Pauly Shore is absolutely committed to the idea that he is 1980s fitness icon Richard Simmons — the “Son in Law” star is portraying Simmons in two separate projects.
First, Shore will be seen in “The Court Jester,” a short film directed and written by Jake Lewis that premieres January 19 at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. A teaser trailer with Simmons (Shore) sharing words of wisdom to an overweight production assistant hit YouTube on Wednesday; the full short film will be made available on the same platform following its Sundance premiere.
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Watch the teaser here:
And now, Shore will star as Simmons in a feature-length biopic currently in development at The Wolper Organization, a subsidiary of Warner Bros.; the two projects are unrelated. Additional casting is underway for that film, which was also announced this morning.
Shore has been set on the idea of portraying Simmons for a long time now. During the COVID-19 pandemic he made a series of workout videos called “Sweatin’ with the Wiez,” a take on Simmons’ popular “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” aerobics workout videos. Shore’s social media followers urged him to play Simmons in a biopic.
In 2023, Shore said he reached out to Simmons for his blessing. But as he told Entertainment Weekly, Simmons, who has been reclusive and away from the public’s eye since 2014, preferred to maintain his privacy and “lay low.”
That has not deterred Shore, who said he has known Simmons for decades.
“If we stay consistent to his story, once we start writing it, I think he’ll be all right. But my attitude is: If we build it, he’ll come. That’s my hope,” Shore told EW. “My hope is that he sees that it looks good, it feels good, it’s right. And then he might just say, fuck it at some point — “I’m down. I’ll help you guys, I’ll be part of it, and I’ll hold your hand.” We’ll all hold each other’s hands and we’ll work together.”
Shore said their similarities are beyond looks.
“I like helping people. I like health. I like putting that energy out there,” Shore said. “Through my mom and [The Comedy Store], she helped a lot of people and it kind of got passed down to me — I help comedians and people, and so I really relate to Richard. And I’ve been going to the gym since I was a kid. And I think I’m a little over the top as well, so I feel like I connect with him.”
Shore said he was motivated to try dramatic acting after seeing both of his “Encino Man” co-stars, Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan, win Oscars.
“Everyone wants to have that opportunity and that shot to go get back out there again with the right script and the right director and the right story,” he told EW. “I mean, look at Mickey Rourke and ‘The Wrestler,‘ when he had that run — it happens all the time. So hopefully my stars will line up.”
“The Court Jester” is set in the 2000s during one of Simmons’ appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” In it, Simmons observes an overweight and bumbling production assistant getting yelled at by staff. (No comment from us about art imitating life.)
Following the segment, Shore-as-Simmons monologues that things will get better. The short film is based on a real life TV producer who ended up tracking his weight-loss journey on his “Keep It Up David!” blog.
Lewis is the director of a viral short film about Robin Williams that starred Jamie Costa as the comedian during the “Mork & Mindy” days. “The Court Jester” premieres Friday, January 19 at 9 p.m. MT at Sundance venue the Cabin. For those not in Sundance, check YouTube the same day. See some images from the film below.
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