Why is Austin Powers still shagadelic after 20 years?

We had a fantastic time making it, and there was a sense every day that all of the fun molecules were getting into the film, you know?

Which films inspired Austin?

There were a lot of films—but we wanted to make sure it had the spirit of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. Believe it or not, it was a constant party, and that’s what we wanted for Austin Powers. We wanted it to be like an obscure comic book from the ’60s that we were making a film of.

So it’s not just about James Bond?

Austin Powers had a lot of antecedents aside from James Bond. Believe it or not, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was a big influence, and a film called Modesty Blaze. We weren’t parodying James Bond, we were parodying James Bond parodies.

How does it feel to still be recognized as Austin Powers?

It’s unbelievably gratifying, and I am unbelievably grateful that these movies have stayed in the culture.

Do you get recognized as Austin more than any of your other characters?

I have Fat Bastard fans, I have Goldmember fans, I have Austin Powers fans. The most rabid fans, if I’m getting particular, are Doctor Evil fans—and I do spend a certain portion of my day with my pinkie in my mouth taking photographs on people’s cameras.

What’s been your most memorable Austin Powers fan experience?

The King of Jordan was apparently in an appropriations meeting at the Pentagon, and they asked him what he’d like in terms of military. He said; “I would like 10 Abrams tanks, five S15s” and he put his pinkie to his mouth and said “and one million dollars!”

Then I got a lovely photo of the king in his full royal regalia on a horse with his pinkie in his mouth. It said; “Dear Mike, Oh, do behave!” and it was signed: The King of Jordan. That was one of the craziest echo backs I’ve ever had.