John Belushi will always be remembered as a comic genius who died too young, and his drug-fueled life made his early death a tragedy. A biopic has been in the works for years with The Hangover director Todd Phillips attached to helm the picture. THR is now reporting that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty screenwriter Steve Conrad will direct from a script he co-wrote with Phillips. The project will be an indie feature, and Conrad has already started looking at actors who could play the iconic comedian.
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According to THR, Conrad has already met with Emile Hirsch and Workaholics star Adam Devine about the role, and Joaquin Phoenix has also been linked to the part. And yes, I agree these slim gentleman are unexpected choices to play the heavyset Belushi, but I can personally attest that putting on weight isn’t difficult. However, I’m a bit surprised that Phoenix’s name is in the mix since his facial features are so distinct. Additionally, Nelson Franklin (Veep) has met with Conrad about playing Belushi’s Saturday Night Live and Blues Brothers co-star, Dan Ackroyd.
The new biopic will reportedly “tell the story of a man that embodied both the glory and the tragedy of the American dream as it focuses on Belushi at the height of his fame.” Honestly, that sounds kind of corny considering the irreverent comedy of a guy who did a good impersonation of a zit in Animal House. However, unlike the 1989 movie Wired starring Michael Chiklis, this biopic has the support of Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi Pisano, and Aykroyd. Pisano is attached as a producer, and Aykroyd is on board as an executive producer.
The filmmakers are looking to shoot the film in New York in the spring.