It started on the stage. Then it was on HBO. That led to a movie, then a long Emmy-winning run on CBS, followed by another film and a return to the stage. Now Paul Reubens and his PeeWee Herman character are headed to Netflix for a third film, Pee-wee's Big Holiday, to be produced by Judd Apatow.
Reubens and Paul Rust (Comedy Bang! Bang!, Arrested Development) wrote the new film, which will premiere exclusively on the streaming service. John Lee (Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer) is making his feature film directorial debut on the film, with production beginning early this year. Netflix has not announced a release date.
The original The Pee-wee Herman Show premiered at The Groundlings Theatre in Los Angeles on Feb. 7, 1981, at midnight; Reubens had created the character while a member of the improv troupe. Later the show moved to L.A.'s The Roxy on Sunset Strip for a five-month run. Premium cable network HBO picked up the show as a special, introducing the character nationwide. In 1985 director Tim Burton made his debut directing Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and in 1986 Reubens's act found its way to CBS's Saturday morning timeslot as Pee-wee's Playhouse, a children's show that was enjoyed as much by adults for its double entendres. Pee-wee's Playhouse garnered 22 Emmy Awards during its five-year run.
After the CBS show ended, Reubens eventually returned to the stage, most recently in a 2010 Broadway production of The Pee-wee Herman Show, which HBO also aired -- 30 years after its original special with the actor.
For Netflix, the deal is the latest in a string of recent feature film announcements. The company in August will premiere the upcoming sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Legend, and it has multi-picture deals with Adam Sandler and the Duplass brothers.