Thursday, February 12, 2009

‘Taking a big, meaty crap on the legacy of Peter Sellers’


The Hollywood-industrial complex reports:

STEVE MARTIN urged PINK PANTHER 2 producers to write in an unlikely wedding for his bumbling INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU into the script — because all his films that end with a marriage have been hits.

Clouseau weds Emily Mortimer’s character Nicole in the new comedy after funnyman Martin got his way.

He says, “I said, ‘I have to tell you that every movie I’ve done that ends in a wedding or holding a baby has been a hit.’

“I do believe we’ve taken the Pink Panther somewhere else and, in a sense, made it our own.”

And Martin, who is the fourth actor to play Clouseau on screen, already has an idea for the start of Pink Panther 3.

He adds, “It would obviously open with Clouseau’s honeymoon — him taking Nicole across the threshold and she’s wearing arm pads and a helmet!”

Jesse responds:

It’s funny, right before the end of his life, Sellers had helped write a script for the next Pink Panther movie, called The Romance of the Pink Panther, in which Clouseau finally met the love of his life. Throughout the series, starting with his cuckoldry, Clouseau’s love life had been held up to contempt, and this gave the series a cruelty to it after six outings.

What little I have seen of Martin's Pink Panther movies makes his version of Clouseau seem a clown, which Martin treats with contempt. While there’s no arguing that Sellers’ Clouseau was also a clown, Sellers never had contempt for this or any of his characters. In fact, Sellers’ motivation for the Romance script was not financial at all, but out of true sympathy for the character, and what Sellers saw of himself in Clouseau’s bumbling existence.

There aren’t any comedians like that anymore. I actually think Mike Myers was one of the last ones, but as much as the quality of Sellers’ films spiraled down and his life continued in turmoil, he at least retained the ability to, how did one biographer say it, play “great roles in shitty, shitty movies.” Myers has way more lost sight of whatever original gift he had for great comic characters, replaced with the plasticine grin of Shrek.


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