The gritty, Logan-style Pee-wee Herman movie the world has demanded may be on its way.
Paul Reubens has been “aggressively shopping” a script for a new Pee-wee film in which the beloved character “gets sent to a mental hospital for shock treatment for his alcoholism,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, which feels the need to clarify that this news is “no joke.”
Apparently, a draft of this script was first written in the late 1990s, and when Reubens brought Pee-wee back for 2016’s Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, he and producer Judd Apatow didn’t see “eye-to-eye” on it. Reubens, after all, was more interested in making what he calls his “dark Pee-wee movie,” which would reportedly rely extensively on de-aging technology like The Irishman.
In the script, the Reporter writes, “Pee-wee 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 said, at which point the Reporter once again chimed in to note that he’s being “dead serious” here.
Neither Apatow nor Netflix apparently want to make the movie, but there’s some interest out there; the Safdie brothers, who directed Uncut Gems, are reportedly considering it. After films like Joker and Logan earned Oscar nominations, could the dark Pee-wee movie be next? With the Safdie brothers eying the project, Reubens may very well have his sights on the Academy Awards while telling himself, “This is how I win.” Brendan Morrow