Paul Reubens Talks TRON: UPRISING and the New Judd Apatow-produced PEE-WEE HERMAN Movie

     May 20, 2012


The animated series TRON: Uprising, premiering on Disney XD on June 7th, takes place after the 1982 feature film and before the events in TRON: Legacy. Produced in CG animation with a 2D aesthetic, the series follows the heroic journey of a new character named Beck (voiced by Elijah Wood), a young program who becomes the unlikely leader of a revolution inside the computer world of The Grid.  You can watch the first episode here.

At the press day for this highly anticipated new show, actor Paul Reubens, who voices Pavel, General Tesler’s (voiced by Lance Henriksen) untrustworthy base commander who will do whatever it takes to get ahead, talked about finding the voice for the character, playing a villain, and how he had a toy from the original TRON movie.  He also gave an update on the status of the next Pee-Wee Herman movie (produced by Judd Apatow), and his love of reality television, even alluding to the fact that he might be developing his own reality show.  Check out what he had to say after the jump:

paul-reubens-tron-uprisingQuestion: Since he’s not in the pilot much, what can you say about your character, Pavel?

PAUL REUBENS:  Honestly, I saw it twice and could not pick out my character in it.  I said, “Are you guys sure I’m in it?,” and they went, “Yeah, you’re absolutely in it!”  I’m featured way more in every other episode, including the first episode after the pilot.  I don’t know what to tell you about it.  I had the same problem in The Smurfs.  I have one line as a Smurf.   I think somebody went, “What happened to Jokey Smurf?,” and they went, “Oh, my god!,” and wrote a line.  But, I just did the sequel, and I only have one line again.  I feel like I should lay down to be talking about this, but the only thing I can figure out is that Jokey Smurf has a bomb.  That’s his thing.  He’s got a gift with a bomb, and maybe they’re thinking that shouldn’t play with kids, so they cut him out.  But, I was shocked about TRON because I couldn’t wait to actually hear it and I got to the end of the show, after seeing my name credit at the beginning, and I don’t know where I’m in it.  But, I’m assured that I am in it.

Is it your actual voice?

REUBENS:  No, it’s a very deep, dark, scary voice, but I couldn’t pick it out.  I don’t know.  You’re going to have to see Episode 1 because I’m evidently featured very heavily in that.

Is it a welcome departure to voice a villain?

REUBENS:  I’ve done some pretty heavy stuff already in cartoons, but yeah, this is certainly a real villainy, “Let’s throw some characters out in front of the bus,” “Let’s de-res some people,” kind of guy.

Were you a big fan of TRON, before doing this?

tron uprising imageREUBENS:  If I was, I didn’t realize it until this happened.  I had a toy from the original.  I had one of the Light Cycles.

How is the progress going on the next Pee-Wee film that you’re doing with Judd Apatow?

REUBENS:  It’s going great!  We have a meeting this coming week, and we just did a very quick little rewrite on it.  As far as I know, it’s getting shot very soon.  I actually wasn’t supposed to talk about it, initially.  I was talking about it in this very veiled, secretive way, saying, “Oh, I wish I could talk about it.”  A journalist figured out that it was Judd Apatow that I was talking about because my writing partner was in the audience and he’s written so much with Judd.  So, it got leaked about six months to a year before it was supposed to.  I’ve been warned not to talk about any of my new projects, but that I can talk about because I blew it and it’s out.  It’s even on IMDB now.  So, that’s any minute, supposedly.  Right after that, I’m following that up with two incredibly exciting projects.  I would give anything to be able to just brag to you right now and drop some names, but I can’t.

Tron-Uprising-posterYour name has been attached to all of these cultural pinpoints, with Cheech & Chong, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and now TRON.  What’s that like for you?

REUBENS:  I thought about that a couple weeks ago.  This is giving me this new cred with the fanboys and the sci-fi community.  I was at Comic-Con this past year, when Disney XD was there for TRON, showing the teaser stuff, but I was there in my Pee-Wee persona.  I feel like now I could go to Comic-Con and actually just be at Comic-Con.

With all the different things you’ve done in your career, would you ever consider doing a reality series?

REUBENS: Well, like I said, I’m not allowed to speak about my future projects.  I’m not allowed to talk about it.  I’m really not.  But, I love reality television.  Many years ago, I was offered to be on one of the shows that I felt insulted to be called about.  It was called The Surreal Life, with all those D-list people in a house together.  I got that call every year, for three or four years in a row, and I was like, “What?!  How dare they!”  Saying yes to that is like officially acknowledging that you are D-list.  One year, I actually knew who was doing it ahead of time and I said, “If you guarantee me that I can be Pee-Wee Herman through the whole show and never drop character, and I can be Jose Conseco’s roommate, I’ll do it.”  And they said, “No.”  But, ever since then, I’ve wanted to do a reality show.  Ever since that moment, I just felt like, “You know what?  I know I could be really funny, in that situation.”  It wouldn’t be shocking to see me in a reality show.  That’s all I’m saying.

For more on TRON: Uprising, here’s our interview with Elijah Wood and Mandy Moore.

TRON: Uprising will air on Thursdays on Disney XD, starting June 7th.