NEW YORK – Mini-Me is back and, well, smaller than ever.
In Austin Powers in Goldmember, which opens Friday, 33-year-old, 32-inch Verne Troyer reprises his role as the lovably hot-tempered sidekick to Dr. Evil, played by Mike Myers, in one of many incarnations.
This time around, Mini-Me and Dr. Evil bust out of prison, and hook up with the Dutch baddie who gives the movie its title.
Together, the trio plan to take over the world — but first they must reckon with Austin Powers (Myers again), his pop Nigel (Michael Caine against type), and his sexy Afro'd partner Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles).
All Troyer would reveal about the oh-so-secret plot was, "The audience is going to be pleasantly surprised," he said. "It's very, very funny."
Q: In The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr. Evil cuddled and even sang to you. What can we look for from you two in Goldmember?
A: We don't want to give too much away, but let's say Mini-Me goes through some changes physically and emotionally.
Q: Do these "changes" have anything to do with Mini-Me shagging anybody? There have been rumors about you and Britney Spears.
A: I just can't go there. I'll get in trouble. He comes close. Britney Spears is involved.
Q: Hey, you're a single guy. Why don't you go for her? Justin Timberlake's out of the picture.
A: That's what I heard. It might've been because of me.
Q: Get out of here! You're spoiled — after all, you also work with Beyonce Knowles in the film. Did you find her bootylicious?
A: Let's just say she's very hot and very attractive. And she's a natural. In her business, she does a lot of music videos, and that's acting. So I don't think anybody was surprised with how good a job she did.
Q: Do you think Mini-Me is bootylicious?
A: I'm sure. [Just by] being able to be invited to the Playboy mansion.
Q: You know every heterosexual man is probably jealous of you. How did you get invited to the Playboy mansion?
A: Hef liked [The Spy Who Shagged Me], and I got the opportunity to go there. Shortly afterward, I got to be part of the Millennium Issue doing a spread playing Mini-Hef. It was probably the best five days of my life.
Q: Gee, your life sucks.
Q: Do you think you have a height advantage in Hollywood?
A: Well, I'm definitely shorter than everybody else. The success of these films has given me so many opportunities.
Q: Still, do you find yourself getting typecast?
A: I'm getting scripts all the time. Some are just stupid, so I've passed on a lot. I enjoy what I do, but it's kind of unfortunate that Hollywood stereotypes everybody.
I'm trying to maybe show Hollywood that we're not just your typical elf, leprechaun, or anything like that. We could do so many other things if just given the chance. People have asked me what I'd like to do — maybe I [could] play a romantic lead opposite Gwyneth Paltrow.
Q: Why not? Jack Black did. Were you bummed out that you weren't part of that other New Line franchise, Lord of the Rings? You would've made a good hobbit.
A: It's kind of funny you brought that up. I was considered for part of it if they went down that avenue rather than computer [generating] and shrinking the actors down. I don't know if [Hollywood execs] thought we couldn't pull it off. But it's their choice.
Q: This is supposedly the last Austin Powers movie. Do you believe it?
A: It's totally up to Mike. If there is [another film], I'd definitely want to be involved.
Q: Would you consider making a "Mini-Me" movie?
A. Like if Mini-Me goes to Vegas, and shags a bunch of showgirls? I'd love to do it. I think everybody would like to see it, too.