After a slight hiccup in securing the rights, producer/director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) is back on track with the development of a film based on the life of late comedian John Belushi. Alexandra Milchan and Bonnie Timmerman join Phillips as producers; Steven Conrad (Pursuit of Happyness) will pen the script.
The larger-than-life Belushi first garnered national attention on Saturday Night Live during its inaugural years from 1975-1979, then thrived on the big screen with iconic roles in such films as Animal House and The Blues Brothers. He passed away in 1982 at the age of 33. Hit the jump for further details on the project, as well as a look at the actors who could assume such a role.
Here’s the product description of the biography Belushi, assembled by widow Judy Belushi Pisano:
On the day he turned thirty, John starred in America’s number-one movie (Animal House), starred in the number-one late-night show (Saturday Night Live) and had recorded the number-one album (Briefcase Full of Blues). All from a guy who was never supposed to make it out from behind the cash register of his family’s Chicago diner. How did this Albanian immigrant’s son capture a nation’s imagination and come to embody all the glory and tragedy of the American dream? It was one high-price, high-speed, short-lived wild ride. [Amazon]
According to Risky Business, Pisano is credited as executive producer on the project.
When brainstorming making a list of heavyset actors with a penchant for the funny, the first name that comes to mind is Zach Galifianakis — Phillips has relied on the Greek comedian to anchor his last two directorial efforts: The Hangover and this November’s Due Date. Risky Business also suggested Jack Black, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Ethan Suplee, and Tyler Labine might be a good fit for the role, which is about as comprehensive a list I could ask for.
(Update: Commenter Joseclaros brought up current SNL castmember Bobby Moynihan. I like it. He’s got the look. He’s about the right age (32) and could play younger. His agent needs to start working the phones.)
Galifianakis is tops in my mind at the moment. But at age 40, he’s a bit old for the role if it centers around Belushi’s formative years, so I could be talked out of it. Please chime in below in the comments section, as long as you promise not to bring up Horatio Sanz.