Paul Reubens is desperately trying to get another Pee-wee Herman movie off the ground. The character achieved mainstream success in the ’80s and ’90s. However, Pee-wee suffered a major setback when Reubens couldn’t keep it in his pants (seriously, look it up).
Somehow, Netflix saw potential for another film and greenlighted what would become the 2016 film Pee-wee’s Big Holiday. But it’s been four years since that film and my guess is Reuben’s bank account is looking a bit light, because he just let THR do a huge profile on him.
The most interesting part of the profile is when Reubens reveals he has written a script for a dark comedy starring Pee-wee. Even more interesting is that he has asked the Safdie Brothers (Uncut Gems) to direct it.
The script has been around in various drafts since the 1990s. Herman describes it as a “Valley of the Dolls Pee-wee movie” that sees “Pee-wee emerge from prison to become an unlikely yodeling star; then moves to Hollywood and becomes a movie star; then he develops a severe pill and alcohol addiction that turns him into a monster.” It looks like it follows the type of journey narrative that made the first Pee-wee movie such a hit.
Apparently, Reubens first pitched this dark Pee-wee movie to Judd Apatow, who wasn’t interested. And neither is Netflix. But the Safdie Brothers? Well, buckle up buckeroos!
THR says the duo is actually “considering the project.” However, the proposed budget might stop things dead in its tracks. Reubens’ asking price is $3 million (okay?), and he refuses to play Pee-wee without de-aging technology (um, what?).
Reubens believes the film is “going to probably happen.” He follows that up by launching into talking about selling digital scans of himself for someone to make future Pee-wee movies:
“I think actors are going to be obsolete really quick. And part of me would love to sell the whole thing. That would include my digital scans, a couple of scripts, some other stuff. I don’t for one second feel I’m George Lucas or that Pee-wee Herman the franchise is Star Wars, but it’s worth something, you know? And I feel like I could step away from it.”
Since the rise of CGI, some have wondered if actors will one day be replaced with lifelike CGI doubles. However, I still think we’re a decade away from that technology being 100% perfect without it occasionally looking like uncanny valley. Plus, the thought of a digital Pee-wee running around the screen would just make the character even creepier. I sure don’t need that as added nightmare fuel.
Would you watch a Pee-wee Herman movie if the Safdie Brothers directed it? Do you think actors selling digital scans of themselves will be the next big trend? Let us know in the comments!