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Pauly Shore's Richard Simmons Biopic Controversy, Explained

Actor and comedian Pauly Shore is set to portray legendary fitness personality Richard Simmons in a brand-new biopic, but before the project even has a name or starts filming, there's been plenty of controversy surrounding the production and Simmons' disdain and disapproval of it.

Simmons, who rose to fame in the 1980s and '90s for his energetic personality and enthusiasm promoting health and fitness — primarily on television – stepped away from the public eye in the mid-2010s in a concerted effort to stay out of the spotlight. Enter former star comedian Shore, whose career has largely flatlined over the past two decades after starring in "Encino Man" and "Bio-Dome" in the '90s. Shore played Simmons in the 2024 short film "The Court Jester," and announced earlier in 2024 that he was teaming up with The Wolper Organization for a new Simmons biopic where he'd play the title role.

Despite the actor's enthusiasm about playing the icon on the big screen, the reclusive Simmons shared that he didn't give Shore or the studio his approval to make the biopic: "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." 

Pauly Shore apparently doesn't care about Richard Simmons' disapproval

Despite Richard Simmons publicly dismissing the proposed film and later hinting that he was meeting with studios to make an authorized version, Pauly Shore doesn't seem to hold the former health guru's wishes in high regard. In a set at the Comedy Store (via Variety), Shore said, "I'm also gonna be starring in the Richard Simmons biopic ... whether he likes it or not, Richard," while calling Simmons' disapproval "just another f***ing bump in my f***ing road." 

Shore also responded to Simmons' statement on his Instagram page, in a lengthy and bizarre post in which he claimed to have cried after reading Simmons' comments. He alluded to meeting Simmons decades ago at comedy clubs, and further pleaded his case to play him in the unauthorized biopic: "Richard, how do you not approve of this movie?" Shore wrote. "I mean, really, who's better to play you in a movie than ME? Leonardo DiCaprio's not gonna play you. Brad Pitt's not gonna play you. I'm perfect. Everyone already thinks I'm you. We're the same. Beautiful, inside and out. Hellll yea!"

While Shore, who also recently teased that a sequel to "Bio-Dome" is in the works, clearly wants to be the person playing Simmons on the big screen, the former television personality seems to have no interest in making it happen. If Shore does end up as Simmons in the feature film, the comedian certainly won't have his blessing to do so.