Pauly Shore will play fitness star Richard Simmons in a biopic – see the first look comedian in the character.

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“Hey,” Pauly Shore answers the phone, chatting with EW about his latest venture while on the treadmill at a gym in Austin.

His current setting is fitting, considering he’s set to portray a renowned fitness icon in an upcoming biopic, as exclusively revealed by EW. Shore shares that he’s hitting the gym for his portrayal of Richard Simmons, aiming to maintain a positive attitude and bring people together.

The comedian and actor took note of fan suggestions from his YouTube and social media, where followers pointed out his resemblance to the lively Simmons. The fitness guru gained fame through his “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” aerobics videos and talk show appearances.

Shore says he feels a deep bond with Simmons. He says, “He is me. I enjoy helping people. I care about health. I like spreading positive vibes. My mom and [The Comedy Store] were very supportive of others and I inherited that trait – I assist comedians and people, and that’s why I identify with Richard. I’ve been working out since I was young. And I think I’m a bit extravagant too, so I think I relate to him. And I’ve met him a long time ago. I started in the ’90s… I would always run into him and I would always hug him and high five him and stuff.”

He is determined to tell Simmons’ story in a biopic, and he is working on a film that he hopes to film this summer with Mark Wolper’s award-winning production company, the Wolper Organization (a part of Warner Bros. Entertainment). He also collaborated with Jake Lewis, who made a viral short film about Robin Williams, on a short film called The Court Jester, which will debut this week in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival.

EW has a sneak peek of Shore as Simmons, and a trailer for the short film. Shore also talks about his link to the now withdrawn celebrity, his response to the resemblance, and if Simmons will be part of the project.

PAULY SHORE: Well, I think it’s awesome. I think the audience has a lot of power in this industry that we’re in now. They came up with the idea. I mean, I made these videos of me exercising in my backyard called “Sweatin With the Wiez” from Vegas… people comment and you see what they say. That’s how it started. People always tell me that I look like Richard Simmons. I’ve even heard that in public – people would say, “Hey, man, how are you? I recognize you! You’re Richard Simmons.” So that happens sometimes. It was already out there.

Did you think you looked like him?

I guess, a little. Yeah, I do. That’s a nice thing to say, by the way. He’s very good-looking. And his style and my style are both very extravagant and impulsive, so that’s already part of me. So you have all these things that make me similar to him.

Pauly Shore as Richard Simmons in ‘The Court Jester’ short film.PHOTO: Issak Morin

You tried to reach him for a while, right? Did you finally talk to him?

He sent a message through his people saying that he loves me and my mom and the Store and everything, but he wants to stay out of the public eye for now. That’s what he said. After that, I got contacted by the Wolper Organization, who have a deal with Warner Bros [and] who are interested in making a Richard Simmons biopic — we have a shopping agreement at the moment. So every week we’re hearing from different writers and their ideas on how they would make the movie. That’s the stage we’re at.

And then [my managers] got another random email from this director named Jake Lewis who made the Robin Williams short and he said he wants to make a Richard Simmons short, not knowing that I already had a deal with this production company. I said, “Show me the script.” So he showed me the script and he did a great job. He nailed it. I didn’t have any changes. And I saw his skills as a director and his DP, and the way he filmed the Robin screen test, I was like, wow, this guy’s awesome. And then I met with him, and then we clicked on the vibe and everything, and then we made that before Christmas… My hope is that once this thing gets out there and if it gets the reaction that we want it to, more writers will come forward and more people will see, like, oh wow, okay, this is the mood, this is the feel, this is the look, this is the style. But life’s weird. You never know.

The short film only has one location, right? All at the Ellen DeGeneres Show?

That’s right. It’s set in the early 2000s and Richard’s getting ready to go on Ellen, An actress named Tamra [Brown], and then there’s a clumsy PA (Jesse Heiman) on the set, and he’s a little overweight and he’s kind of in the way of everyone — everyone’s kind of shouting at him because Richard Simmons is there and it’s just very awkward for him. And Richard sees this happen. So Richard goes out and he does his thing on Ellen, and then afterwards there’s this whole speech that I give — or Richard gives — to his clumsy PA by the food table where I tell him how wonderful he really is and how special he is, and help him feel better about himself. It starts off kind of funny, and then the last part is Richard’s message.

Pauly Shore as Richard Simmons in ‘The Court Jester’ short film. PHOTO: Issak Morin

Do you envision the film focusing on a specific period in Richard’s life, or are you open to various ideas?

I believe the latter part of your question captures it accurately because, ultimately, you want to let creative minds do their thing. When you’re presented with different concepts, each person brings a unique perspective and style. I don’t want to pinpoint exactly what it should be. I want to hear the story, connect with that particular moment in time, and contribute something meaningful from there.

Regarding Richard’s decision to step back and not actively participate, do you see it as providing creative freedom, or do you prefer having his input and insights?

Well, he’s documented his story in a book, and there’s a wealth of information available. If we remain true to his narrative, I think it will work out. My approach is this: If we create something compelling, he might be inclined to join. That’s my hope. I hope he sees the project as appealing, authentic, and fitting. At some point, he might say, “I’m in. I’ll support you guys, be part of it, and guide you through.” We can collaborate and work together. Richard Simmons was an incredibly special individual with a powerful message, and I believe that message is even more relevant today, addressing mental health, obesity, and self-care. He had a unique way of making people feel at ease and having fun, and I think that message is now more important than ever.

You always felt happy when you saw him on TV, right? But we know that he had some hard times behind the scenes. So I guess from your point of view, not just because of all the ways that you relate to him or resemble him, that what you might get to explore from an acting point of view must be a thrilling thought.

Yes, it is. I mean, you look at the Elton John biopic, the Freddie Mercury biopic, even if anyone does my biopic — the happier people are, the sadder people are. People in the entertainment business give their heart and their soul to the public, but alone they’re kind of worn out in a way. And I think that makes it very relatable. Once we start to uncover the layers of who this guy was, it’ll be interesting what we find out. I know he was bullied a lot because he was chubby — that was a big deal, and that was probably part of his drive and his reason to get in shape. But again, we’re just starting to dig deeper right now as far as the story. We know that he’s kind of wanting to just stay in his house, and he just wants to relax. From what I understand, he’s not sick, which is great, and he is just relaxing. So that’s where he’s at, but people miss him and people love him.

You were very openly supportive of your Encino Man costars, Brendan Fraser and Ku Huy Quan the past couple of years, with all their huge successes and Oscar wins. Did seeing their “comebacks” inspire you to want to make a movie and get out there and more?

Yeah, it’s part of it. But more importantly, I think it’s the right story. The comeback and all that other stuff is something everyone wants to have. Everyone wants to have that chance and that shot to go get back out there again with the right script and the right director and the right story. I mean, look at Mickey Rourke and The Wrestler, when he had that run — it happens all the time. So hopefully my stars will align… I’m hoping for the best, and I hope that we get a great writer because if it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage. We’ve got to make sure that that’s perfect before we even start moving forward.

The Court Jester premieres during Sundance at 9 p.m. MT on Friday, Jan. 19, at the Cabin in Park City, Utah, and will be available to stream that night on YouTube. There will be a second screening at 9 p.m. MT on Monday, Jan. 22, also at the Cabin.

About Post Author

Erin Clack

• Erin Clack has more than 15 years of experience working as a journalist, with a focus on fashion, parenting and entertainment news. •She joined usnewsdaily in 2023 and currently serves as a Writer-Editor. •Before joining usnewsdaily Erin worked for Condé Nast, Penske Media and Wild Sky Media in various roles. Experience Erin Clack has more than 15 years of experience working in both print and digital news. She joined usnewsdaily in 2023 and currently serves as a Writer-Editor. Before joining usnewsdaily , she worked as a writer and editor for several different brands. She held various staff roles at Condé Nast and Penske Media, covering the fashion and footwear industries, and served as Deputy Entertainment Editor for Wild Sky Media's CafeMom and Mom.com sites
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