Deadline Hollywood and Variety broke the news today that MGM is developing a new take on the Pink Panther franchise. This time the plan is star the Panther himself in a hybrid live action/animation movie (the Panther himself would be animated via CGI).
The director winning the job is David Silverman (Monsters Inc., The Simpsons Movie) - and that alone is reason to be excited about this latest effort. Silverman has proven his directing chops at Pixar - and with over 20 years at The Simpsons, directing both the 2007 feature and the 2012 Oscar nominated 3D theatrical short (Maggie Simpson In The Longest Daycare).
Neither Steve Martin or Roberto Benigni are involved. There are no plans for the Panther to talk. The Panther's cigarette holder will probably NOT be utilized. The Henry Mancini theme will be heard. Walter Mirisch, Actress Julie Andrews (Blake Edwards widow) and David DePatie are all on board as executive producers.
From the Deadline Hollywood article:
"We are incredibly proud to re-introduce the Pink Panther to a brand new generation in such a fresh way. Even more exciting is the chance to work again with our dear friends Walter Mirisch and Julie Andrews, as well as the talented David Silverman, whose enthusiasm convinced us to 'Think Pink!'," said Jonathan Glickman, president of MGM's motion picture group, who made the announcement today with MGM chairman and CEO Gary Barber.
The Pink Panther originated fifty years ago when it was created by Blake Edwards, Friz Freleng and Hawley Pratt for the opening credits of a 1964 feature film of the same name. The popularity of the cartoon character spawned the Oscar winning short The Pink Phink, a long running series of theatrical cartoons, TV series and holiday specials - not to mention a string of Inspector Clouseau movies.
For more information on the history of the Pink Panther, I highly recommend this book, written by yours truly - now available for a mere 55 cents on Amazon.com. End of Plug! Good luck to David, MGM and DePatie Freleng. I have a good feeling about this!
Below, one of the best of the old theatrical shorts, Pink Plunk Plink (1966). Spoiler Alert: Check out the live action cameo at the end!