If anyone reading this has a few million dollars laying around, give Paul Reubens a call. The actor, best known for playing Pee-wee Herman, is reportedly trying to put together an original script he wrote that would put Pee-wee through the wringer unlike anything audiences have ever seen.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film, which Reubens has been writing since the ‘90s, begins with Pee-wee getting out of prison. He then becomes “an unlikely yodeling star,” moves to Hollywood, becomes a movie star, and “develops a severe pill and alcohol addiction that turns him into a monster.” He also “gets sent to a mental hospital for shock treatment for his alcoholism.” “I’ve referred to it as the Valley of the Dolls Pee-wee movie,” Reubens told the trade. “It’s about fame.”
In fact, it was that movie Reubens wanted to make with Judd Apatow several years ago, but the prolific producer wanted to do something lighter. The result was Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, which was released by Netflix in 2016. That film cost $30 million and Reubens is reportedly only looking for half that to make “the dark Pee-wee movie,” as he calls it. Part of that money would go to him, of course, and part of it would go to de-aging digital technology so he could make Pee-wee look the way Reubens wants, which is much younger than he actually is.
He’s reportedly shopping the film around Hollywood, and though Netflix and Apatow passed, he was in touch with the Safdie brothers, who recently made Uncut Gems with Adam Sander. Plus, the Hollywood Reporter says a Pee-wee superfan from the United Kingdom may even be interested in investing $10 million. But that’s still not enough.
“I do feel like it’s going to probably happen,” he said. “I have a couple of people that are interested. But this is Hollywood. A couple people interested and five bucks will get you five bucks.”
You’d like to say the idea of a dark Pee-wee movie is ill-conceived, but what if in the early 1980s, someone told you they wanted to dress up in a grey suit with a red bowtie and talk with a high pitched voice to a chair that talks back? That might sound like a bad idea too, but it worked out just fine.
Read more about the dark Pee-wee movie and much more about Reubens in the fantastic Hollywood Reporter profile.
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