Nowadays, a raunchy adult comedy like Austin Powers would wear its R rating with pride, but back in 1997, the film needed to aim for PG-13 — all the better to ensure DVD sales, something that still mattered back then. In The Hollywood Reporter’s 20-year anniversary look back at the film, director Jay Roach reveals that, as you might expect, the film initially got an R rating from the MPAA and had to negotiate and make cuts to get the rating lower. “The nudity blocking was something the MPAA wanted to be sure we didn’t go too far with: the cheeky phallic references, like Elizabeth [Hurley] biting the sausage and holding the melons up,” he said. “But they were all pretty innocent body-shape jokes.” The real sticking point, Roach explained, was Mike Myers’s butt: “The only thing they asked us to do in the final cut, which was kind of surprising to me, was they thought there was too much butt-cheek on Mike when he got thawed out, so I went for a slightly more profile version.” Now, our feelings about getting an eyeful of Mike Myers’s butt specifically may vary, but we cannot deny the fact that censorship is alive and well in America and it is depriving us of man butts!
Mike Myers, fully clothed. Photo: New Line Cinemas