Richard Simmons was quick to shoot down any notion that he is on board with an upcoming biopic about the former fitness personality after it was announced Wednesday.
Hours after multiple outlets reported the biopic was in the works and would star actor and comedian Pauly Shore, Simmons took to his Facebook account to disavow the film.
“You may have heard they may be doing a movie about me with Pauly Shore,” Simmons wrote in a post. “I have never given my permission for this movie. So don’t believe everything you read.”
He added that he no longer has a manager or a publicist. “I just try to live a quiet life and be peaceful,” he wrote. Simmons then thanked his fans for their love and support.
The Wolper Organization, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. that is behind the project, told Variety in a statement, “While we would love to have [Simmons] involved, we respect his desire to privacy and plan to produce a movie that honors him, celebrates him and tells a dramatic story.”
The studio said it didn’t “want to invade” Simmons’ privacy and credited him as “an amazing person that changed millions of people’s lives, and the effect he has had on the world needs to be recognized.”
Shore, who has been teasing a Hollywood comeback, is already tied to a separate project, the short film “The Court Jester,” in which he also plays Simmons. The film, which dropped its trailer on Wednesday, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Friday. The short will be available on YouTube after its premiere. Wednesday’s teaser shows Shore’s uncannily identical Simmons dressed in a rhinestone tank top and red afro and giving a rousing, intimate pep talk to an unnamed TV producer.
Fans are already praising the separate biopic announcement as “perfect casting.” Shore told Entertainment Weekly this week that during the 1990s he would run into Simmons on sets and they would give each other “hugs and high-fives.” But he added that his connection with Simmons went deeper than just similar looks and passing interactions.
“I am him,” he told EW. “I like helping people. I like health. I like putting that energy out there.” His mother, Mitzi Shore, was a co-founder of the Comedy Store. He said that, through the club, “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.”
He added that he also had 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.”
In the 1980s and ’90s, Simmons was famous for his exercise videos and talk show appearances, marked by his unbridled enthusiasm and flamboyant personality.
Over the last decade, Simmons has retreated from public life. He has, however, remained in the public consciousness. At one point, there were rumors that he was being held in his home against his will — which he dispelled. In 2022, TMZ released a documentary about him. According to the documentary, Simmons sank “into a deep depression” after doctors in 2014 urged him to undergo major surgery on his left knee.
As fans poured out their support and concerns for Simmons following the doc, he gave a brief yet rare response online, posting on his Facebook, “Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love!”