Be­yond the play­house

THE BEST OF REUBENS’ PEE-WEE-FREE AP­PEAR­ANCES

Empire (UK) - - PEE-WEE HERMAN -

Buffy The Vam­pire Slayer (1992) AS: Ami­lyn

Af­ter be­ing ab­ducted by vam­piric hench­man Ami­lyn, Buffy later drives a stake through his heart, with Reubens go­ing to town on an in­cred­i­bly pro­tracted death scene. His first role af­ter his 1991 ar­rest, rather than shy away from what had hap­pened, he in­sisted on look­ing as much like his mugshot as pos­si­ble.

Bat­man Re­turns (1992) /Gotham (2016) AS: Tucker Cob­ble­pot

Seven years af­ter work­ing to­gether on Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Tim Bur­ton cast Reubens as The Pen­guin's dad, who tosses his de­formed baby into Gotham’s river at the be­gin­ning of the film. He was re­cently cast in the role again, for fleshed-out pre­quel du­ties on TV’S Gotham. “It’s been re­ally fun and re­ally thrilling,” says Reubens. “It’s ex­tremely bloody and vi­o­lent.”

Mys­tery Men (1999)

AS: The Spleen

Di­rec­tor Kinka Usher was des­per­ate to cast Reubens in the su­per­hero com­edy: “I was the kick­ing and scream­ing baby say­ing, ‘I have to have him, I have to have him,’” he later said. Reubens re­paid him by com­ing up, well, trumps, as the man who can make peo­ple faint with his abom­inable flat­u­lence.

Blow (2001) AS: Derek Foreal

Loosely based on a real per­son, Derek is the hair­dresser/drug dealer who kick­starts Ge­orge Jung’s (Johnny Depp) il­licit ca­reer with an ob­scene amount of mar­i­juana. Di­rec­tor Ted Demme cast Reubens af­ter watch­ing Pee-wee’s Play­house with his daugh­ter, chal­leng­ing him to come up with a char­ac­ter even “a quar­ter as mem­o­rable as Pee-wee.” Rel­ish­ing a more heavy­weight role, Reubens duly camped it up.

Life Dur­ing Wartime (2009)

AS: Andy

In Todd Solondz’s re-cast se­quel to Hap­pi­ness, Reubens is Andy, the schlub for­merly played by Jon Lovitz, who, hav­ing taken his own life, now re­vis­its his exlove Joy in ghostly vi­sions. It’s a som­bre per­for­mance, and Solondz cast Reubens not only to show­case his emo­tional ver­sa­til­ity, but know­ing that Reubens’ trou­bled his­tory would give the role ex­tra pathos.

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