Last month, Paul Reubens hinted that Josh and Benny Safdie, hot off the fever dream that is Uncut Gems, were at least somewhat interested in a “dark and unexpected” Pee-wee Herman story that Reubens has been shopping around. It’s highly unlikely the brothers would take on the project, especially given the plethora of projects that are no doubt piling up at their feet these days, but that doesn’t make the sheer prospect of it any less intoxicating. There’s always been a deranged, sweaty undercurrent to Reubens’ performances, after all, and some subversive direction could easily turn the story, in which Pee-wee is “sent to a mental hospital for shock treatment for his alcoholism,” into a biting satire about fame, infantilization, and the corruption of our childhood idols.
Alas, the closest we’ll likely get to the story is the below trailer. Cut together by Austin filmmaker Austin Tolin, Uncut Pee-wee mashes together clips from each and every Pee-wee movie with Oneohtrix Point Never’s pummeling Uncut Gems score, some repurposed audio, and, for good measure, a few clips of Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born character. The latter serves to integrate a fresh-out-of-prison Pee-wee into the debaucherous Hollywood ecosystem in this rendering, and it isn’t long before it corrupts him absolutely.
“I’ve been thinking about how there are hints of this new, darker tale throughout the trove of Pee-wee appearances over the years—enough, in fact, that the existing footage might fit together,” Tolin told The A.V. Club via e-mail.
Reubens last reprised the character in feature form with 2016's Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, which we quite liked. We implore someone, somewhere to give Reubens the money to make more Pee-wee.