Beyoncé is just fine being a “whole lot of woman.”
At age 19, the global superstar appeared in Jay Roach’s “Austin Powers in Goldmember” in 2002 as Foxxy Cleopatra, inspired by Pam Grier’s roles in ’70s blaxploitation films. Foxxy was an FBI agent who was previously romantically involved with Austin Powers (Mike Myers) and moonlights as a Studio 69 nightclub singer. The role marked Beyoncé’s first major film debut.
Yet Beyoncé made sure that the marketing materials were up to par for both her image and Foxxy’s.
“When we were shooting, someone brought her a poster that would be promoting the movie,” makeup artist Kate Biscoe said to Vulture in an oral history of the film. “He showed it to her, like, ‘Do you like it?’ And she was kind of like, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘What’s the matter?’ And she says, ‘You made me too skinny. It’s not me.'”
Biscoe added, “Then she did this hourglass shape. And he said, ‘Okay, we’ll fix that.’ She walked away to go do the scene, and I looked at him and smiled, like, ‘Is that the first time that you’ve ever had an actress ask to make her body bigger?’ He was like, ‘Yes. It’s going to cost me thousands of dollars, but I am going to do it.'”
At the time, Beyoncé was on a 1,200-calorie-per-day diet for Foxxy. Producer John Lyons called her preparation for the role a “really tough physical regimen and diet” with Beyoncé’s team being “keenly aware of the expectations that both the music business and Hollywood frequently have for how young, beautiful women should look and were smart about making those ideas work to their ends.”
It was Beyoncé’s natural talent that led to the “Goldmember” cast and crew immediately recognizing her superstardom.
“We all just stood there and our mouths dropped open,” Candy Walken, hair department head, said. “She became this incredible light. She was 19 years old and had such command of that stage when she stepped onto it. None of us really knew why they’d chosen her for this character, and then we understood.”
Director Roach previously told The Independent that a fourth “Austin Powers” film following “Goldmember” has been in the works for decades.
“We’ve been trying to think up an idea that could earn a fourth film for a long time, but it’s always up to Mike [Myers],” Roach said. “He and I always thought there was more to do with Dr. Evil.”