john belushi biopic

Alex Brightman, who is currently starring as the Ghost with the Most in the Broadway production of Beetlejuice, is set to lead a John Belushi biopic. Brightman will play the legendary comedian famous for Saturday Night LiveThe Blues Brothers and more, with David Frankel directing. A new Belushi biopic has been in the works for several years, with numerous actors up for the part, including Emile Hirsch, Adam Devine, Joaquin Phoenix.

Collider broke the news about Alex Brightman starring in a John Belushi biopic. David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) is directing a script from Steven Conrad, writer of The Pursuit of Happyness, Wonder, and more. Conrad’s script has gone through multiple hands over the years, with Joker director Todd Phillips set to direct at one point when the film had a much bigger budget. In 2013, it was announced that the biopic would be scaled down to an indie film, and Conrad would direct himself. Now, Frankel is in the director’s chair.

In addition to Brightman, Collider says Annaleigh Ashford is being considered to play Belushi’s wife Judy, and John Mulaney could play Belushi’s pal and fellow comedian Dan Aykroyd. This news made me do a double-take – Mulaney is one of the funniest people around right now, but I can’t exactly picture him as Aykroyd.

Belushi was a comedy giant, rising to fame thanks to his work with The Second City, National Lampoon, and Saturday Night Live. Belushi also had his demons, and struggled with drug addiction. He died from combined drug intoxication in 1982, at the age of 33.

Here’s the part of the story where I remind/inform you that this won’t be the first John Belushi biopic. In 1989, audiences were treated to the cursed movie that is Wired, a bumbling, incoherent, altogether strange Belushi biopic based on a book by Bob Woodward (yes, the Bob Woodward of Watergate/All the President’s Men fame). Woodward’s book was a straightforward biography, but the film adaptation was something much stranger. The movie opens with a very dead Belushi (played by The Shield‘s Michael Chiklis) waking up in the morgue. Belushi’s ghost then escapes the morgue and ends up hooking up with a cab driver who is also a guardian angel (Ray Sharkey). The angel then proceeds to take Belushi on a trip through his life. It’s kind of like It’s a Wonderful Life, but insane.

Oh, and Bob Woodard is a character in the movie, played by J. T. Walsh. At the end of the film, Woodward magically ends up in the hotel room where Belushi is dying of a drug overdose, at which point the dying Belushi stretches out his hand and moans, “Breathe for me, Woodward!” Like I said, it’s fucking crazy. Needless to say, Belushi’s friends and family were not fans of this film. This new biopic has the support of Belushi’s widow Judy, and at one point, Aykroyd was attached as an executive producer, but it’s not clear if that’s still the case.

Wired

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