December 24, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST


Movie credits like Pinocchio’s Revenge and Wishmaster don’t exactly scream stardom. But like a Muggsy Bogues of the big screen, Verne J. Troyer, 30, reminded us to never underestimate the little guy. The 2’8” actor stole the show right out from under the legs of Mike Myers in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me — an impressive feat given that he had zero lines of dialogue. As Mini-Me, Dr. Evil’s botched clone, Troyer gave us a pinkie-extending man-child of terror who could not only shake his booty (to the hip-hop stylings of ”Just the Two of Us”), but kick some serious butt. ”I got started in the business doing stunt work,” he says. ”Having these capabilities, at the size I am, was something new for the people out there.” Expect more surprises: ”It’s funny, I’ve gotten a bunch of scripts since the film came out, and they’re not comedy roles. They’re dramatic, almost leading man-type roles. It’s definitely something I’ve wanted to do, but I didn’t know if I’d have the opportunity. Now I do.” Another lesson from Troyer: Think big.

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