A Chris Farley Biopic Is At The Top Of Paul Walter Hauser's Wishlist

Chris Farley's death at 33 is an excruciatingly tragic showbiz tale, primarily because everyone saw it coming. He was a blazingly brilliant comedic dynamo who had us primed for convulsive laughter every time he stepped on stage or walked in front of a camera, yet off screen he was frequently being treated for his abuse of booze and drugs. The party rarely stopped for Farley, and despite a reported 17 trips to rehab for his various addictions, he kept the revels going until he overdosed on a speedball mix of cocaine and morphine in 1997 — roughly the same concoction that killed fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum John Belushi 15 years earlier.

The tragedy of Farley's life has long been viewed as grist for a biopic, but the hurdles in bringing his story to the screen are the same that have plagued the making of a Belushi movie: who can capture the raw, feral energy of these singular performers? The sole attempt at a Belushi biopic resulted in the hideous "Wired." Michael Chiklis made his feature debut portraying the legendary comic, and it is a testament to his considerable talents that his awful performance in this film didn't end his career. The memory of "Wired" has likely scared filmmakers and actors off a Farley biopic, but one brave actor believes he could pull it off. 

Paul Walter Hauser certainly has the physical bearing and acting chops to give it a credible go, assuming he doesn't age out of the part first. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2021, Hauser revealed he was serious enough about playing Farley that he approached the actor's family for their blessing. He's since proven unable to move the project forward and realizes his dream is very close to dying. That might be for the best.

Maybe Farley's life is unfilmable

As Paul Walter Hauser told THR:

"I wanted to do a Chris Farley movie where he's in rehab for half of the film, and for the other half of the movie, he's doing his 'SNL' stuff and his movies. I think I have a really great take on that story, but I'm trying to lose weight and I'm trying to redefine myself as a person of healthy choice-making, and as an actor. So the days of doing Fatty Arbuckle, Chris Farley or Ignatius J. Reilly in a 'Confederacy of Dunces' movie have a very small time window, and it's getting smaller by the week."

Hauser's quite in demand as a character actor at the moment. He recently completed Tony Tost's "Americana" and is set to join Matt Damon and Casey Affleck in Doug Liman's "The Instigators." If he wants to move forward on a Farley film, he needs to be about it. He'll turn 37 this October, and, regardless of health, will soon be too old in appearance to capture the cherubic joy of Farley's best work.

Hauser's a remarkably gifted actor, so if he thinks he could pull this off, I'm inclined to believe him. I'd at least love to see him try. It'd be a heartbreaker though. Farley knew he was sick, and desperately wanted to kick his addictions. There was a touch of youthful invincibility to his many relapses, but mostly he was just helpless. His friends worked on him, but they couldn't fix someone who had no clue how to fix himself. And so Chris Farley will forever be one of the saddest "what ifs" in Hollywood history.