There’s long been a strange tension between Hollywood’s two Myers boys, if only because they exist on opposite poles of the artistic divide. Michael Myers is the faceless, cold-blooded killer of the Halloween franchise, which is currently getting a revival thanks to Blumhouse. And then there’s Mike Myers, the comic actor who delighted the world as randy spy Austin Powers before, well, losing the thread in the midst of so many chest hair and shit-drinking jokes. To hear someone yell “yeah, baby!” in the years following the franchise’s bow was to feel an unintentional shiver climb up your spine.
All this is to say that, yes, it was very funny when Edgar Wright wrapped Austin Powers’ masks over a trio of criminals in last year’s wonderful Baby Driver, the joke being that the criminal got confused by the two Myers. It even boosted the demand for Austin Powers masks last Halloween. It turns out, however, that the joke was rooted in a bit of truth.
Effects artist Greg Nicotero revealed on his Instagram that the plan was initially for two of the criminals to wear Michael Myers masks, while another would be wearing an Austin Powers one. His FX company even made a killer Michael Myers mask. Why wasn’t it used? Because Blumhouse wanted its Halloween reboot to be scary, that’s why, and to make a gag out of the mask that would anchor its upcoming reboot wouldn’t be good for business. And since they own the rights to the franchise (and, by extension, the mask), they wouldn’t allow Wright and Nicotero to go forward.
“I thought it was really funny and very very clever so we created this mask for the movie and unfortunately were unable to get permission to use it so the mask sits proudly on a zombie bust in my office,” Nicotero said in his post.
Wright confirmed the story on Twitter:
He’s got no hard feelings, though. “They have never licensed out the mask to other movies / TV / commercials to keep it special for the movies,” Wright said in a separate post. “I respect that.”
He even added some more shots of the mask they were going to use.
The Austin Powers gag is definitely funny, but there would’ve been something truly indelible about seeing that toothy visage wielding a gun alongside the placid, emotionless expressions of multiple Michael Myerses.
Of course, now all we can do is imagine a version of Halloween where The Shape slaughters Haddonfield in an Austin Powers mask.