Was Mini-Me From ‘Austin Powers’ Inspired by a James Bond Villain?
For a comedy franchise, the Austin Powers series has a surprisingly good rogues gallery. Part of this is because many Austin Power villains are directly based on James Bond villains. For example, Dr. Evil’s aesthetic is obviously based on those of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Dr. No.
Some fans assume Mini-Me, Dr. Evil’s sidekick in the final two films of the series, is based on a 007 antagonist as well. This is not the case. Here’s the infamous 1990s movie that led to the creation of Mini-Me.
Marlon Brando’s role in the creation of Mini-Me from ‘Austin Powers’
Marlon Brando is one of the most acclaimed actors ever. However, his filmography is not flawless. Alongside classics like The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, he’s also been in less prestigious films like The Island of Dr. Moreau.
The latter film is particularly infamous due to its troubled production, bizarre makeup effects, and Brando’s oddball performance. Unlike other Brando movies, The Island of Dr. Moreau didn’t leave a huge impact on pop culture — except for the character of Mini-Me.
In The Island of Dr. Moreau, Brando portrays the title character. He has a clone named Majai who is much smaller than him. While watching The Island of Dr. Moreau, Mike Myers was inspired by a scene where Dr. Moreau and Majai each play the piano. He wondered how Dr. Evil having a miniature clone might create tension between the clone and Dr. Evil’s son.
“So we applied the dynamic of a family onto an evil family, and what if there is a new baby and it’s upsetting Scott [Seth Green],” Myers told Entertainment Weekly. “Having seen this actor in The Island of Dr. Moreau playing against Marlon Brando, I was like, that would be the one-eighth replica, and I just thought, what if his name was Mini-Me?”
How Verne Troyer got the part
Jay Roach, the director of the Austin Powers films, loved the idea. He tried to find someone to play the part. Verne Troyer auditioned and Roach was so impressed with his audition, he didn’t even consider getting anyone else to play the part afterwards.
Troyer greatly enjoyed the experience. “When you’re working with Mike [Myers], it’s unbelievable what he can come up with,” Troyer told CBS News. “He just improvises all the time, and you really have to work to keep up. It’s a party on the set.”
What James Bond fans get wrong about Mini-Me
What’s odd about this is that fans often don’t think Mini-Me is based on Majai. Some fans assume he is based on Nick Nack from the 007 movie The Man With the Golden Gun. Why? Mini-Me is a little person and Nick Nack is a little person as well. This similarity causes people to think the former is based on the latter, even though the two characters have little in common besides being sidekicks. Regardless of his origin, Mini-Me stands as one of the most memorable Austin Powers villains.