An article here from the BBC says that Steve Martin is the frontrunner for playing the title character in a planned remake of THE PINK PANTHER. As long as they take every opportunity to insult France and show a clueless frog, I’m there. But I have my worries about this casting.
It’s possible that the filmmakers will completely reconceive the Inspector Clouseau character. But assuming that they don’t, does this strike anyone else as just a *wrong* choice? Martin is a fine comic actor and can even do very broad physical comedy well, as in the montage in DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, assuming the script is good (when his script is bad, he can revert to over-the-top SNL Wild and Crazy Guy schtick).
But Martin is not a chameleon and voice virtuoso like Peter Sellers was, and had to be for all the various deliberately unconvincing (a tricky balancing act, those two words) disguise sequences in The Pink Panther movies. I don’t think Martin plays “clueless” well, or at least not in the deadpan way Sellers could — the Wild and Grazy Guys were clueless too, but were loud extroverts. The essence of Inspector Clouseau is that he’s someone who is convinced that he is brilliant, does not get that he isn’t, always wants to maintain his dignity, and has his whole being invested in the illusion of his dignified brilliance. I dunno who could play that character today, but Steve Martin doesn’t quickly come to mind.