How was it to return to the "Austin Powers" franchise?
It was a little daunting. The success of the second one caught us by surprise a little bit. We had decided not to do even a second one, unless the audience wanted it and we could do something better. And we had to do the same thing here. To top that sequel was quite a task. Mike had a couple of good conceptual humour and character ideas, which got me back into it. Like bringing Austin's father into the film, and the idea of having a third film that seems like the completion of a trilogy. Plus the characters of Goldmember and Foxxy Cleopatra. So there were enough new things that made us think we could pull it off.
Mike writes, acts multiple roles and produces. Where do you fit in?
That's why he needs me: he's doing everything else! We collaborate on everything. I'm involved in the writing and pre-production. There's a whole bunch of people who keep in touch at every step about everything. My biggest role as director on the film is keeping a sense of the overview - how to cast the movie and shoot it in such a way that it will cut together. And how to design the style and tone. Mike has stuff to say about that, but he doesn't have time to stay on that. He's very inclusive and really asks to be directed.
Given the connection between Austin Powers and Michael Caine's spy Harry Palmer, were you always looking to cast Caine as Nigel Powers, Austin's father?
He was always in our minds. We watched "The Ipcress Files", "Alfie", and "The Italian Job" before we did the first one. The glasses were a direct lift! When I called him, he said, "I get to wear the teeth, right?" He was so into it, and recognised the derivations in the earlier films. He was surprisingly gung-ho. He said he's never done anything quite as broad.