BREAKING: Some 30 years after he first brought his bow-tied eternal boy character Pee-wee Herman to movie screens in the superb Tim Burton-directed Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Paul Reubens will be reviving the character in a movie for Netflix. The streaming service has announced it will release globally Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a film that producer Judd Apatow has been cooking up with Reubens for some time.
Said Reubens (channeling Pee-wee): “Judd and I dreamt up this movie four years ago. The world was much different back then— Netflix was waiting by the mailbox for red envelopes to arrive. I’ve changed all that. The future is here. Get used to it. Bowtie is the new black.”
Reubens and Paul Rust wrote the script, and making his feature directing debut is John Lee, whose credits include Inside Amy Schumer (with whom Apatow teams on the upcoming comedy Trainwreck). This becomes the latest feature project to bypass theaters for a straight run on a streaming service, with a slate that includes Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend and four film starring vehicles for Adam Sandler that starts with The Ridiculous Six, which stars Sandler, Terry Crews, Lost‘s Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson and Nick Nolte, with Wedding Singer’s Frank Coraci directing.
Apatow, a catalyst for so many comic careers, has been long interested in reviving Reubens, whose career momentum was interrupted by off-screen issues even as his character creation has remained a cult favorite, with the TV kid show Pee-wee’s Playhouse winning 22 Emmys over its five-season run. Reubens has occasionally reminded the world of his comic talent in stints like Murphy Brown, but this will be the biggest thing for him in a long time. He revived the Pee-wee character in a stage run that started in Los Angeles in 2010 and moved to Broadway and got rave reviews.
Given the 30-year time lapse since the first film, it’s questionable how a new film would fare in theaters. Netflix seems an ideal venue to ensure it is widely viewed, without the burden of a big P&A spend. In Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.
“We didn’t hesitate for a moment knowing that Pee-wee’s Big Holiday was such a passion project for Paul and Judd and we are delighted by the opportunity to introduce such a beloved character to a new generation,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.
Said Apatow: “As a fan of Pee-wee Herman since he first appeared on The Dating Game, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the brilliant Paul Reubens on this film. It is a dream come true.”