Pauly Shore is getting ready to sweat to the oldies, as the actor and comedian will play fitness icon Richard Simmons in a new biopic.
The film is currently in development at Warner Bros. subsidiary The Wolper Organization, with additional casting underway.
The reclusive Simmons disavowed the project, posting on social media that he has never “given my permission for this movie.”
The biopic follows an unrelated short film about Simmons from director and writer Jake Lewis. That film, titled “The Court Jester,” will premiere at Sundance on Jan. 19 and also stars Shore as Simmons, as well as Tamra Brown as Ellen DeGeneres and Jesse Heiman as David, a television producer who lost 160 pounds thanks to Simmons, and who tracked his weight-loss journey on the blog “Keep It Up David!” After premiering in Park City, “The Court Jester” will immediately be available worldwide on YouTube.
“I’m really excited about sharing Richard Simmons’s life with the world,” said Shore in a statement. “We all need this biopic now more than ever. Simmons represented mental health, getting people in shape and being his authentic silly self! Whenever he was on TV you could never take your eyes off of him and he brought such a joy to his appearances that represented nothing but a good time.”
Simmons was one of the biggest fitness celebrities and exercise gurus ever, and made frequent appearances on talk shows like “Late Night With David Letterman,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Howard Stern Show.” He became a household name due to his flamboyant, eccentric personality and his successful line of “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” aerobics videos. In his later career, Simmons turned to political activism, advocating for a 2008 bill mandating noncompetitive physical education in public schools. In 2014, he mysteriously disappeared from public life, causing widespread concern among his fans and followers. In 2016, via a phone interview with “Today,” Simmons assured that “no one is holding me in my house as a hostage” and he simply preferred privacy.
Mark Wolper of The Wolper Organization said of the upcoming biopic
The Wolper Organization has produced over 500 films and television projects, which have won two Oscars, 50 Emmys and seven Golden Globes. The studio is responsible for “Roots,” “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” “L.A. Confidential” and much more.