When an actor manages to score early fame through an iconic role, it can be a huge boost to their career. But with that jump in notoriety comes the risk of being forever associated with that first breakthrough part, causing some actors to go through great lengths to distance themselves from it.
Take Daniel Radcliffe, for instance. Fearful of bearing the tormenting shouts of "Hey, Harry Potter!" his whole life, he took drastic measures. Next thing you know, he's on stage, naked, with a horse, and I'm left unsure of what would be more degrading to shout if I see him on the street.
Remember when Lindsey Lohan was playing cute twin girls trapping their parents, or a girl switching places with a hermaphrodite mom? Now she's playing kidnapped strippers, she's in rehab, and never seems to wear pants. Try to label her, society!
And don't tell me you wouldn't still be calling Christopher Reeve "Superman" if he hadn't made himself--well, let's just say it--the exact opposite of a Superman.
Thus, it came as no surprise when Paul Reubens, doomed to be remembered for connecting dots and living amongst anthropomorphic furniture, retired the Pee-Wee character, publicly masturbated, and played a coke dealer. You got to do something, right? But what is surprising is the recent announcement he made to MTV, saying that he's planning on reviving the character that made him famous, and has two scripts in the works, the first due for a 2009 release. Said Pee-Wee:
I feel like the time is really ripe right now. A lot of the kids who grew up with the show are young adults. The college kids are middle-aged adults. I feel like I have enough of a built-in audience to make back an investment.
It just goes to show you, a bird can fly as far as it wants from the nest, but it always ends up returning for its giant ball of aluminum foil. Or something like that.
Reuben to Return as Pee-Wee Herman [Contact]