movie was improvised. We do two takes of purely scripted, and then we do a couple of takes that are just. “Let’s see how it goes".’

Despite the clever originality of much of Austin Powers, Wayne's World and the underrated 50, I Married An Axe Murderer. Myers has never made any bones about his eclectic comic influences. many of whom are household names of British comedy. ‘l'm a police composite of every comedian I’ve ever liked,‘ he admits. ‘Peter Sellers. Alec Guinness, Dan Aykroyd. John Belushi. Woody Allen, Monty Python, the Goodies. the show Some Mother’s Do 'Ave ’Em, On The Buses, the Carry On films . . .

‘Canada’s weird, we get television and movies from around the world, and it‘s a really great and odd experience. So I like characters and how they speak. And the clash of cultures. I guess that’s part of being Canadian, that there so many cultures. I think, as a Canadian, you’re just bemused most of the time we’re an observer nation.’

Given the comic sophistication of much of

Austin Powers" affectionately parodic humour. it‘s slightly disappointing that some audiences respond more to the Fat Bastard character’s crude. scatological toilet humour. Myers. however. is unrepentant. seeing no contra- diction between these two different ways of getting laughs. Indeed. he cites his favourite British comedy team to make his point.

‘For me. it's whatever makes you laugh. I always remember that in Monty Python. you'd have ‘The All England Proust-Summarising Competition‘ followed by ‘The Fish-Slapping Contest‘. And in The Meaning Othfe. you had all that philosophical stuff followed by Mr Creosote vomiting all over the restaurant. It‘s just different types ofjokes. So, for me. it‘s all the same. There were always jokes in the Carry On films that had that kind of cheekiness, that seaside postcard stuff. And they always made me laugh. So if it‘s a guilty pleasure. then so be it; but it‘s a pleasure nonetheless.‘

Yet for all his outrageous lavatorial humour and smutty sexual innuendoes. Myers does have a serious side. one that revealed


itself in his moving portrayal of charismatic but doomed club owner Steve Rubell in Studio 54. More recently. he played a drug addict in an Irish film called Pete ’s Meteor. Even so. he denies that he is one of those comedians who is desperate to be taken seriously. On the contrary. it‘s more a case of serendipity.

‘I never have any plan. People say. “Were you looking for a dramatic role?“ Well. no. the script for Studio 54 came, I looked at the tape of Steve Rubell and I thought. "I could play him. I look like him. there’s a Steve Rubell in me”. And four weeks later we were shooting. Then this movie called Pete 's Meteor came up. I read the script. I thought it was interesting. and I got to spend a couple of weeks in Ireland with Brenda Fricker and Alfred Molina. But it wasn‘t like I sent out an All Points Bulletin saying, “Get me a dramatic role, now!" It doesn’t work that way. It’s all about timing and stuff.‘

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me goes on general release on Fri 30 Jul.

24 Jun—8 Jul 1999 THE LIST?