Day 54, No. 54. Verne Troyer

Verne TroyerHAIRCUT 100: Day 54, No. 54. Sticking with the current theme of this week’s symposium, it is in every way appropriate that we follow Dr. Evil with the irrepressible Verne Troyer, who played the good doctor’s diminutive clone, Mini-Me, in the Austin Powers sequels: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Goldmember. In Mini-Me, the leitmotif of doubling explored in the original movie continues. He is a miniature copy of Dr. Evil, who narcissistically adores him, thus playing Abel to Scott’s Cain; and he also appears as a character in the nested narrative Austinpussy, another film within Goldmember, portrayed by Danny De Vito as himself. This mise en abyme – a heraldic term applied to narrative theory by the French modernist André Gide – is often likened to the experience of standing between two mirrors, so that one sees an infinite reproduction of one’s own image. Shakespeare used the device in Hamlet, in which a repertory troupe performs the symbolically loaded play The Murder of Gonzago at Elsinore. But I digress. (And I rarely admit that.)

Mini-Me prefers to let his fists do the talking, and mostly just passes notes, a technique he uses to chat up Foxxy Cleopatra: ‘Are you sure you don’t have a little clone in you?’ he writes at one point, adding, ‘Would you like to?’ Despite having little spoken dialogue aside from girly screams and evil laughs, Mini-Me still managed to pretty much steal every scene he was in, the character rocketing Troyer to stardom in much the same way that Austin Powers shot him into space by flushing him through a toilet. Actor, stuntman and comedian Troyer, ‘The Biggest Little Man in Show Business,’ had by that point already appeared in fourteen films. As a result of cartilage–hair hypoplasia, Troyer is only two feet eight inches tall, making him one of the shortest men in the world. Although best known for his work in the Austin Powers movies, he remains a familiar presence in film and television, most recently as ‘The Boss’ in the advertising campaign and as a contestant on Celebrity Wife Swap. He is also one of an elite group of stars to have had a sex tape leaked on the Internet. ‘I can play the leading man. I can play the action hero, maybe in just a different way. I look at it as, you know, if you set your mind to it, you can do it.’

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