A FISH CALLED WANDA star Kevin Kline turned down the lead role in the new PINK PANTHER movie - because he felt he couldn't follow Peter Sellers.

Ironically, Kline plays INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU's boss DREYFUSS in the new film, while Steve Martin tackles Sellers' famous bumbling character.

Kline says, "I thought he (Sellers) was a genius and years ago I was offered... I did turn down Inspector Clouseau once a long time ago because it was too sacrosanct for me.

"I've been through that - when I played Richard III, it was so hard for me to forget Laurence Olivier, having seen the movie, that I spent more than half the time in rehearsals unlearning something that had been so ingrained.

"If something leaves that much of an impression I just stay away."

Kline admits he has turned down many roles in the past, including Chicago's BILLY FLYNN both onstage and on the big screen - and he has no regrets.

He explains, "I don't like talking about it but I do think, at times, what a resume I would have if I wrote down the things that I turned down. It's a much more impressive resume than the resume of the things I've actually done."

21/06/2004 10:13