WEIRD Director Eric Appel Wants to Make a Paul Reubens Biopic

Jorma Taccone, who played Reubens in 'Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,' would be Appel's first choice to star.

Eric Appel, the filmmaker behind Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, says he wants to make a biopic about the late Paul Reubens. Reubens, the comedian and actor best known as Pee-wee Herman, passed away in July after a years-long, private battle with cancer. Like Yankovic, Reubens became a global phenomenon in the 1980s, but never disappeared from the public eye, and continued to do great work long after that spotlight had started to dim. 

Speaking with on behalf of The AfterParty on Apple TV+, Appel shouted out Reubens as an ideal follow-up to his work on Weird. After all, Reubens (as a character) even showed up in the Weird Al movie!

"You know, I feel like a Paul Reubens -- an actual Paul Reubens biopic," Appel told's Chris Killian. "I feel like that's a story that people would really love."

Appel added that he would love to get Jorma Taccone, who played Reubens briefly in Weird, back for the role.

Reubens launched "The Pee-wee Herman Show" in LA's Roxy Theater in the early 1980s, after infamously getting rejected from Saturday Night Live (who gave Reubens' slot on the cast to comedian Gilbert Gottfried that year). After selling out both late-night shows (for adults) and matinees (for kids), HBO featured The Pee-wee Herman Show on their uncensored stand-up series On Location. Reubens leaned into playing Pee-wee in public outings, appearing in movies like the Cheech & Chong films before getting his own film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, in 1985. Big Adventure made $40.9 million on a $7 million budget and gained a big cult following for Pee-wee Herman, leading to CBS developing Pee-wee's Playhouse with Reubens as a live-action children's program. Pee-wee's Playhouse ran from 1986-1991 and became Reubens' biggest success and most legacy in the entertainment industry, winning 15 Emmy Awards, inspiring generations of children, and even helping launch the careers of actors like Laurence Fishburne. 

"Please accept my apology for not going public with what I've been facing the last six years," Reubens wrote, in a note shared to his Instagram account after his death. "I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect from my friends, fans and supporters. I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you."