In news we weren’t expecting to hear this week, or ever, Uncut Gems directors the Safdie brothers are apparently considering taking on a Pee-wee Herman reboot movie in which the beloved playhouse-botherer develops “a severe pill and alcohol addiction.”
Pee-wee’s Playhouse star Paul Reubens revealed the curious info in a brand-new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, in which he also discussed his frustrations with Netflix after the release of Pee-wee’s Big Holiday back in 2016 – Reubens wanted to take the character in a different, darker direction, and streaming boss Ted Sarandos wasn’t willing to stump up the cash. Thanks to the deaging technology the Big Holiday team used on Reubens during post-production, though, he felt that Pee-wee’s options were suddenly wide open.
“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.”
Which is where the gritty Pee-wee reboot comes in. The idea had been a passion project for Reubens long before Big Holiday, and he thinks it’s never been a better time to work on it. He described the plot of the proposed movie to THR as following Pee-wee “as he emerges 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.”
“I’ve referred to it as the Valley of the Dolls Pee-wee movie,” Reubens explained. “It’s about fame.”
Although he admits Netflix wasn’t interested in pursuing it, he has now approached the Safdie brothers, who are reportedly mulling it over.
Reubens will be busy promoting the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure this year. The film allowed Reubens to spark a live-action kids TV series, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which aired between 1986 and 1991. In 1988, a further film featuring the character was released. Big Top Pee-wee underperformed at the box office, and it would be almost three decades later that Pee-wee returned via Netflix for Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.
The Safdie brothers are riding high after two critically acclaimed projects. 2017’s Good Time, starring your new Batman Robert Pattinson, and last year’s Uncut Gems, their Adam Sandler-led masterpiece, have placed them in a good position to choose whatever they want to do next at their own leisure. Whether it’ll be a gritty Pee-wee reboot? We can only speculate: no.