In 1997, the James Bond franchise was in a bit of turmoil. After the two-movie experiment with Timothy Dalton, producers replaced him with Pierce Brosnan. His first film, Goldeneye, was a step up, but 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies was proving a point: James Bond had lost his swagger.
What was missing from the original? The gadgets? The performances? The era itself? As the James Bond franchise continued to try and find its new identity (which wouldn’t be cemented until after The Bourne Identity found it first), a refreshing visit to the classic roots of James Bond came from an unexpected place: Saturday Night Live.
With a string of successful characters in SNL, Mike Myers was a popular actor who brought his Wayne’s World character to screen twice. His next film, 1997’s Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, was a surprise smash hit that spawned two sequels and a rabid fandom. Now, twenty years after its release, many of its stars have gone on to impressive careers.
Here is Where Are They Now? Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery.
15. Elizabeth Hurley
As Vanessa Kensington, the daughter of Austin Powers’ 1960s love interest and his new pursuit in the modern day, Elizabeth Hurley leapt from British television and small parts in American film to a genuine movie star. Her first role after Austin Powers was a dramatic turn in Permanent Midnight, which also displayed comedian Ben Stiller’s dramatic skills.
She was only able to return for a cameo in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999 because it was a busy year for her. She starred in two comedy films, EdTV and My Favorite Martian. She made a trend of moving back and forth between drama and comedy, going from The Weight of Water to Bedazzled to Method.
Recently she has found success on television. She did a season-long arc on Gossip Girl and a recurring part on the short-lived The Tomorrow People. However, her biggest success came when E! Entertainment Television got into the scripted drama game with The Royals, in which Hurley plays the Queen of a fictitious monarchy.
14. Will Ferrell
Comedian Will Ferrell was two years into his stint on Saturday Night Live when he played the role of villain Mustafa in Austin Powers. In the time between the first film and his return in the second, Ferrell brought one of his SNL characters to life in the film A Night at the Roxbury.
Though he had a few supporting appearances after that in comedies like Dick, Zoolander, and the other SNL movie adaptations Superstar and The Ladies’ Man, this star was quickly on the rise.
His big breakthrough came with Old School, a raunchy comedy from The Hangover director Todd Phillips. Then came a flood of comedy classics: Talladega Nights, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Blades of Glory.
He co-starred in the cult comedy Step Brothers and the big-screen adaptation of the TV series Land of the Lost. He never stopped doing great television, appearing on The Office, Eastbound and Down, and the IFC parody The Spoils of Babylon. Recently, he has starred with Mark Walhberg in The Other Guys and Daddy’s Home.
13. Tom Arnold
It might seem strange for a cameo from Tom Arnold to be a positive thing, but in 1997, Arnold had a big presence. In 1994, he acted alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies, which was an enormous hit, and followed it up with the Chris Columbus dramedy Nine Months.
In the same year as Austin Powers, Arnold appeared in the titular role in McHale’s Navy, but then his popular decline began. His TV series The Tom Show didn’t even last a single season, and he found himself playing fictional versions of himself in Welcome to Hollywood and L.A. Doctors. He occasionally appeared in a compelling indie drama like Animal Factory, but often it was appearances on Baywatch and Steven Seagal movies like Exit Wounds.
From Cradle 2 the Grave to Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, no one could predict what Arnold might appear in next. In recent years, television has been more kind, providing him regular roles on Sin City Saints, NCIS: New Orleans, and FX’s Sons of Anarchy.
12. Mimi Rogers
Given her roles in Desperate Hours, The Player, and The Rapture, it’s possible that Mimi Rogers was the biggest name in the cast of Austin Powers. The year after, she appeared in the big-budget adaptation of the TV show Lost in Space, then joined the cast of The X-Files for a season.
In the new millennium, she appeared on The Geena Davis Show and in the popular horror film Ginger Snaps. She moved back and forth between comedies such as Seeing Other People and Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd and dramas like Door in the Floor.
After a short run on FX’s high concept series Wilfred, she also did recurring runs on Two and a Half Men and NCIS. Towards the end of the series run, Rogers appeared in an episode of Mad Men.
11. Joe Son
The South Korea-born Joe Son’s acting career began with bit parts in movies and TV series, eventually appearing in martial arts franchises like Shootfighter and Bloodfist. In the same year he appeared in Bloodfist V: Human Target and Bad Blood, he also made his official debut in Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Because of his size and intimidating presence, he was chosen to play Random Task in Austin Powers, a villainous enforcer character that is a parody of the character Oddjob in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.
After Random Task’s defeat in the closing moments of Austin Powers, the character did not return to the series, and Son did not return to filmmaking again. He did, however, return to mixed martial arts, competing in PRIDE Fighting Championships.
Everything changed in 2008, though, when Son spent time in prison for vandalism and breaking parole. In providing DNA for his plea agreement, he ended up testing positive for a horrible gang rape and imprisonment case. He was found guilty and is serving life in prison in California.
10. Charles Napier
Charles Napier has been a staple of film and television since the late 1960s, from appearances on the original Star Trek and Mission: Impossible to cop shows like The Rockford Files and Starsky and Hutch. His penchant for playing no-nonsense officers and generals made him a no-brainer for the role of Commander Gilmour in Austin Powers.
He’s one of the few returning cast members for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, anachronistically playing the same general thirty years in the past. He made a habit of playing even more military men after that in Steel, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, and as the voice of General Hardcastle in the Superman animated series.
As a frequent supporting played in many of Jonathan Demme’s films including Silence of the Lambs, Napier popped up in Demme’s remake The Manchurian Candidate and was the voice of the Sheriff on Squidbillies. He did one last voice performance for the FX series Archer in 2011 before sadly passing away later in the year.
9. Fabiana Udenio
Fabiana Udenio’s career started out strong as the winner of Miss Teen Italy, and she pivoted from stage and pageant work to a theatrical career. She appeared in several sex comedies such as Boarding School, Harbodies 2, and Summer School before turning her attention to television.
She appeared on Full House, Cheers, and Designing Women, then did a 180 and popped up in Bride of Re-Animator before appearing as Alotta Fagina a few years later in Austin Powers. She had a small but pivotal role in the sci-fi TV series Babylon 5, and showed up in the TV versions of Mortal Kombat: Conquest and The Magnificent Seven.
She had a role in Peter Benchley’s TV series Amazon, and worked on many series through the 2000s, including FreakyLinks, Zoey 101, and CSI: Miami.
8. Robert Wagner
Robert Wagner was appearing in studio films dating all the way back to the early 1950s, so he was a veteran performer long before he showed up as the classy and dastardly assistant to Dr. Evil called Number Two. His career never slowed, and after appearing in Austin Powers, he showed up in Wild Things and Overdrive.
He returned as Number Two in The Spy Who Shagged Me and Austin Powers in Goldmember, and in between, he appeared in Crazy in Alabama and Play It to the Bone. He got to play Kelly Ripa’s father Jack Fairfield in the TV series Hope & Faith, then turned to a recurring role on Two and a Half Men in 2007.
Most recently, Wagner can be seen as Anthony’s father, Anthony Sr., on NCIS. He is also slated to have a role in What Happened To Monday?, a science fiction thriller coming to Netflix starring Noomi Rapace in seven different roles.
7. Susanna Hoffs
Long before she appeared as a member of the psychedelic band Ming Tea in Austin Powers, Susanna Hoffs was a member of a much more famous musical group. As the co-founder of the band The Bangles, Hoffs wrote and performed some of the most famous songs of the 1980s, including “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Manic Monday”.
Hoffs had some previous on-screen experience, acting in The Allnighter under the direction of her mother Tamar Simon Hoffs. However, the reason for her appearance in Austin Powers was because, in 1993, Hoffs married director Jay Roach, who went on to cast her in the role in his film.
She popped up in both sequels, but she hasn’t done another acting performance since. However, she did reteam with her Ming Tea bandmate Matthew Sweet to form Sid ‘n Susie in 2006.
6. Michael York
Michael York is as accomplished and classy a British actor as you could get, so it’s a particular delight to see him playing the only stuffy member of a liberated cast of characters as Basil Exposition in Austin Powers.
As varied as he is talented, York showed up in the TV shows Sliders and Dead Man’s Gun and the biopic 54 (also starring Mike Myers).
He appeared as Basil in both of the sequels, one of only a small handful of actors to do so. His career never took the expected turn, going from voice work in Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year to The Omega Code to The Haunting of Hell House.
He had a memorable guest run on Gilmore Girls, and an even more memorable one playing a version of himself in the Larry David series Curb Your Enthusiasm.
5. Mindy Sterling
Of all the comedic discoveries of the original Austin Powers, the most surprising one was the manic energy and downright lunacy of Mindy Sterling as Frau Farbissina. She was an instant hit in the film, returning for the sequels and becoming entangled in Dr. Evil’s complicated family mythology.
Meanwhile, Sterling was racking up great supporting roles in movies like Idle Hands and Drop Dead Gorgeous and TV series like Manhattan, AZ. She also became an accomplished voice performer, appearing in everything from children’s animated series like Invader Zim, to video games like Everquest II, to popular movie franchises like Ice Age: The Meltdown.
She has done numerous characters on Robot Chicken (created by her Austin Powers co-star Seth Green) and a recurring role on the ABC series Desperate Housewives. She worked on the iconic The Legend of Korra and the FX comedy Legit, and can be seen now on Alan Tudyk’s fan-centric comedy series Con Man and the hit show Black-ish.
4. Clint Howard
Clint Howard’s career has spanned nearly fifty-five years, going from child performances on the original Star Trek to teenage roles on TV’s The Cowboys to adult acting roles in most of the films from his brother, director Ron Howard.
It was his role in NASA Mission Control in his brother’s film Apollo 13 that led to his appearance as the Radar Operator in Austin Powers.
Howard’s acting skills and uniqueness always suited him for both horror and comedy, which he jumped back and forth in with The Dentist 2 and The Waterboy. He is one of the few actors who returned for the entire Austin Powers trilogy.
He was also one of only three actors to appear in both the original series of Star Trek, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Enterprise, playing different characters in each one.
He worked with Rob Zombie on Halloween and Lords of Salem, and popped up in the relaunch of his brother’s series Arrested Development.
3. Carrie Fisher
Though the scene is brief and many people don’t remember it because her performance was uncredited, the appearance of Carrie Fisher as the therapist trying to help Dr. Evil and his son Scott find an emotional connection is one of the hilarious unsung sequences of the film. Her career is well-known due to the Star Wars series, but she was always a skilled comedic performer.
In the 1980s, she appeared in two iconic comedies– The Blues Brothers and The Burbs– and after her appearance in Austin Powers, she had a very funny cameo on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. She lampooned her persona in Scream 3 and turned in a humorous (if disturbing) cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
Her comedic timing was as good as ever in recent years when she did voice work on Family Guy and played Rob Delaney’s mother on the Amazon series Catastrophe. Her return as Princess Leia was cut short by her untimely death in late 2016, but she will be seen again in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
2. Seth Green
Though only 23 when he appeared as Scott Evil in Austin Powers, Seth Green already had an impressive career behind him that included appearances in The Wonder Years, The X-Files, and the TV movie adaptation of Stephen King’s It.
Green was a fan favorite of the original film, and along with Mike Myers and a small handful of others, returned for every film in the series.
H was on the rise, with appearances in bigger theatrical films like Enemy of the State and high-concept comedies like Can’t Hardly Wait and Idle Hands. He was a semi-regular presence as Oz the werewolf on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and he played himself in multiple episodes of Entourage.
Known lately for his voice performance and animation producing work, Green is a main cast member on both Family Guy and Robot Chicken.
He also appeared on Broad City and Phineas and Ferb, and voiced a cameo by Marvel character Howard the Duck at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy.
1. Mike Myers
Like many of the greatest performers to come out of Saturday Night Live, Mike Myers is best when he has a larger than life persona to fill, and the lead character in Austin Powers fits the bill perfectly. Myers wrote and produced all three films in the series, and there are rumors of a fourth film in the works.
After Austin Powers, Myers stretched his skillset performing in the dramatic biopic 54 and the odd crime drama Pete’s Meteor. In between entries of the Austin Powers series, Myers appeared in director Jay Roach’s other film Mystery, Alaska, but he found an iconic animated role in Shrek, the lovable, curmudgeonly Ogre.
The character proved popular through several sequels, but Myers had trouble finding more live action success, floundering in The Cat in the Hat and The Love Guru.
He had an inspired turn in Inglourious Basterds, and is currently playing fake game show host Tommy Maitland on the relaunch of The Gong Show. He is slated to star as Del Close in an upcoming biopic.
Which Austin Powers movie was your favorite? Would you like to see some of the cast together, back in action? Let us know in the comments!
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