HBO, Uncut Gems Directors Making Documentary on Pee-wee Herman Star Paul Reubens

The big adventure continues as HBO is getting back into the Pee-wee Herman business. HBO has [...]

The big adventure continues as HBO is getting back into the Pee-wee Herman business. HBO has announced they're teaming up with Uncut Gems directors Josh and Benny Safdie for a two-part documentary about comedy icon Paul Reubens. Uncut Gems producer Sebastian Bear-McClard and Joker producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff will also help shepherd the project which has Spaceship Earth filmmaker Matt Wolf attached to direct. In a statement, Reubens said "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."

"I'm thrilled to partner with HBO on Paul's incredible life story," Tillinger Koskoff added. "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." Deadline describes the project as "A kaleidoscopic portrait told in two parts, the Reubens documentary traces the life of the imaginative artist behind one of pop culture's most unlikely icons: Pee-wee Herman."

"We all know Pee-wee Herman; it's time for the world to meet Paul Reubens," Wolf said. "I can't wait to share his story."

Reubens first started portraying the Pee-wee character on stage with The Pee-wee Herman Show, becoming so popular that HBO made a deal to film and broadcast it as a comedy special in 1981. From there Pee-wee would continue to appear on the stage, selling out New York City's Carnegie Hall and making multiple appearances on Late Night with David Letterman in character.

From there Pee-wee went to the movies as Warner Bros. Pictures gave him a deal to develop a feature film based on the character, resulting in 1985's Pee-wee's Big Adventure, the feature film directorial debut of Tim Burton, which became an instant hit. After this Pee-wee's Playhouse debuted in 1986 and would run for five seasons on CBS, with a big-screen sequel, Big Top Pee-wee, arriving in 1988. Reubens' career came to a halt in the early 90s after he was arrested, but he quickly bounced back after making an appearance at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards where he arrived on stage and asked "Heard any good jokes lately?"

Reubens didn't appear as the character again for decades after this, appearing in minor roles or only providing voice work. His casting in the 1999 movie Mystery Men would bring him back to the public eye for the first time in years, and even saw him doing his first interviews out of character on television. He continued to act after this but in 2010 revived The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway, which in turn lead to another feature film, Pee-wee's Big Holiday on Netflix.