A documentary chronicling the life and career of Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens is in the works at HBO. A two-part documentary, the project hails from HBO Documentary Films and Elara. Uncut Gems directors Josh and Benny Safdie will produce with their producing partner Sebastian Bear-McClard as well as Joker producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff. Matt Wolf will direct.
“I’ve been working with HBO since they were called Home Box Office! I’m honored and excited to continue my long history there. I love HBO, but I’m not going to marry them,” Reubens said of the project in a statement provided to Deadline.
“I’m thrilled to partner with HBO on Paul’s incredible life story,” Tillinger Koskoff also said. “He is a once in a generation talent whose brilliance created an indelible pop culture phenomenon. Audiences will be inspired and entertained by Paul’s creativity, resilience, and determination as they get to know the person behind the iconic character.”
Wolf added: “We all know Pee-wee Herman; it’s time for the world to meet Paul Reubens. I can’t wait to share his story.”
Starting his career as an improv stage actor, Paul Reubens created the Pee-wee Herman character in the early 1980s. When Pee-wee proved to be a hit with live audiences, HBO produced a special about his stage show, giving Reubens his first taste of worldwide fame. This would lead to Reubens starring in two movies as the iconic character, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Big Top Pee-wee, in the late 1980s. He also starred in the popular children’s show Pee-wee’s Playhouse during that time.
Word is HBO’s Paul Reubens doc will not only focus on the comedian’s decades-long run as Pee-wee Herman, but also touch on his personal life as well, dating back to before he had created the character to the two decades he spent pursuing other projects in between his stints wearing the gray suit and red bow-tie. During that time, Reubens took on a plethora of more serious roles, including parts in the adult superhero movie Mystery Men, the teen-horror movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the cocaine-centric Johnny Depp movie Blow.
Reubens has since returned to the role that made him famous, embracing the suit and tie once again for the 2017 Netflix movie Pee-wee’s Big Holiday. He has also returned to the stage with a resurrection of The Pee-wee Herman show on Broadway. Last year, Reubens had been touring with Pee-wee’s Big Adventure for the 35th anniversary of the classic comedy, but the pandemic shut down the tour soon after it had begun.
For the most part, Reubens has been very private about his personal life. Because he is directly involved with the documentary, fans will be able to learn straight from Reubens more about the legendary performer than they ever knew before. Because HBO was also the place where Reubens got his television career started, it only makes sense for him to come full circle back to the cabler to tell his life story. There’s no word yet on when the doc will be released. This news comes to us from Deadline.