Revelations: Searching for my dad, I found Austin Powers

The time: 1995

The place: Los Angeles

The man: Mike Myers, film star

My parents came to Canada in 1956, from Liverpool, and I grew up in a very English household. I thought I was related to the Beatles growing up, because my mum and dad talked like the Beatles. My parents were kind of famous because they had the British accent.

I took dancing lessons when I was little. There was an English pub show called The Pig And Whistle on Canadian TV, where everyone sang, "Come in/To the Pig and Whistle/Come in/And have a laugh". There was cheeky chappiness and chimney sweep dancers. I remember seeing that as a kid and thinking, "Wow, I wanna be that."

My brothers called me "tippy toes". They used to torture me mercilessly. Do you do "spit suck" here? You get somebody and pin them down and spit...? That's our contribution to culture. Insulin, green ink, the cobalt bomb, and spit-suck. And various strains of rust-resistant wheat. That's Canada.

Ours was a Scouse house. Across the street was my friend and his parents were from Govan - they had Billy Connolly and all that stuff in their house. New Year's Eve it was a lot of I Love U, I Love U, but As soon U take my money I'll kill U. It's the same in Liverpool, they have instincts - fight fight fight, love love love, sing.

I was really close to my dad. Literally my dad would wake us up if Monty Python or an Ealing comedy or something was on, on a school night. I didn't go to first period for the last five years of high school, because we'd all sit down at the television late. Drink tea, and eat toast, and watch whatever.

The other thing about my dad was - like, when you're in a casino, you play with chips, so you don't think it's real money and therefore you don't mind going down $400 in a haul. The things that happened during my week weren't real either until I went home. I did my laundry every Sunday in Toronto, and my dad would say: "What did you do this week?" And I would say "blah blah blah" and it would seem real.

When he got Alzheimer's I started to see his personality leave his body. His personality left his body completely the year before he died. It was an insidiously slow process. And at the same time that's happening I'm on Saturday Night Live and making Wayne's World. My father passed away in '91. My heart was broken. I worked steadily for two years. Then my contract for Saturday Night Live was up - you have a six-year contract. Wayne's World 2 was a Number One movie and it done real well - I had lots of offers. At the same time my wife's brother gets killed in a car accident and both her sets of grandparents die. So all the time it's like Spielberg calls or somebody you love has died. It was all happening together.

I spoke to Bill Murray, who hosted one of the last shows before I left. He said he'd taken two years off. He'd gone to France to the Sorbonne, because his mother had died and he was emotionally incapacitated. He told me about that and I said, "Well, what's my equivalent of studying at the Sorbonne?" And I thought, "Well, I'll take a year off and I'll take ice hockey lessons."

So I took what's known as power skating lessons from nine to five every Wednesday, and played pick-up hockey two times a week with animators and firemen on disability and stuff. That's what I did, and I read books and I went and saw movies. We bought a house, we backed off, we nested. Before then, my wife and I were living in suitcases in hotel rooms in LA and in a tiny apartment in New York - paying lots of money.

During my year off, I looked into the whole deal of my ancestry, part Scottish, part Northern Irish, part Southern Irish, and England. I came to Liverpool and saw where my dad went to school. I saw where he signed on the Territorial Army. A really nice guy from the Royal Engineers sent me my dad's war record. So I went to places he was stationed. I just really came to terms with his death.

I think at a certain point I got so close to him - he was so funny, he was very silly. His two major sayings, that I think are undervalued, were, "Everything is gonna be okay" and "Let's go have some fun." So anything crappy that would happen, he would be like, "You know, everything's gonna be okay, let's go have some fun." And I think those are two really important things, but when that dies out and you're left by yourself, and you're so busy, and then all of a sudden you're a famous person ... well, it's weird.

My dad sold encyclopaedias - the Encyclopaedia Britannica. I wear my dad's encyclopaedia-salesman-of-the-year ring, from 1967, which was my wedding ring, because he couldn't come. He died before my wedding.

A year and a half ago I was driving home from hockey practice and "The Look of Love" by Burt Bacharach came on the radio and that spoke to my heart. I'm a big Burt fan. It just reminded me of Casino Royale and that whole era, and I just started fooling around with English accents: "Yeah, but let's go in the back and shaaag." Pretending I was taking photographs of my wife: "Give it to me, baby, show me shoulder, love it, yeah." I did that for three days to make my wife laugh. My wife's from Queens, she's quite blunt, and she said: "That's really funny, now shaddap." She said I should write it down, so I wrote a script in three weeks, and it became Austin Powers. The movie is a tribute to my dad, and to the whole British pop culture and comedy. If someone said my next 1,000 pictures had to be Austin Powers movies I'd be only too happy - I had a blast doing it.

Taking that year off proved to be the smartest thing I ever did, and in two years I plan to take another five months off.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

    SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

    Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

    £85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

    Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

    £55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering