That long-awaited Pee-wee Herman comeback movie reportedly won’t happen on the big-screen now, unless you have a really big screen connected to your Netflix account.
The Wrap reported Monday through an anonymous source that the film, written by Paul Reubens and Paul Rust and produced by Judd Apatow, “moved to Netflix a gazillion months ago.” I believe “gazillion” is a technical show-business term here. One thing’s for sure, it’s no longer set up through Universal Studios, confirmed by a studio spokesperson to The Wrap.
Netflix makes sense if you’re connecting the dots a couple of ways.
In September, the streaming network announced it’ll launch at least two seasons in of a new comedy series, Love, starting in 2016 produced by Apatow and starring Rust.
Soon afterward, Netflix got into the Adam Sandler moviemaking business. Sandler and Apatow are longtime friends and former roommates who collaborated on the big-screen for Apatow’s Funny People.
And consider this November interview Reubens gave to The A.V. Club, in which he said of his in-the-works Pee-wee movie: “I think part of what happened with this project is it got leaked probably a year and a half or two years before we really wanted anyone to know about it. I was doing a Q&A somewhere, and I said I was writing a movie with a guy named Paul Rust, and the next day a journalist called my manager and said, “Paul Rust is someone very associated with Judd Apatow, can you confirm Judd Apatow is involved in the project?” The whole thing got leaked and we had just started. We didn’t have a script yet or anything, so the script took a year and—I don’t really know the answer. I think two years of it was like premature information out there, and then the last two years it’s just been very, very slow to get the right people involved, and we now have such an amazing company involved, and that’s the really big announcement that hasn’t been made yet.”
It all goes back to when Reubens mounted his Pee-wee’s Playhouse on Broadway and for HBO, and then showed up as himself at SXSW in 2011 and talked about the movie he’d agreed to write with Rust for Apatow.
But as The Wrap figures, and you probably would make the same logical leap, as well, when Reubens talks about having a new “amazing company involved, and that’s the really big announcement that hasn’t been made yet,” then you can realize why neither Reubens nor Apatow were in a big hurry to ReTweet or share The Wrap’s conclusions overnight.
Regardless, the actual movie still hasn’t begun production yet. That’s tentatively on the timetable for 2015, with a 2016 release after that, which could neatly coincide with the TV project Apatow and Rust already have planned for Netflix.