With Good Time and Uncut Gems, the Safdie Brothers have asserted themselves as modern icons for their nail-biting, panicky dramas about plummets down the rabbit hole of New York City’s underbelly. But imagine if the next leading man to their filmmaking frenzy was none other than Pee-wee Herman? Word is that the pair of directors are considering it. Seriously!
Paul Reubens, the star behind Tim Burton’s ‘80s hit Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, wants to make a different kind of movie about his bicycle-riding, man-child pop culture icon. He has been trying to make The Pee-wee Herman Story for years. That story would follow the fresh-faced, bow-tie-wearing adventurer getting sent to a mental hospital to undergo shock treatment for his alcoholism. Hey, at least he’d have the furniture to talk to…
According to THR, Paul Reubens has been taking this “dark Pee-wee movie” script all around Hollywood, determined to get it made. He’s reportedly willing to make it for just $15 million. He approached Uncut Gems’ filmmakers Safdie Brothers and they are considering it. Here’s how Paul Reubens describes it, dead serious:
I've referred to it as the Valley of the Dolls Pee-wee movie… It's about fame.
The Pee-wee Herman Story would also follow Pee-wee with hopes to become a yodeling star and Hollywood actor. But once he gets to the city of Angels, he’d get into pills and alcoholism. Not only that, Paul Reubens is inspired by the de-aging technology that Martin Scorsese recently spent big bucks for on The Irishman. In his words:
I was so buoyed by that, I realized, I could do [Pee-wee] for 10 more years if I wanted to. I think I could do it for a while longer, and just fix my face.
Back in 2016, Pee-wee returned for his first feature film in almost 30 years for Netflix. The actor collaborated with the streaming service and Judd Apatow for Pee-wee’s Big Holiday. Initially, even then he wanted to go dark with the character, but Netflix and Apatow weren’t interested in that route. He settled for a comedic comeback at the time, but he believes in this new vision.
For the $15 million he’s settled on, this would mean The Pee-Wee Herman Story would have to made on half the budget of his last movie outing. Uncut Gems cost less than $20 million to make, so maybe the Safdie’s are the right guys for the job. The filmmakers certainly could flesh out Pee-wee Herman’s story into a nightmarish exploration of our childhoods. In Reubens' words:
I do feel like it's going to probably happen. 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.
One fan is rumored to have showed up at a meeting dressed in Pee-wee attire alongside Paul Reubens to offer up $10 million of his own money to finance the film. Could it happen? Do you want it to? Sound off in the comments and vote in our poll below!