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Beyond Destiny's Child 

R&B singer romances Austin Powers in Goldmember

Move over, Elizabeth Hurley -- and take Heather Graham with you. There's a new girl in town, and her name is Foxxy Cleopatra. With a nod of her big afro to '70s blaxploitation icon Pam Grier, 21-year-old Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles makes a disarming big-screen debut as the latest sassy/sexy straight-man to Mike Myers' goofy secret agent in Austin Powers in Goldmember (opening July 26).
Creative Loafing: During the making of this movie, did you ever get the feeling you were jumping onto a train that had already left the station?

Beyonce Knowles: God, yes. I was very nervous in the beginning. I mean, I had no idea what I was doing. Everybody would be talking in all these technical terms on the set, and I felt completely lost. It was like I was starting over, learning something totally new and different from scratch. But everybody really embraced me and made me feel comfortable. Obviously, I wasn't even around during the '70s, so I had to study up on the first two Austin Powers movies, and I went out and rented all of Pam Grier's old movies.

Which one of Mike Myers' four characters did you most enjoy working with?

Well, the majority of my scenes were with Austin, and he's just so charming, so I'd have to say I had the most fun with him. I only have one short little scene with Dr. Evil. And, as for Fat Bastard and Goldmember, they were both so gross that it really didn't take much to act like I was disgusted.

There was a lot of sexual innuendo and interplay between Myers and his leading ladies from the first two movies, but this movie seems to deliberately avoid any of that.

Yeah, I think they wanted the relationship with Foxxy to be a little more romantic, instead of being sexual. She's definitely not about shagging, which is nice, because that makes it different from the other movies.

At what point in your successful music career did you decide to pursue acting?

I never really decided to pursue it. I specifically didn't want to force it. I wanted it to come naturally, and when it did, I was ready. I figure if I'm getting these parts in [the MTV-produced version of] Carmen and Austin Powers, then it must be time. I'd done a couple of sitcoms earlier on, but I wasn't very good in them, so I thought that meant I couldn't act. What it really was, was that so many sitcoms are about acting stupid, and that particular kind of acting just never felt right for me.

You've just finished a worldwide tour with Destiny's Child. You have a solo album coming out later this fall. You're starting another movie next month. Do you ever worry that something's got to give?

No, not really. At least, I hope not. People always assume the group would be the first thing to suffer, but we're at a whole other level now because of our various solo projects. Each of us is going off to do this or that and we're growing individually, so that when we come back together, it's just natural that we're changing and getting better as a group, too.

What's your next movie?

It's called Fighting Temptation, with Cuba Gooding Jr. It's a romantic comedy, sort of a family movie. I play a jazz singer who has a young son. At first, I was hoping it might be something really dark, just to see what I could do with it. I wanted the jazz singer to be hooked on drugs or something like that, to give it some oomph, but I guess it wasn't quite appropriate. I mean, I think it's a Disney movie, you know?

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