Jay Roach says 'Austin Powers 4' could 'make people want to go back to the theatre' (exclusive)

Tom Beasley
Contributor
Jay Roach is still keen to return to directing 'Austin Powers' movies. (Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images/New Line Cinema)

Bombshell director Jay Roach is keen to return to the world of Austin Powers and hopes another film in the beloved series could “make people want to go back to the theatre as opposed to staying home and watching comedy on TV”.

The director made his name as the man behind all three part of the Powers trilogy, but has since shifted gears into more serious material with Bombshell, which arrives on DVD in the UK next week, and Trumbo.

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He told Yahoo Movies UK he thinks the shared experience of comedy at the cinema is worth protecting, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I hope I can always tell a wide variety of stories,” the 62-year-old said.

He added: “There is something — addictive isn’t quite right — but life-affirming of being in a room full of strangers just laughing really hard. I hope that continues.

Mike Myers portrayed the title character in all three 'Austin Powers' films. (Credit: New Line Cinema)

“Certainly now, it’s even more in jeopardy than it has ever been because of the pandemic. The idea of people showing up and sitting next to each other, howling and spitting with laughter doesn’t sound very attractive to most people, and understandably so.”

Roach said he would be keen to make another entry in his most famous series in order to encourage audiences back to the multiplex en masse when the current health crisis is over.

He said: “I hope when this cloud lifts that there will still be opportunities to actually go and see comedies in a theatre all together and laugh out loud.

“I would like to do another Austin or another comedy that feels like the kind of event that might make people want to go back to the theatre as opposed to staying home and watching comedy on TV.”

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The second movie in the series, The Spy Who Shagged Me, celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019 and Roach said the film was always his favourite part of the trilogy.

Mike Myers and Heather Graham in 'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me'. (Credit: New Line Cinema)

“It was partly because we were given more licence to try even more outrageous things than we had tried in the first one,” Roach said.

“One of my favourite things was the invention of Mini-Me. The conceptual underpinnings of that just delighted me because the whole idea of Dr Evil’s evil being distilled into one-eighth his size always seemed like a powerful and funny concept.

“There was a battle between Mini-Me on the one hand as a kind of surrogate son and Scott Evil, who was already feeling under-appreciated anyway, and now has to compete with Mini-Me who Dr Evil apparently loved more.

“There’s something about the family dynamic of that, underneath this whole bigger and broader concept, which I always thought was extremely strong and helped that film.”

Verne Troyer made his debut as Dr Evil's clone Mini-Me in 'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me'. (Credit: New Line Cinema)

Roach previously said that plans for a fourth Austin Powers movie were focused around exploring the character of Mini-Me.

The 62-year-old filmmaker said it would therefore be almost impossible to do the movie in the wake of Mini-Me actor Verne Troyer’s death in 2018.

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Roach remains keen to return to the world of comedy on the big screen and admits he was taken aback by the continued love for the Powers films.

The director admitted he and writer-star Mike Myers were convinced they were making something on the scale of Monty Python, which was a cult oddity in the USA, with a small but devoted fan base.

“We had no idea that was going to catch on the way it did,” he said.

Jay Roach and Mike Myers arrive at AFI's Night At The Movies on October 1, 2008. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI)

“It caught on to some extent in the first release, but it didn’t really take off until it was released on video.

“By the time the second one happened, it was crazy. You had people lining up at theatres in costume and lines around the block.”

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Austin Powers has been off screen since 2002’s Austin Powers in Goldmember, which starred Beyoncé as well as four separate roles for Myers.

The actor reprised the character of the villainous Dr Evil in 2018 for a comedy skit taking aim at the Trump administration.

In the wake of Bombshell, Roach is working on the script for a miniseries based on the 1970 shootings at Kent State University, where the National Guard opened fire on Vietnam War protesters.

Bombshell is available now on digital and on 18 May on Blu-ray and DVD, from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.