Todd Phillips, the director of The Hangover and the upcoming Due Date, has teamed up with The Pursuit of Happyness screenwriter Steven Conrad to develop a film based on the life of John Belushi. Phillips will produce Conrad’s script but he has not yet committed to directing the movie. Belushi’s estate recently sold the rights for a biopic to Warner Brothers.
John Belushi was the star of such films as National Lampoon’s Animal House and The Blues Brothers — rising to prominence as a founding cast member of Saturday Night Live. The comedian died of a drug overdose in 1982 at the age of 33.
Belushi has been the subject of an earlier biopic, a 1989 film called Wired based on a biography by Bob Woodward and starring Michael Chiklis. Chiklis has gone on record as saying the film nearly doomed his career when Belushi’s friends and family publicly boycotted the movie.
The new film will be taken largely from Belushi: A Biography, a 2005 oral history book published by Judith Belushi Pisano, Belushi’s widow. Pisano will serve as an executive producer on the upcoming film.
The Buzz: I’ve always had a soft spot for anything related to Saturday Night Live. I’ve read more books and watched more documentaries about the long-running comedy sketch show than any other television program. A big-budget biopic about John Belushi would be something I’d be totally stoked about seeing.
The truth is, though, I’m curious about how much will (or could) be shown in a Belushi biopic while so many of his friends and family are still alive. While I’m not calling for another Wired (it was an exploitative film that was rightfully snubbed at the box office), it would be crazy to think there aren’t a lot of touchy subjects contained within Belushi’s life — especially his final hours — that his family and friends wouldn’t want to whitewash on the big screen. I’d rather see a truthful look at the comedian’s life than another generic biopic.
I’m curious as to which young comic actor will be tapped to play Belushi on the big screen. Belushi has inspired several generations of comics and I’m sure it will be a mad dash as many of today’s top young actors fight for the chance to play tribute to their inspiration.
Who would you like to see play John Belushi on the big screen? Personally, my pick is Tyler Labine.
Tags: Animal House, Due Date, John Belushi, Saturday Night Live, The Hangover, Todd Phillips, Tyler Labine