Just hours after it was announced that Pauly Shore would play Richard Simmons in an upcoming biopic, the reclusive fitness guru has spoken out against the film.
“Hi Everybody! You may have heard they may be doing a movie about me with Pauly Shore. I have never given my permission for this movie. So don’t believe everything you read,” Simmons wrote on Facebook. “I no longer have a manager, and I no longer have a publicist. I just try to live a quiet life and be peaceful. Thank you for all your love and support.”
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A short film titled “The Court Jester,” which also stars Shore as Simmons, will premiere at Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19 and then on YouTube. The short film, directed by Jake Lewis, is unrelated to the biopic, which is produced by Warner Bros. subsidiary The Wolper Organization.
In a statement to Variety, The Wolper Organization said, “While we would love to have [Simmons] involved, we respect his desire to privacy and plan to produce a movie that honors him, celebrates him and tells a dramatic story.”
The production company added, “We know he is deeply private and we would never want to invade that, however he is an amazing person that changed millions of peoples’ lives, and the effect he has had on the world needs to be recognized.”
Simmons, one of the most famous names in fitness, became a household name due to his flamboyant, eccentric personality and his successful line of “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” aerobics videos. He made frequent appearances on “Late Night With David Letterman,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Howard Stern Show” and many more programs, touting his advice and weight-loss strategies. In 2014, Simmons mysteriously disappeared from public life, causing widespread concern among his fans and followers. In 2016, he told “Today” in a phone interview that “no one is holding me in my house as a hostage,” and he simply preferred privacy.
Despite not receiving Simmons’ blessing to play him in a feature film, Shore said in a statement Wednesday morning, “I’m really excited about sharing Richard Simmons’s life with the world. 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.”
Mark Wolper of The Wolper Organization said the studio is in “serious discussions with a major writer” to develop the movie as a “dramatic and heartfelt feature in the tone of ‘Little Miss Sunshine.’”
“We have been dancing around the idea for years, but it never coalesced until several months ago when I saw the press about Pauly Shore being touted by social media as the ONLY person that could play Richard,” Wolper said.
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