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Mini-Me Hits The Big Time

Actor Verne Troyer plays Mini-Me, the little clone of Dr. Evil, in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Troyer, 30, who describes himself as a "little person or dwarf," is 2 feet, 8 inches tall. The character of Mini-Me doesn't really have any lines. Instead, he communicates in grunts and gestures. But he manages to menace everyone and everything, including his pet cat, Mini Mr. Bigglesworth, whose head he tries to bite.

Before he found success in acting, Troyer worked as a telephone operator, then in the customer service department of a phone company. His first film was Baby's Day Out (1994), in which he worked as a stunt double for a 9-month-old baby. He also played the small Santa who wrestles with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Jingle All the Way (1996).


MORE ON AUSTIN POWERS:
REVIEW: The Spy Who Gagged Me
YOUNG NUMBER 2: Interview With Rob Lowe
MIKE MYERS: The Austin Powers Glossary


His experience in stuntwork paid off when he joined the cast of The Spy Who Shagged Me, which turned out to be a very physical movie, CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Mark McEwen reports. At the beginning, the character of Mini-Me did not have as much presence in the movie as he ultimately did.

"They saw what I was able to do in the film and just expanded my character so much because they liked what I was able to do," explains the actor.

Troyer in person does not look like Mini-Me. Each day during filming, he had to sit through three hours of makeup, as technicians added a crown piece to his head, ears, cheeks, chin, nose, and a scar.

"Afterwards, you're definitely in character once you see yourself in the mirror," he says.

He was a fan of the first Austin Powers movie, so he was excited about auditioning for the role of Mini-Me. "It did matter to me," he admits.


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Verne Troyer shows off the Dr. Evil doll

The actual experience did not disappoint him. "When you're working with Mike [Myers], it's unbelievable what he can come up with," says Troyer. "He just improvises all the time, and you really have to work to keep up. It's a party on the set."

During his appearance on This Morning, Troyer also displayed Austin Powers merchandise, including talking dolls modeled after the characters of Dr. Evil and Austin Powers, a splashy mod necktie (dominated by Austin's image), a talkng wristwatch, drink mixes that come with their own shakers, and candy called "The World's Grooviest Chocolates," molded with the images of Austin Powers characters.