Paul Reubens hoped that a stage revival would kickstart development on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: The Movie, and sure enough, he reached just the right audience. Judd Apatow attended The Pee-Wee Herman Show, in which Reubens reprised his ultra-silly character from the eighties, in Los Angeles this winter. It turns out that Reubens’ feature script, co-written with Paul Rust (Moral Orel), is housed at Apatow’s home studio, Universal. A couple of meetings later, Apatow is now on board as producer. Hit the jump for comments from the parties involved. [Update: Click here for Reubens providing more details about the project.]
Apatow remarked to Variety:
“Let’s face it, the world needs more Pee-wee Herman. I am so excited to be working with Paul Reubens — who is an extraordinary and groundbreaking actor and writer. It’s so great to watch him return with such relevance.”
Reubens counts himself lucky to have caught the eye of Apatow:
“There is no one like Judd in our business — he loves comedy with emotion and heart, and he sees what we do as art. I can’t believe I’m getting this opportunity to be working with him.”
The prolific Apatow is definitely a good man to have in your camp. To me, Reuben’s hopes for a Pee-Wee movie always seemed like a bit of a pipe dream; I’m pleased to be wrong in, as it looks like the project is on track to tap into some grade-A nostalgia.
Reubens debuted the character in the early eighties on the Hollywood stage, taking the character to Late Night with David Letterman, an HBO special, and even Carnegie Hall. Then in 1985, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure marked the feature directorial debut of a young Tim Burton. The film’s financial success warranted the television spinoff Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, which placed Reubens at the center of a wacky children’s show from 1986-1991. After a successful run this year in L.A. Reubens will take the Pee-Wee Herman Show to Broadway in October.
In addition to Pee-Wee, Apatow’s producerial slate includes:
- Bridesmaids, which stars Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph
- Wanderlust, toplined by Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston
- Business Trip, which stars Mrs. Apatow herself, Leslie Mann