Do you hear the iconic Pink Panther theme song playing softly in the distance? If you are, don't be alarmed — you're not hearing things.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Sonic the Hedgehog director Jeff Fowler and Bad Boys for Life screenwriter Chris Bremner are teaming up for a reboot of the classic comedy franchise with a genre twist. Combining elements from the original films that starred Peter Sellers in the famous role of the inept Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the new film will center around a "smooth operating" inspector who, after a traumatic event, gains a pink panther as an imaginary friend. The big cat isn't capable of speech, but aids the main character in solving crimes. Beyond that scant, Harvey/Roger Rabbit-esque description, plot details are being kept under lock and key, much like the eponymous jewel that gave the series its name.
"Popular the world over, the legacy of the iconic Pink Panther has endured for more than 50 years and continues to be discovered by new generations," Michael De Luca, MGM Film Group chairman, and Pamela Abdy, MGM Film Group president, said in a statement to THR. "We are so happy to come together with Jeff, Chris, Larry, Julie, Dan, Jonathan, Walter and Ryan to bring one of MGM's most well-loved franchise back to the big screen and in a way audience have never seen before."
The deal has reportedly been in the works since the beginning of 2020, although talks were somewhat mired by "several rights holders and a search for the right take," reports THR. Rideback, the production company that co-financed Disney's live-action Aladdin remake, will produce the upcoming feature alongside original Pink Panther executive producer Walter Mirisch.
Sellers played Clouseau across six Pink Panther-related films, which helped spawn a number of animated spinoffs for the famous animated panther featured in the opening credits. Three movies were produced after Sellers' death in 1980 and the cinematic series was rebooted in 2006 with Steve Martin portraying Clouseau. He reprised the role for a 2009 sequel. The two projects were helmed by Shawn Levy and Harald Zwart respectively.
Fowler, who began his entertainment career in the world of VFX, made his directorial debut with Sonic the Hedgehog. Released earlier this year, the film was a rare video game adaptation that actually worked, bringing in positive reviews and over $300 million at the global box office. A sequel featuring Tails the Fox has already been green-lit by Paramount and Fowler is expected to return as director.