John Belushi has already been brought back to life on the big screen thanks to the film adaptation of Bob Woodward’s controversial Belushi biography Wired, but apparently one Belushi biopic isn’t enough. Steven Conrad (writer of The Pursuit of Happyness) and Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School) are teaming to develop a new biopic about the late comedian.
THR says Conrad is writing for Phillips to produce; the latter hasn’t committed to directing, but it could happen.
Not long ago, Warner Bros. picked up the rights to Belushi’s life from his estate. But to really tell his story there are a lot of other real, mostly still living personalities who should also be included. THR doesn’t know if those rights have all been cleared or not.
Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi Pisano, is credited as a producer on the film, and she has put together the biography Belushi, from which the movie is likely to draw. Here’s the rundown on that book, which might give us an idea of how the movie could be shaped:
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.
Casting will be the big question. THR mentions obvious names like Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen and Ethan Suplee. All are around the right age, and since that’s an easy thing to fudge, it’ll be more important to see who tests well as Belushi. Having said that, I’d just as soon not see the movie happen at all — we’ve got Belushi’s movies, and a failed movie of his life. Let his work stand as is.
That said, Phillips and Conrad won’t have to work too hard to one-up Wired. The film (with the feature debut of Michael Chiklis) tanked and was critically dismissed. I don’t think the film has ever hit DVD in the US, and the book also seems to be out of print. I almost want to dig up my copy of Wired to read once more, but I’d rather just watch The Blues Brothers again.