From Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in Twins to King Kong and Fay Wray, there are plenty of great movies centered on unlikely pairings. Add Pee-wee’s Big Holiday to the list. In the Judd Apatow-produced Netflix original (out March 18), Paul Reubens reprises his whimsical prankster character and stars opposite Joe Manganiello — a butch motorcycling bro — as Pee-wee hits the road for his first-ever vacation.
While Manganiello, 39, may seem like unexpected casting, he and Reubens, 63, are real-life pals. So what was it like to get together for Holiday? EW eavesdropped on a recent conversation, where Reubens (in character, natch) grills his buddy on the Kardashians, the election, and scoring a role in the next Magic Mike.
JOE MANGANIELLO: Hello?
PEE-WEE HERMAN: [Disguising his voice as a smooth Hollywood assistant] Hi, I have Pee-wee Herman calling for Joe Mang-a-…
JM: Put him through.
PWH: Put him through what?
JM: The phone.
PWH: Wouldn’t that be painful?
JM: Pee-wee, is that you?!
PWH: That’s my name, don’t wear it out.
JM: Hi! How you been, bud? What you up to?
PWH: Oh, nothing. Just guest-writing for a small magazine publication. You may have heard of it: Entertainment Weekly?
JM: Get out! You’re writing for EW? That’s so cool. What are you writing about?
PWH: Funny you should ask. I’m going to write about you, Joe.
PWH: If you’re cool with it. They told me I could interview anyone I wanted: Barack Obama, Pope Francis, the Weeknd. I chose you.
JM: Aw, thanks, Pee-wee. You already know me pretty well.
PWH: I know! People are always surprised we’re best friends. My first question is probably going to be: What do you like the best about me? I struggled with whether it should be that or: What are your top 10 favorite things about me? Which do you think is more penetrating?
JM: Will this interview coincide with the release of our new movie?
PWH: Duh! Otherwise I’d be talking to Pope Francis right now. The movie came out fantastic, Joe! But Joe, that movie barely scratches the surface of who you really are as a man. I want my readers to know, what really makes Joe Manga’nyong’o tick?!
JM: I’m in! When do you want to do this?
PWH: We’re doing it right now. I’m recording this conversation. You’re on the record.
JM: Wow, Pee-wee. You really are a journalist.
PWH: It takes one to know one, right? First question: 2016. Election year. Which candidate are you getting behind?
JM: Oh, wow. Okay. You went there.
PWH: It’s Entertainment Weekly, Joe. We’re not messing around.
JM: Clearly. Um…I guess I want to say whoever is elected — Democrat, Republican, or Independent — I hope they bring all Americans together to collectively face our struggles and realize our dreams.
PWH: So Trump then.
JM: Pee-wee! That’s not what I said. You’re twisting my words around.
PWH: Joe, I have to ask you: Are you with Apple or the FBI?
JM: Why are you asking me that?
PWH: Ding! Time’s up! Next question, just as important: Who’s your favorite Kardashian?
JM: I’m not answering that.
PWH: I’ll take that as Rob.
JM: Pee-wee, that’s not what I said.
PWH: Then what are you saying, Joe? Sorry I hit a nerve with your archenemy, Rob Kardashian. What did he ever do to you? Why do you hate him so much?
RELATED VIDEO: Pee-wee Herman’s a reluctant getaway driver in exclusive Pee-wee’s Big Holiday clip
JM: Pee-wee, if you’re going to be a journalist, you have to tell your readers the truth; paint an accurate portrayal of your subject. If you don’t have the truth, you don’t have anything, Herman.
PWH: You’re right, Mang… Manga…
PWH: I just wanted to create some clickbait so millions of people would read my story. Our story. And then they’d for sure want to watch the movie on Netflix. Hey, by the way, is there a place for my “Tequila” dance in the next Magic Mike?
JM: [Makes phone-static sounds] What? The phone connection just got really bad.
PWH: Joe, that’s my joke! Great minds think alike! I sure am glad we’ve become friends, Joe Manganiello!
JM: Hey, you pronounced it right!
PWH: I wrote it out phonetically. The i is silent.
JM: So you’re not going to print any of that Trump or Kardashian stuff in your EW article, are you? [Sound of dial tone] Hello? Pee-wee? Pee-wee??!!