In this Vulture story, it’s revealed that Warner Brothers is bringing back Pepe Le Pew – who must be one of their favorite animated characters – to the big screen as voiced by Mike (Austin Powers, Shrek) Myers. Pepe Le Pew, if you remember, is a skunk who falls in love with a cat with paint on her tail. Seeing as how it appears their species match (and I guess he’s been alone for a while), Pepe spends most of the cartoon chasing after her, until either the reveal (she’s not really a skunk) and/or the twist (he gets covered in perfume, the hunter becomes the hunted). As a child, it’s silly as Pepe’s possible conquest will run at great speed while Pepe hops along after her at a jaunty pace, but always manages to catch up. Such made horror apologists out of all Looney Tunes fans. As an adult, the joke is that Pepe is a terrible lover (joke for the kids too, because it’s evident he smells bad), but isn’t his pursuit about little more than rape? Sure, he’s being cute about it, hopping along, but he seems willing to take it to the pinball machine if he has to. For old and dead people, the character is based on the title character from Pepe le Moko and its American remake Algiers with Charles Boyer, who – I am to assume – had a pronounced and somewhat seductive accent.
Unfortunately, Pepe Le Pew has always been a one-note premise that plays well in a seven to nine minute cartoon but sounds painful stretched out to narrative length. Which is something Myers has been doing in his starring vehicles for years now, so that’s a perfect fit. Then again, the only thing there for the character – as they’re more than likely to only pay winking homage to Pepe’s enormous libido – is that Myers’s character will be an unaware, self-involved boob. I think Myers has the chops to voice that. You would think Myers would want to capitalize on the goodwill he gets for not being terrible in a Quentin Tarantino film, but maybe he’s saving that for his next live action piece.
The Vulture article says this is all about money, and getting better placement for their cartoon characters, so all marketing tie in’s sell better, and their characters are more visible. So if this works, prepare for an onslaught of similarly themed live action/cartoon hybrids. Oh yeah, this is a live action/CGI hybrid. My guess is they’ll also keep it cheap, so it may be a variant on the first Garfield movie, with a young woman or man being stupid enough to adopt a skunk. Such could lead to someone calling Pepe a smelly pussy. Pepe will also have to leer at whomever is the human love interest. Tres possibilities. But I think they should stick to the roots of the character, and make it all about one lonely skunk’s 90-minute journey to getting laid. If they need a blueprint, I suggest they rip-off The Last American Virgin.
The only good of this will be if they get to a movie about the Peter Lorre style mad Scientist and Gossamer. I want a movie about this guy: