Just the other day, I was talking to a friend about ex-Pythons. He was booking Michael Palin for a personal appearance, and mentioned that a co-worker considered him the sexy Python. I agreed, and when John Cleese’s name was brought up as a rogueish alternate, I rebuffed the argument. He’s aged poorly, I said, and squandered the bulk of his credit.

As if in support of my dismissal, it was announced today that Cleese will appear with Steve Martin in what is currently called The Pink Panther 2, scheduled to shoot sometime before a penciled in 2009 release date. Sullying their good name along with Cleese will be Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina and Aishwarya Rai, with second appearances by Jean ‘Soulless’ Reno and Emily Mortimer. For Bollywood veteran Rai, I guess this could conceivably seem like a good move.

Cleese will appear as Inspector Dreyfuss, while the rest of the newcomers will don detective uniforms to fill out the rank and file in the well-paid background.

There is a silver lining: Shawn Levy is not directing. That silver lining is made of feces, however, because Harald Zwart is. He shot to fame with One Night At McCool’s and Agent Cody Banks, you might remember. What…you don’t? Guess what: Zwart doesn’t care. The first Pink Panther made some serious coin ($140M worldwide) and that’s all that matters.