New 'Pink Panther' Movie to Combine Live-Action and Animation, Will Be Directed By 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Filmmaker

For a certain generation, the words Pink Panther may unfortunately conjure memories of a couple of bad Steve Martin movies from the mid-2000s. But for those who skipped that theatrical reboot, they may recall a series of mystery movies from 1963 through 1993 that largely starred Dr. Strangelove actor Peter Sellers as the bumbling protagonist, a clueless Chief Inspector named Jacques Clouseau.

Now, after more than a decade after Steve Martin’s 2009 sequel Pink Panther 2 nearly killed the series for good, the Pink Panther franchise is set to continue again in a brand new movie from MGM. Jeff Fowler, who directed this year’s Sonic the Hedgehog film, is set to direct. Get more details below.

The Hollywood Reporter brings the unexpected news that a new Pink Panther movie is in the works with Fowler on board to direct and Bad Boys for Life co-writer Chris Bremner tackling the screenplay.

I remember watching the Pink Panther cartoon series when I was a kid and not learning until years later that the animated creature actually originated in the credits of the 1963 movie directed by Blake Edwards. Along with Henry Mancini’s iconic jazz score, that animated character became one of the standout elements of the film franchise, despite essentially serving as a mascot which only appeared during the credits.

The movies were all live-action features centering on Clouseau, an idiotic detective who was tasked with solving various mysteries, including one about the theft of a pink diamond nicknamed the “pink panther.” The animated character never appeared in the main narrative, but that’s going to change with this new installment.

THR says “the story will focus on a smooth operating inspector who, thanks to a traumatic event, now has a pink panther for an imaginary friend. The latter, although he doesn’t speak, does help solve the case.” Fowler, of course, has experience combining live-action and animated characters on screen, but as we all saw with the two Steve Martin-fronted films and with the Johnny Depp movie Mortdecai, this type of over-the-top comedy is tough to pull off for modern audiences, so Fowler has an uphill battle ahead of him.

Walter Mirisch, who executive produced the original 1963 movie, will serve as an executive producer here, while his son Lawrence Mirisch will produce alongside the great Julie Andrews, who was married to the late Blake Edwards, who directed most of the entries in this franchise. Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich, who produced Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake, will also serve as producers.

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