These days, we know Beyoncé as a pop star who can do just about anything, but in 2002, the singer was still early in her career. While she'd risen to fame as the lead singer of Destiny's Child, she wasn't yet the icon we know today.
One of the first steps to achieving that mythical status was her iconic role in "Austin Powers in Goldmember," Mike Myers' raunchy 2002 comedy and the final film in his Austin Powers series. The movie was her theatrical debut.
In an in-depth Vulture article focused on the creation of Foxxy Cleopatra, people who worked on the film said that the character was always created with Beyoncé in mind.
"This was an important moment in her career, a real turning point, going from the front woman of a successful pop band to a first solo effort," Matthew Rolston, director of Beyoncé's “Work It Out” video, told Vulture. "It had been carefully constructed by her mom and dad to be her debut as an actress and a solo pop act at the same time."
Beyoncé's father, Mathew Knowles, acted as her manager until 2011. Meanwhile, Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles-Lawson was heavily involved in her daughter's career and attended the "Goldmember" audition with her.
"It was clear that (Beyoncé) was so nervous at that audition, and Tina came with her, both as moral support and, I’m sure, to size us up and see if we were going to be respectful of her daughter and if we deserved her," producer John Lyons recalled to Vulture.
After two auditions, Beyoncé booked the role. She later met her leading man Mike Myers at the Chateau Marmont. Director Jay Roach told Vulture that they "hit it off like crazy."
"Instantly I could tell there was chemistry with them. I do remember one other person that we considered for it, but Mike designed the character for Beyoncé," he said.
For the meet-and-greet, Beyoncé also brought her mother along. Since Knowles-Lawson was a fan of the blaxploitation movies that Foxxy Cleopatra was based off of, she was able to suggest some fun ideas.
"Her mom was very much into blaxploitation movies," Roach said. "She could tell that was the DNA for Foxxy. Her mom was so cool and so helpful and instantly had ideas for us."
The cast and crew interviewed by Vulture remembered Beyoncé as being "nervous" and unsure of herself on set, until she became more comfortable as an actor. However, when it came time for her to perform "Hey Goldmember," the character's sultry musical number, she found her groove and nailed the part.
In the finished movie, actor Sybil Azur sang backup during the song. However, it was revealed in the Vulture article that Beyoncé's younger sister Solange Knowles initially had the part.
"I put her sister, Solange, in it as Foxxy’s backup singer. I remember Beyoncé and I giggling because she was young and everything in Austin Powers is so suggestive," remembered choreographer Marguerite Derricks. “'He’s got the Midas touch, but he touched it too much' — that was a lyric that we were freaking out about for her sister."
In the end, though, Knowles-Lawson said that her youngest daughter, then 15, shouldn't be in the film.
"What happened, the way I understood it, was when Tina heard the song and realized what that really meant, she felt it wasn’t appropriate for Solange," costume designer Deena Appel said, adding that it was a "mad scramble" to find a replacement.
Although she was a rising star at the time, the "Goldmember" crew remembered Beyoncé as a very humble person on set. Actor Diane Mizota said the "Crazy In Love" singer would sometimes have her bodyguard "sneak her donuts on a napkin" and makeup artist Kate Biscoe said Beyoncé was really keen on looking like herself on the film's poster.
"When we were shooting, someone brought her a poster that would be promoting the movie. 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.' Then she did this hourglass shape. And he said, 'Okay, we’ll fix that,'" Biscoe recalled.
"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.'"