As Netflix readies “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley” for its premiere on the streamer, another Eddie Murphy vehicle emerges. And this one doesn’t see Murphy reprise an old favorite role of his, like “Axel Foley” or “Coming 2 America.” Instead, Variety reports that the actor-comedian will take over a role previously played by comedy legends like Peter Sellers and Steve Martin. That’s right: Murphy is in talks to play the bumbling Inspector Clouseau in MGM‘s upcoming “The Pink Panther” reboot.
So is this a match made in heaven or a groan-inducing use by MGM of old IP? It all depends on one’s love of Murphy’s comedic style and patience with the original franchise. Sellers first played the role in Blake Edward‘s 1963 film, so popular that a sequel “A Shot In The Dark,” hit theaters the following year. Sellers reprised the Clouseau role three times after that: in 1975’s “The Return Of The Pink Panther,” 1976’s “The Pink Panther Strikes Again,” and 1978’s “Revenge Of The Pink Panther“; the less said about “Trail Of The Pink Panther” and “Curse Of The Pink Panther,” two early ’80s films that used footage of Sellers as Clouseau after his death, the better. Other Clouseaus over the years? Steven Martin, Alan Arkin, and Roger Moore.
But now it’s apparently Murphy’s turn to play the blundering policeman. “Sonic The Hedgehog” director Jeff Fowler directed the new reboot, with “The Man From Toronto” scribe Chris Bremner penning the script. Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich co-produce through Rideback with Larry Mirisch and Julie Andrews.
Beyond “Coming 2 America” and the upcoming “Beverly Hills Cop” sequel, Murphy’s other recent roles include Netflix’s “You People” from earlier this year, and 2019’s “Dolemite Is My Name.” He’s also filming “Candy Cane Lane” right now, a Christmas comedy for Prime Video. And beyond Axel Foley and Inspector Clouseau, Murphy may soon reprise his role as Donkey in the “Shrek” franchise. The actor apparently wants to do a spinoff movie focusing on his character, while a fifth film in the franchise is also in the works.
But does the world need another “The Pink Panther”? The last reboot movie with Martin hit theaters almost fifteen years ago in 2009 to dismal critical reception. So will Murphy have better luck as Inspector Clouseau? Audiences may soon find out.