Actor Paul Reubens says the much-rumored third Pee-wee Herman movie goes into production early next year.
"There is going to be one," Reubens, 62, told host Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" Wednesday, "and I was hoping I could make this huge announcement tonight, but it's a week away, I think, from being announced. But, yeah, Judd Apatow is producing it still. This was all leaked three years ago, so a little bit is known." He then confirmed: "We hired a director, I can't say [who] yet, but we've hired a director and we going to start in February."
"Is it Steven Spielberg?" Fallon said humorously.
"Steven Spielberg!" Reubens readily agreed, miming, "Noooo," to the audience. "P.T.," he joked, "it's called P.T.," a play on filmmaker Spielberg's famed "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."
Reubens' long-running Pee-wee Herman character starred in a 1970s stage show that became an HBO special, followed by the 1985 movie "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" and CBS' 1986-90 Saturday-morning live-action children's series "Pee-wee's Playhouse." The movie, director Tim Burton's first feature, was a critical and commercial success and has since become a cult film; Fallon told Reubens it was a favorite of his and that as of high-school age, he had counted 150 viewings of the movie.
A sequel, 1988's "Big Top Pee-wee," directed by Randal Kleiser ("Grease") was much less successful.
Sometime after a 1991 arrest for indecent exposure, Reubens retired Pee-wee. He brought the character back in 2007 at Spike TV's Guy's Choice Awards and in 2010 successfully revived Pee-wee onstage in Los Angeles and New York.
Reubens' "Tonight Show" appearance was to help promote the recently released Blu-ray collection of "Pee-wee's Playhouse."