Here's some news nobody likely expected to hear today, or ever. Paul Reubens is aggressively trying to get a dark Pee-wee Herman movie made, and when we say dark, we mean dark. Not only that, but the Safdie Brothers, who most recently directed Adam Sandler in the critically-acclaimed Uncut Gems, may end up making it. Whether or not it ends up getting made remains to be seen, but this is something Reubens is actively pursuing.
The reveal came as part of a recent profile on Paul Reubens. He was last seen as the iconic Pee-wee Herman in Pee-wee's Big Holiday, which was produced by Judd Apatow and released on Netflix. Even when that movie was being produced, Reubens was trying to convince Apatow that his dark vision for a Pee-wee movie, titled The Pee-wee Herman Story, was the way to go. Ultimately, they settled on a more family-friendly approach. Yet, Reubens is still trying to make his dark vision come to life. Apatow and Netflix have both passed on the project.
Paul Reubens has agreed to make it for $15 million, which is roughly half the cost of Pee-wee's Big Holiday. De-aging technology would be employed to make Reubens look more like his younger self. In the movie, per the report, Pee-wee is released from jail and becomes a yodeling star who moves to Hollywood and finds his way to movie stardom. Things get oddly dark from there, as he develops a severe pill and alcohol addiction that "turns him into a monster." Pee-wee would then be sent to a mental hospital for shock treatment therapy. Reubens had this to say about it.
"I've referred to it as the Valley of the Dolls Pee-wee movie. It's about fame."
As for Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie, they recently took Adam Sandler to a dark place in Uncut Gems, which has become a big hit for A24, with many feeling Sandler was cheated out of an Oscar nomination for his performance. Josh Safdie and Ben Safdie are also responsible for the acclaimed thriller Good Time, which starred Robert Pattinson, who has since gone on to become our new Batman. That has made them a hot directing duo in Hollywood, which makes it all the more surprising to learn that they have been approached to direct The Pee-wee Herman Story and are considering it.
The report notes that studios and finance companies are skeptical. In part, and understandably, due to the content, and the perceived financial viability, or lack thereof, with the project. People know Pee-wee Herman from Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Pee-wee's Playhouse. Nostalgia is big right now, and the right Pee-wee story could do well, but this doesn't seem like the way to play on nostalgic feelings, from a financial standpoint anyway. But the idea of getting the Safdie Brothers involved may be enough to get someone interested. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details on the proposed project are made available. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.