As has been pointed out by many, “Amsterdam” is a star-studded film.
Its cast includes (deep breath) Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Rock, Zoe Saldaña, Andrea Riseborough, Rami Malek and Robert De Niro (among others). It’s a lively, spirited historical mystery about World War I and a vast right-wing conspiracy on American shores. But the movie becomes even more electric when two stars appear on screen together: Mike Myers and Michael Shannon.
The two performers play spies who assist our heroes, first in the title city and later in New York, as they attempt to thwart a growing threat to democracy. Their camaraderie is easy, natural and fun. Myers deploys a British accent that is somehow familiar and unlike anything he’s done before. (The closest comparison is probably his cameo in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”) “Amsterdam” is fun but when Shannon and Myers are on screen, it’s very fun.
TheWrap spoke to Myers and Shannon about working with David O. Russell, who Michael Shannon would play in season 2 of “The Pentaverate” and the possibility of a fourth “Austin Powers” movie (please, dear God).
Mike, on Dana Carvey’s podcast recently you said what a refreshing experience it was making this movie. And I was just wondering what about it was so special? I imagine a lot of it had to do with your wonderful costar here.
Michael Shannon: Ah, thank you.
Mike Myers: It was great working with Michael Shannon. I felt like I went to school and you play tennis with somebody who’s better than you, the game raises. I think what it is speaks to is how much David O. Russell trusted all of us. And also that the movie does [what] every movie that I like [does], which is, it’s very entertaining, but it’s also about something very important. You know what I mean? And the best delivery system of ideas is being entertaining. And the process of it was so … I just felt like being an actor is cool. What a great job I have, what an interesting job I have. And that was just mana, just fantastic.
Michael Shannon: It is true. It sounds like an obvious thing to say, but there are those jobs where you really do feel that way. And this was one of them.
You’re both new to the David O. Russell world. He has a famously unique directorial style and you’re both sort of new to his world. What was that experience like for you?
Michael Shannon: Well, I think we both have, obviously Mike much more than me, but we both have a background in improv. To a certain extent we’re not too rattled by arrows flying while we’re on the set. If anything, it’s a nice kick in the pants.
Mike Myers: Yeah.
Michael Shannon: So, I’m also much more comfortable with the silent reverential thing too. But it was refreshing to experience.
Was there any stuff that you guys did that didn’t make it into the movie that you wish was still there?
Michael Shannon: Well, I sang an opera song.
Did you really?
Michael Shannon: Yeah it was from “La Traviata.” Is that wrong?
Mike Myers: Yeah.
Say “The Pentaverate” comes back for season 2 and you get to cast Michael Shannon in a role.
Mike Myers: Yes.
Who’s he going to play?
Mike Myers: Aren’t you feeling a little typecast at this point? I think I would want him to do something he’s never done …
Michael Shannon: Good luck with that.
Mike Myers: I think well, I think you’ve done this, but I think the head of a multinational who –
Michael Shannon: Oh, that’s true.
Mike Myers: Who makes something that’s so incredibly anti-social. Like landmines in the shape of children’s toys or something.
Michael Shannon: That’s great.
Mike Myers: You know what I mean? Something that is sort of like, “But think of the jobs!” They’ll rattle. “Sure, I make landmines, but think of the jobs.”
Michael Shannon: Yeah, yeah. The dilemma.
Mike Myers: That’s all off of the top of my head.
Do you have a favorite Mike Myers character Michael Shannon?
Michael Shannon: Dear Lord, I think I’m a Dieter guy.
Mike Myers: Dieter?
Michael Shannon: I love them all, don’t put me on a spot like that. But I was going to say, because there’s been a lot of mention of “Austin Powers” today and it employed a couple of real good buddies of mine. So thanks for doing that.
Mike Myers: You’re welcome.
We’re still waiting for the Deiter movie. Is that completely out of the question?
Michael Shannon: What year was Dieter versus Zod?
Is there any character you’d want to revisit?
Mike Myers: Maybe the Scottish father from “So I Married an Ax Murderer.” That could be something to do. But I’m very happy with everything. I never thought that I’d be able to do this for a living. My nose pressed up against the glass up in Canada going, “Guys can I come in?” And here I am. So I’m thrilled.
Is Austin Powers coming back? Do I have to write a letter to somebody?
Mike Myers: You have to write a letter to somebody and then I’ll tell you. It’s a write-in situation. Sorry. And a couple of cereal box tops as well.
“Amsterdam” is in theaters Friday.