Pee-Wee Herman pitches “dark reboot” to ‘Uncut Gems’ Safdie Brothers
If you’ve always thought what Pee-Wee Herman movies were lacking was despair and non-stop white-knuckle tension, you might be in luck. Following 2016’s surprisingly great comeback Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, Paul Reubens has been pitching new script The Pee-wee Herman Story, which he’s calling a “dark reboot.” According to a feature in The Hollywood Reporter, it’s a Valley of the Dolls type story that “takes his puckish TV persona into dark and unexpected territory (Pee-wee gets sent to a mental hospital for shock treatment for his alcoholism, no joke).”
After Netflix and Big Holiday producer Judd Apatow passed on this new script, Reubens has now given it to The Safdie Brothers, who made 2019’s terrific, gut-wrenching Uncut Gems with another aging man child, Adam Sandler. Reuben’s says The Safdies are considering it. One stumbling block: Pee-Wee is eternally a boy but Reubens is 67. But then he saw The Irishman, which used digital de-aging technology to turn back the clock for Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. “I was so buoyed by that, I realized, I could do [Pee-wee] for 10 more years if I wanted to,” Reubens told Hollywood Reporter. “I think I could do it for a while longer, and just fix my face.” Still, that technology isn’t cheap and The Pee-Wee Herman Story has been budgeted at a very modest $15 million. We shall see.
Meanwhile, Reubens will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure with a tour featuring a screening of the film presented by Reubens with an audience Q&A. The two NYC screenings at Beacon Theatre in March are sold out.