Pee-wee Herman’s next feature-length adventure will be coming to a screen near you courtesy of Netflix, with the streaming service securing the rights to Paul Reubens and Judd Apatow’s upcoming movie, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.
According to a press release, the new film centers around a fateful encounter that inspires Pee-wee to embark on his first holiday vacation. The movie will be directed by John Lee, a go-to director for shows like Broad City and Inside Amy Schumer who’ll make his feature film debut with Big Holiday. Production is scheduled to begin in March.
Rumors about a new Pee-wee movie have been floating around since Apatow and Reubens began formulating the project several years ago. Both are set to serve as producers, while Reubens also wrote the script with comedian Paul Rust, whose credits include Comedy Bang! Bang! and Arrested Development.
“Judd and I dreamt up this movie four years ago,” Reubens said in a statement. “The world was much different back then — Netflix was waiting by the mailbox for red envelopes to arrive. I’ve changed all that. The future is here. Get used to it. Bowtie is the new black.”
Reubens began developing the Pee-wee Herman persona while studying improv comedy in Los Angeles in the 1970s. He adapted the eccentric character for the stage with The Pee-wee Herman Show, which garnered national attention after being filmed and released by HBO as a 1981 special. Following the success of the Tim Burton-directed movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Reubens launched the cult-classic TV series, Pee-wee’s Playhouse. However, the characters next feature film, Big Top Pee-wee, missed the mark both critically and commercially.
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In 1991, Reubens was arrested for masturbating in an adult theater in Sarasota, Florida and went on to retire the character. Reubens brought back the character in 2007 for Spike TV’s Guy’s Choice Awards; in 2010, he jumpstarted Pee-wee’s big revival by mounting The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway. Last year, all five seasons of Pee-wee’s Playhouse were remastered and released on Blu-ray via Shout! Factory.
“I felt like it was a mission and this was what I was supposed to do; I considered it important work,” Reubens told Rolling Stone last year upon the release of a new Pee-wee’s Playhouse box set. “I always sort of thought that this would have a positive effect on kids. And they picked up on that, I think. [Pause] I’ve spent a lot of time rewatching these episodes during the restoration process for this set, and I’m still really proud of what we all did.”