Paul Reubens Wants The Safdie Brothers To Make A Dark 'Pee-Wee Herman' Reboot

Once upon a time, Paul Reubens's character Pee-wee Herman was a huge deal. Starting off with a comedy special, graduating to a TV show, and then onto the big screen, the strange man-child character with a fondness for bow-ties and red bikes was a bonafide pop culture phenomenon. Then it all came crashing down when Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure at an adult movie theater.

While Pee-wee never reclaimed the status he once had, the figure remains a cult icon, and in 2016, Netflix revived the character with the film Pee-wee's Big Holiday. But Reubens isn't done with Pee-wee yet. In fact, he wants to make a dark Pee-wee Herman reboot – and he's asked Uncut Gems filmmakers the Safdie Brothers to direct.

THR has a huge profile on Paul Reubens, where the comedian reveals he has a script for a dark Pee-wee Herman reboot up his sleeve. Reubens wrote the first draft of the script back in the 1990s, and describes it as a "Valley of the Dolls Pee-wee movie." In the script, "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." He also receives shock-therapy for his alcoholism.

Reubens pitched this script to Judd Apatow, but Apatow wasn't interested. Instead, he convinced Reubens to write a more traditional Pee-wee story, and the result was the 2016 Netflix movie Pee-wee's Big Holiday. But Reubens still wants to make the dark Pee-wee movie, but he's had a hard time convincing other people to take the project on. Apatow still has no interest, and neither does Netflix.

But what about the Safdie Brothers? Reubens approached the duo, who helmed Good Time and Uncut Gems, and according to THR, they're "considering the project." The budget might get in the way, though. Reubens has an asking price of $3 million, and he also refuses to play Pee-wee without Irishman-style de-aging technology, which isn't cheap.

Personally speaking, the idea of a Safdie Brothers Pee-wee Herman movie is too weird to pass up, so if that actually happens, I will watch the hell out of it. But I have my doubts. However, a big Pee-wee fan from the U.K. has reportedly offered to pay $10 million to make the film if Reubens can raise the rest himself. "I do feel like it's going to probably happen," the performer says. He also says he's not against selling ownership of the character, especially in digital form:

"I think actors are going to be obsolete really quick. And part of me would love to sell the whole thing. That would include my digital scans, a couple of scripts, some other stuff. I don't for one second feel I'm George Lucas or that Pee-wee Herman the franchise is Star Wars, but it's worth something, you know? And I feel like I could step away from it."