Pauly Shore’s new unauthorized short film biography on fitness icon Richard Simmons is attracting both criticism and curiosity ahead of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, titled “The Court Jester,” features Shore as Simmons and explores the star’s life and his retreat from the public eye over the past decade.
Simmons Publicly Denounces the Biopic
Richard Simmons himself has spoken out against the film, stating that he never gave Shore permission to make a film about his life. In a rare public statement, his first in over two years, Simmons said:
“Nothing about this endeavour is authorized by myself or my team. It is unfortunate that someone would attempt to benefit from my life story without my consent.”
Simmons, now 75 years old, abruptly stopped making public appearances in 2014 and has guarded his privacy ever since. His publicist, Michael Catalano, also commented:
“At a time when inclusion, diversity and toxicity in the arts are paramount, it’s disappointing to see Pauly Shore’s desperate attempt at relevance is achieved by ridiculing an American icon who has spent over five decades bringing health, happiness and self-esteem to millions.”
Shore remains determined to move forward with the release of the film at Sundance, stating:
“I have nothing but love and respect for Richard. This is my homage to him. I’m going for accuracy here and I wish him the best always.”
The Court Jester | Source: Collider
|The Court Jester movie poster showing Pauly Shore as Richard Simmons. Source: Collider
Curiosity Mounts Around the Enigmatic Simmons
While Simmons himself wants no part of it, many are intrigued to get a glimpse into his very private world after he retreated from the spotlight. Once an ever-present face on television and at public appearances, Simmons suddenly stopped being seen in public after 2014.
In the time since, intense speculation has mounted around why one of fitness’s most enthusiastic promoters went into seclusion and what his life is like now. Shore’s biopic promises to provide some insight, with the actor stating:
“I really think I transformed into Richard Simmons. I can definitely morph into this guy. I’m ready to show the world the trailer and show them what I’ve been working on to embody the fitness guru.”
Shore has even gone so far as to send a direct video message to Simmons stating:
“Richard, God bless you. Thank you for all the inspiration you’ve given me. I’m just showing a little story of what I think happened to you, dude.”
While Simmons remains displeased, many longtime fans are eager to get a glimpse at Shore’s depiction of the star’s retreat from fame.
What Shore’s Court Jester May Reveal
Details around the short film remain limited for now, but some tantalizing morsels have emerged. Images show Shore looking nearly identical to Simmons, capturing his bouffant gray hair, distinctive mustache, and flamboyant exercise outfits.
In the film, Shore-as-Simmons is depicted both in his glory days of leading lively aerobics classes in the 80s as well as in more recent isolation.
The film’s logline states:
“After slipping on a roller skate and becoming comatose, fitness guru Richard Simmons wakes up 10 years in the future – only to find he’s been forgotten.”
Whether the film reveals any truths behind Simmons’ real-world absence or simply imagines a fanciful explanation remains to be seen. But Shore maintains that the film comes from a place of affection.
At a time when public interest in Simmons is as high as its been in years, Shore’s passion project seems poised to capture significant attention as it debuts at Sundance this week. While Simmons decries the effort as exploitative, audiences may find that Shore’s spoof provides a thoughtful tribute to one of fitness’s most iconic pioneers.
What Comes Next
As Shore’s film premieres at Sundance, it will undoubtedly capture significant media buzz. Reviews will reveal whether Shore successfully channels Simmons’ essence or falls short in his attempted homage.
Public response may also indicate whether there is an appetite for more content exploring Simmons’ unusual departure from fame. Although Simmons remains opposed to such invasive spotlighting of his very private life in recent years, curiosity about his self-imposed exile continues given his previous omnipresence in popular culture for so long.
For Shore, the film represents a high-profile comeback attempt after years out of the mainstream public eye, not entirely unlike Simmons himself. The intersection of these two former A-listers who now inhabit the fringes of fame make for compelling drama both on screen and off.
How Richard Simmons ultimately responds if the film gains traction also remains to be seen. He may continue pushing back aggressively against attempts to probe his very guarded private world. But interest seems unlikely to dissipate given his still-legendary status in the fitness world.
Ultimately the film brings Simmons’ decades-long career full circle – from leading flamboyant exercise classes in his heyday, to a fictional coma waking up to find his relevance depleted, echoing Simmons’ real-world absence as his star has faded from view. For better or worse, Shore’s passion project has already brought Simmons more attention than he has received in years, indicating that the public’s fascination with the fitness pioneer remains strong regardless of his own desire to be forgotten.
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