Destiny's Child Star on Blaxploitation
On stage, Beyoncé Knowles exudes an ultra-confident performing persona. You need nerve to sing torrid tunes like "Bootylicious"! Still, the 20-year-old Destiny's Child star was quaking in her platforms when she first met Mike Myers to discuss her casting in Austin Powers in Goldmember. Thank goodness she brought her mom along!
"[Mike Myers] was very shy, and I'm very shy when I first meet people,"
admits Knowles, who plays Foxxy Cleopatra. "I didn't know if I should shake his hand or hug him. We looked crazy because we were so awkward!
"Finally," she recalls, "we shook hands and sat down, and he told me he was nervous. I thought, 'Why are you nervous? I'm terrified!' I didn't say anything. I just let my mom talk... She got me through it."
Knowles also thanks her mother for helping her research Foxxy a comic send-up of 1970s blaxploitation heroines and disco divas. "I was born in '81, so I wasn't alive in the '70s," she admits. "When I was 12, my mom always talked about Foxy Brown. She made me watch it, but then I was too young to appreciate it."
Years later, she's playing a part that spoofs the infamous Pam Grier character and she's grown slightly obsessed with the genre. "After getting this part, I watched Foxy Brown again, and Coffy and Cleopatra Jones and all the blaxploitation films I could find. I now have all of the original Foxy Brown posters."
Armed with all that info and a trés Foxxy wardrobe, Knowles soon lost her initial jitters during rehearsals. "We started playing with accents," she recalls. "Michael Caine was talking like Foxxy, I was talking like Austin, and Mike Myers was talking like Michael Caine. It was a whole party!"
Watch the TV Guide Channel's exclusive interviews with Austin Powers stars Mike Myers, Michael York, Mindy Sterling and Robert Wagner.