Why Dr. Evil Has Ill-Tempered Sea Bass In Austin Powers

Dr. Evil staring in Austin Powers

Being an evil genius trying to dominate the world isn't easy. For instance, even when you formulate the perfect plan to hold the world hostage or want a specific weapon to use at a moment's notice, that doesn't mean your minions can follow through on your wishes. In Dr. Evil's case during the first Austin Powers movie, he desperately wanted sharks with frickin' last beams attached to their heads, but he had to make due with ill-tempered sea bass instead. It made for a hilarious twist on the traditional super villain death trap, but the real reason why Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery went with the sea bass instead was because the budget simply wasn't big enough to feature sharks. According to Mike Myers:

The ill-tempted sea bass was from having no money when we wanted sharks. Jay and I were, like, 'Well, what can we do?' And the effects guy was like, 'We can make the water bubble...'

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is celebrating its 20th anniversary next month, and to commemorate the occasion, Mike Myers, director Jay Roach and others from the production spoke with THR about what making the movie was like. In the case of these sharks, the creative team wanted to have these predators as Dr. Evil's playthings, but there wasn't enough money to make that happen. So the sea bass were brought in as substitutes, although even then they were only seen jumping from the water for a couple seconds at a time. It's a shame that the Austin Powers crew couldn't get the sharks, but for comedy purposes, going with the sea bass was a better decision.

If it's any consolation to Dr. Evil, the sea bass were still effective killing machines. While his plan to slowly kill Austin Powers and Vanessa Kensington failed, the ferocious creatures did devour a henchman's head. That not only helped making escape Dr. Evil's lair easier, but it also provided Austin with good puns. Relive that moment below.

Fortunately for Dr. Evil, he finally got the sharks with frickin' laser beams on their heads in 2002's Goldmember as a gift from his son Scott, who had finally embraced the evil lifestyle, balding and all. Hopefully those sea bass found a new home with a lesser-known diabolical mastermind who also spent six years at evil medical school.

While it was rumored for many years that Austin Powers 4 was in the works, the project has still not seen the light of day and is presumably on ice just like Austin was for 30 years. So for now, you'll just have to keep re-watching the original three movies to get your fix of Mike Myers-led wacky spy shenanigans, ill-tempered sea bass being among the many offerings.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.