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Since 1st March, 1999
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A broad physical comedy
Steve Martin in The Pink Panther 2: “Pettiness, egocentricity, lack of intelligence, and bumbling, are loveable in a film.”

What do you have to say about reprising the role of Clouseau?

I love playing Inspector Jacques Clouseau. 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.

What according to you makes Inspector Clouseau such a beloved character?

Because I’m playing him (laughs). Sorry, no. It’s strange what film does. I guess the qualities of Inspector Clouseau, which are pettiness, egocentricity, lack of intelligence, and bumbling, are loveable in a film.

So what will Inspector Clouseau be seen doing in The Pink Panther 2? What job is he assigned to do?

Well, Inspector Clouseau along with a team of international detectives is assigned to catch the thief and retrieve the stolen legendary treasures and artefacts from around the world. The major artefacts of the world which are stolen are: the Shroud of Turin, one is the Magna Carta, and then one is a famous sword in Japan, the Pope’s ring and of course the priceless Pink Panther diamond.

How was it working with a huge ensemble cast for the sequel?

The cast was incredible. We have Emily Mortimer and Jean Reno back. And then added to that is John Cleese, one of the great comedians. We have Andy Garcia, a great actor. We have Alfred Molina, who’s also a great actor and comedian. Then we have the very humorous Lily Tomlin. And, of course, the green eyed beauty from Bollywood, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. They all are very friendly and nice people, so the shoot was very enjoyable.

Steve Martin with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in The Pink Panther 2

Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer reprise the role of Ponton and Nicole; what do you have to say about them joining you in the sequel?

It was very important to the filmmakers that the actors playing Ponton and Nicole, Clouseau’s two closest associates, return for The Pink Panther 2. Clouseau’s relationship with both, now clearly established, is developed in the sequel in funny and touching ways. Though Jean and Emily aren’t necessarily known for comedy, they both do it really well.

After All of Me this is your second film with Lily Tomlin. How was it working with her again after a gap of 20 years?

We were both thrilled to be reunited. We have the same sense of humour. When we did our scenes it was very natural and very improvised. We had the script, but we also went off and went kind of crazy. Lily and I don’t pal around, but whenever we see each other it’s like old times. It’s a funny thing about the movie business, you meet people and then you don’t see them for three or four years and then you just pick up where you left off.

Did you have a coach to teach you to speak with a French accent?

Yes, I did have a coach and it was fun to get back into the accent. I love to have a coach. I think I add my own sound to the accent, but I have to say that my coach Jessica is really good.

How was it working with your director Harald Zwart?

It was really great working with Harald. I didn’t really know him before he was hired to do this movie, but I’d seen some of his work and I met with him. But it turned out even better than I could have hoped for. He really knows how to make a movie. He’s economical, he’s easygoing, and he has a sense of humour. Harald is a great guy.

And what do you think of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan? Did you know of her before the movie?

No, I didn’t know about Aishwarya before the movie. I learned later that she is an ex-Miss World and a major star in India who can’t walk down the street. I was jealous of that. She married one of India’s top actors, so they make headlines. She was very, very nice and sweet. She is so charming, beautiful, intelligent and humorous.

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