Mike Myers is back – in eight different roles.
The “Saturday Night Live” alum put to use the improv skills he honed on that show for 16 years into a film career filled with an array of wild characters in a number of hit movies like the “Wayne’s World” and “Austin Powers” franchises.
But his latest project – the Netflix series, “The Pentaverate” -- has the comic actor inhabiting eight different characters at once.
It was one real life character who gave him his best acting advice -- his mother.
In a recent interview on NBC’s “Sunday Today with Willie Geist,” Myers noted the wide-ranging advice his mother gave him that he’s kept top-of-mind his whole career.
“My mom gave me some great advice,” Myers remembered. “She had said, ‘Don’t forget that the villain is the hero of his own story.’ That was a big influence on Dr. Evil. And she said, ‘The world loves happy survivors.’ And she said, you know, Barney Rubble, Bugs Bunny, Tony Curtis, Bruce Willis in ‘Die Hard’ – happy survivors.”
He added another quote from his mother that might help him navigate the breadth of characters he’s taking on in “The Pentaverate.”
“My mom also said,” Myers recalled, “‘The essence of a hero is plasticity. The ability to change. The essence of a villain is being steadfast,’ which I thought was a great piece of advice.”
It’s not that the producers of “The Pentaverate” were at a loss for good actors to fill out the show – the impressive cast also includes Debi Mazar, Keegan-Michael Key, Ken Jeong, and Jennifer Saunder. But being Myers’ creation, he’s using this new project to really utilize his unique ability to make memorable figures.
The show – a funny, mind-twisitng tale of a journalist who uncovers a secret society – is a weird and welcome return for the talented comedian.
After a couple of missteps in the mid 2000s, Myers hasn’t been seen much save for a solid side character turn in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorius Basterds,” some Shrek voiceover work, and a few Wayne and Garth and Dr. Evil reappearances in Super Bowl commercials.
Now, as fans are just digging into “The Pentaverate,” Myers let leak in a different Today interview that he’s open to a fourth look at Austin Powers. But when Geist brought it up again on “Sunday Today,” Myers played peekaboo with the notion.
“I can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of such a project, should it exist or not exist," Myers said to Geist.
When Geist gathered, “I think it’s coming,” Myers quickly retorted, “Or it’s not coming.”