Why Daniel Craig Felt the Austin Powers Films ‘F*cked’ James Bond
The Austin Powers films are the most popular parodies of the James Bond movies. The comic franchise boats a title character who received a warm reception from 007 fans. Interestingly, it had a huge impact on the Bond franchise.
Daniel Craig, the actor currently playing the role of 007, has opened up about his feelings on the Powers films. He likes their lead actor, Mike Myers. However, he feels the films had a negative impact on the development of Bond.
How 007 led to Austin Powers
When the Bond series started, it had a degree of grit to it. Of course, any franchise with some longevity has to evolve. From the early 1970s into the mid-1980s, the series became much campier. Goofy humor and outlandish plot points became much bigger parts of the franchise than they were in the beginning. This ridiculous material made it much easier to parody 007 than it had been previously.
Then, in the 1990s, the world was introduced to Powers. While Powers spoofed things that seemed ridiculous about Bond, his nemesis Dr. Evil satirized several Bond villains like Dr. No, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and Dr. Kananga. The films spoofed several 007 tropes, including Bond villains’ tendency to talk rather than act, the villains’ outlandish lairs, and Bond’s penchant for puns. Some fans never looked at the earlier Bond films in quite the same way after watching the Powers movies.
How Austin Powers changed James Bond
Once Craig took on the role, fans noted the series got darker and more grounded. No longer were Bond villains trying to create new civilizations in space. Bond girls stopped having ridiculous names like Pussy Galore, Octopussy, and Honey Ryder.
Certain fans felt the new tone of the series was the 007 franchise’s attempt to mimic other popular action movies. Other fans wondered if the satire of the Powers film caused the Bond franchise to tone itself down. Craig revealed the latter is exactly what happened.
According to The A.V. Club, Craig said “We had to destroy the myth because [the Austin Powers movies] f*cked us. I am a huge Mike Myers fan, so don’t get me wrong, but he kind of f*cked us, made it impossible to do the gags.”
Specifically, Craig felt there were no 007 jokes left to make by the time he took on the role. He told Esquire “By the time we did Casino Royale, [Myers] had blown every joke apart. We were in a situation where you couldn’t send things up. It had gone so far post-modern it wasn’t funny anymore.” It’s incredible to think a series of parodies had such a significant effect on the Bond franchise!
Many appreciated the grittier tone of Craig’s first three Bond films. However, some fans missed the humor of Roger Moore’s 007 films. Craig’s fourth Bond film, Spectre, was noted for having more humor than the previous three installments, showing that Bond might be getting out of Powers’ shadow.