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Even though he’ll be turning 61 on August 27th, Paul Reubens will always be a child at heart. Specifically, a big grey-suit and bow-tie-wearing child named Pee-wee Herman. And while the silly and slightly psychotic character had his heyday back in the late 1980s, he has experienced a resurgence in the last few years, with a Broadway show and constant talks about returning to screens both big and small. In fact, the L.A. Times reports Reubens has confirmed the upcoming Judd Apatow-produced Pee-wee feature film has landed its director. Only Reubens is playing coy and he isn’t telling anybody who it is yet.
Reubens says the script he co-wrote with comedian Paul Rust is finished and that the film’s financing has been secured, with production set to begin at some point in 2014. While it would have been pretty amazing to get Apatow in the director’s chair, I seriously doubt that’ll be the surprise. What about if the franchise came full circle and landed Tim Burton for the job? (Burton’s first feature was 1985’s Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure). A Freaks and Geeks reteaming of Apatow and director Paul Feig would also be pretty spectacular.
Also on the horizon is a new TV series, though there aren’t any conceptual details to go on here. It might be a return to Pee-wee’s Playhouse, or it might be something else entirely. So long as it takes place far, far away from the setting of the completely misguided Big Top Pee-Wee, I’ll be a happy guy. Reubens only says an announcement regarding the show is “imminent.”
"Short of something unforeseen like the studio going out of business, I think it’s very likely both these projects will happen next year," he said. I can think of worse things coming in 2014. At least this isn’t a remake or a reboot with a completely different creative team behind it.
Reubens isn't only keeping himself busy with his signature role either. He recently signed on for a role in the Once Upon a Time spinoff Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and has a line or two in Smurfs 2 as Jokey Smurf. Why only a line or two?
“My theory is that it’s because of the times,” Reubens half-joked. “Jokey Smurf in the cartoon would carry around a package that was a bomb. He’d give it other Smurfs as a present and then it would blow up. He’s a victim of the times."
Because it’s no fun saying the magic word when you’re all alone, get in the Playhouse spirit by watching the below video for the “Snack Time” segment of his Broadway show.