The versatile comedian-actor-writer Steve Martin returns as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in The Pink Panther 2, for which he helped write the screenplay. This time around, the bumbling French detective sets his sights on a thief stealing the world's treasures. Martin recently spoke about reprising the role.
ReelzChannel: What's the hardest part about making a comedy?
Martin: With comedy, you never know until you put it in front of an audience. You shoot it and a year later you have no idea if it's going to work. And then you get the response. It's great when it's good.
RC: What's it like filming the action scenes?
Martin: The great thing about a lot of these scenes, like the karate scene, is the other people have to be really good. Like the two kids -- they had to go to practice. But all I had to do was go like this [fight gesture] and try to be comedic. I don't have to look professional. It's really fun to just go out there and sort of wing it with, what do they call that, nunchucks. So it was really fun to shoot. They're difficult to shoot because you're running around a set for three or four days, and breaking glass, and having feathers fly all over you. It was really fun.
RC: Did you have to learn how to juggle?
Martin: I can juggle. I started juggling as a kid. And when I worked at Disneyland, I knew a juggler there named Christopher Faire, and he taught me how to juggle. I used it in my comedy act for a while. When it came time to write this scene, I thought, there'll end up being a juggling scene. You know, it's funny that these ideas start with a little "What if?" and then suddenly you're spending a million dollars to shoot the scene and hoping that it works.
RC: You've got quite a cast.
Martin: The cast to Pink Panther 2 turned out to be fantastic. Not only do we get Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer back, two people I adore, we had John Cleese and Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, one of the great actors along with Andy Garcia, and Aishwarya Rai, one of the great Bollywood stars, Jeremy Irons, and Lily Tomlin. The list goes on and on. It's a really nice cast.
RC: Does it help to have comedians in the cast?
Martin: Lily Tomlin and John Cleese are good examples -- and by the way, so are Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer -- but we'll stick with Lily and John. They're experienced comedy professionals and writers, and that's the perfect combination, to me, because they all performed live. They all have a sense of the audience. And even though there's no audience on the set, we kind of have an instinct about what will work and what won't. And they'll contribute ideas and lines, and they can be spontaneous and play it funny. So it's the perfect combination.
RC: What do you like about this film?
Martin: I like the fact that it's got a good story for the adults and it's got some low comedy and high comedy for everybody. I always think that's a perfect combination, low comedy and high comedy together. And I like that there's a film that's made with actual humans that actually does what animated films can do, which brings [together] slapstick and clean comic fun for family audiences that adults can enjoy.