Pauly Shore is set to play television fitness pioneer Richard Simmons in a new biopic.
The as-yet-untitled film is being developed by Warner Bros subsidiary The Wolper Organization.
Shore, the 55-year-old star of 1992’s Encino Man and 1996’s Bio-Dome, already has experience playing Simmons.
He recently played the fitness guru in The Court Jester, an unrelated short film from writer-director Jake Lewis. That film is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this week, and also stars Tamra Brown as Ellen DeGeneres and Jesse Heiman as David, a television producer who lost 160 pounds thanks to Simmons.
In a statement seen by Variety, Shore said: “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.”
Simmons entered the public eye in the 1980s after opening a Beverly Hills gym, initially called The Anatomy Asylum and later Simmons.
He became known for his regular appearances on TV and radio talk shows, including the Late Show with David Letterman and The Howard Stern Show, and for his popular series of aerobic videos Sweatin’ to the Oldies.
His fame led to further film and television appearances across a variety of genres, including General Hospital, The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development.
Simmons has not made a public appearance since 2014. In 2016, he gave a phone interview to The Today Show to deny rumours that he was being held hostage by his housekeeper.
In 2017, the podcast Missing Richard Simmons was launched to investigate his sudden disappearance from public life, and then in 2022 the TMZ documentary What Really Happened to Richard Simmons claimed that it was knee problems that forced Simmons to retire from his fitness career.
Simmons has repeatedly stated that he has simply chosen to live his life away from the public eye. Most recently, in 2022, his representative Tom Estey said in a statement to the New York Post: “Richard is eternally grateful for the continuous outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from across the Globe. He is happy, healthy and living the life he has chosen to live.”