studio spokesman, adding that Hurley’s absence is ”not a product of a bad relationship.” However, according to an early draft of the script, a number of other familiar faces are set to return, including Number Two (Robert Wagner), Basil Exposition (Michael York), and Scott Evil (Seth Green). (The actors have yet to finalize deals.)
As for the plot, the script has Powers matching libidos with a lusty CIA agent named Felicity Shagwell (”Shagwell by name, Shag-very-well by reputation”), who helps Powers stop Dr. Evil from — like, what else? — destroying the world. Aiding Dr. Evil is a character the villain dubs Mini-Me, which is described in a casting-services sheet as ”a miniature Dr. Evil … reminiscent of the mini Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr. Moreau. He mimics Dr. Evil’s mannerisms perfectly, including holding his tiny pinky to his tiny mouth.”
Demi Moore and her production company, Moving Pictures, will once again help produce the film, though a spokesman for the actress denies reports that Moore may also star. (”She hasn’t even read [the script],” he says.) And while Powers II is slated to be sandwiched between some box office monsters — the Star Wars prequel is due Memorial Day, and Will Smith’s Wild Wild West comes out July 4 — New Line execs are expecting big things from their randy dandy. ”We will probably do twice what we did on the first movie,” says David Imhoff, New Line’s executive vice president of licensing and merchandising.
— THE SERIES In addition to returning to the multiplexes, Powers may take on another mission: infiltrating the telly. MTV, which has a development deal with Myers, is considering a Powers-themed spring-break special next March, followed by a program tied in to the sequel. Meanwhile, New Line Television is developing an animated series about the superspy, most likely to be voiced by Myers. ”It’s not going to be a Saturday-morning cartoon,” says Bob Friedman, president of New Line Television. ”It would be more akin to a King of the Hill, which pushes the envelope in a way that’s fun.” Friedman says a number of networks have expressed interest in the show, which New Line hopes to launch next fall as a follow-up to the sequel.