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Steve Martin Is Back As Inspector Clouseau
After Steve Martin successfully reinvigorated the legendary Pink Panther comedy franchise in the 2006 hit The Pink Panther, a sequel became a happy consequence for the actor. "I love playing Clouseau,” says Martin. "I had to brush up on the accent a bit, but other than that, it was like a visit from a familiar friend. This role gives me a chance to do broad physical comedy; Clouseau is truly an exaggerated character, innocent and childlike. At the same time, he thinks he's on top of every situation, which I think is always funny. So when the opportunity for the sequel came along, naturally, the answer was yes.”

Producer Robert Simonds observes that Martin is the film's not-so-secret weapon. "Steve completely embodies this character, bringing so much more to it than is even on the page – and since he co-wrote the script, there's a tremendous amount on the page as is,” he says. "We would not have made a sequel if Steve weren't driving it. He understands Clouseau. He writes for Clouseau. He creates the world. Part of the burden of doing a sequel is that you must make it bigger, better, funnier, fresher than the first one. We've worked really hard to make sure that we've taken the characters, the sense of fun and everything that we liked about the first movie to the next level.”

"Steve brings Clouseau a really interesting combination of vulnerability and self-assurance,” Simonds continues. "He's got a gift for physical comedy, but he is also incredibly erudite. He possesses an incredibly sophisticated sense of humor with an underbelly of big laughs. Just as importantly, his comedy is ironic and smart but never mean-spirited. All the comedy in the Pink Panther films is at the expense of Clouseau, who is simply trying to maintain his dignity in all these situations. Thanks to Steve's performance, not only is the movie very funny, but audiences are emotionally invested in Clouseau.” 

Director Harald Zwart adds, "People love Clouseau. He has a huge heart, and though he makes a lot of mistakes, it all comes from naïve clumsiness. He's always trying his best – it's just that his best is never good.”

Emily Mortimer, who is back for seconds as Nicole – the object of Clouseau's awkward affections – notes that the two films with Martin as Clouseau fit in perfectly with the rest of the franchise. "This character that resonated in the 1960s still has an appeal now. There's something about this complete nincompoop who manages to save the day that people find appealing.”

"What Steve's done, which is so brilliant, is not to do an homage to Peter Sellers but to retain the spirit of Clouseau and keep the very best of it – the essence of it,” says Alfred Molina, who joins the cast as Pepperidge, a member of the Dream Team of detectives that forms when the master thief, The Tornado, comes out of retirement to steal the world's most famous treasures. "He's taken the character and our collective memory of the character and made it his own.”

Not everyone is as enamored with the qualities of the character. "I have met people like Clouseau in England,” says John Cleese. "We call them ‘pronoid' – the opposite of paranoid. They think that everyone likes them and is on their side, when there is no evidence for this whatsoever. And I think Clouseau is like that. Clouseau has no idea that people can't stand him – he doesn't realize he's a pest.”

It's hard to deny that the overzealous Clouseau can be a pest, but the actor playing him is altogether admired by his colleagues. "I love working with Steve,” beams Simonds, with whom Martin also worked on Cheaper by the Dozen. "He's a brilliant man. He's smart, he's honorable, he's hardworking, and he's ferociously committed to making every joke as fresh as it could possibly be.” 

Jean Reno emphasizes, "It's not only the character that made<

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