TORONTO - When Mike Myers first appears onscreen in "Inglourious Basterds" as an English general, some viewers might be a little surprised by the casting choice.

But director Quentin Tarantino says the Canadian actor best known for his goofy roles in "Austin Powers" and "Wayne's World" was actually a perfect fit for the small part in his stylish Second World War drama.

"He's a big fan of mine and he just let it be known that he's a fan and if there was something in the movie that would be proper for him, he would love to do it," Tarantino said Wednesday night before a screening of the new movie, which also stars Brad Pitt and Eli Roth.

Given that Myers is a huge Second World War buff, his parents are veterans, and he's always wanted to play an older British general, casting him made sense, Tarantino said.

"It was a perfect storm for getting Mike Myers, a perfect storm for a yes."

The movie follows a group of Jewish-American soldiers, who call themselves The Basterds, on their mission through Nazi-occupied France. They're tasked with instilling fear in the German ranks by killing Nazis as brutally as possible and collecting scalps along the way.

Myers's character helps organize part of the mission and although his scene lasts just a few minutes, it plays prominently in some of the previews.

Myers says appearing in a Tarantino movie was "perhaps (my) greatest fantasy realized."

"I'm the biggest Quentin Tarantino fan that you'll find," Myers said at a news conference at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where the film premiered.

"I got a call -- 'Would you like to play a British general?' -- and I dig a jig and I was very happy and I'm still very happy. I kinda can't believe (it)."

The cameo role is Myers's first big screen appearance since the disappointing features "Love Guru" in 2008 and "The Cat in the Hat" in 2003. Myers has also voiced characters in a number of animated features in recent years, including the "Shrek" series.

"Inglourious Basterds" is scheduled for wide release on Aug. 21.