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Long-developing John Belushi biopic moving forward; Emile Hirsch and Joaquin Phoenix contenders?

Oct. 22, 2013by: Paul Shirey

It looks like the long-developing John Belushi biopic has picked up some steam as screenwriter Steve Conrad (THE WEATHER MAN, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY) is taking over the directing chores from Todd Phillips (THE HANGOVER) and proceeding as an "indie." According to THR, Conrad is currently looking at actors to play the late comedian, including names like Emile Hirsch, Joaquin Phoenix, and Adam Devine (Workaholics, PITCH PERFECT). 

In addition, Conrad is also looking for an actor to portray Dan Aykroyd, who was one of Belushi's closest friends and frequent collaborators, particularly on SNL where they birthed the idea of THE BLUES BROTHERS, which has become a cult classic. Currently, it seems the frontrunner is Nelson Franklin from HBO's Veep and New Girl. 

A previous adaptation of Belushi's life with Shield actor Michael Chiklis portraying him in the 1989 film WIRED was boycotted  by the Belushi family, but this new version is being produced by Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi Pisano and Aykroyd is serving as an executive producer.

Conrad's biopic "hopes to tell the story of a man that embodied both the glory and the tragedy of the American dream as it focuses on Belushi at the height of his fame," says industry insiders. With Conrad's quirky, dramatic style, as demonstrated in THE WEATHER MAN, I think he will bring a unique and engaging look into the late comedian's life. Finding the right actor to fill that role may be tricky, but this has real promise of being one of the better biopics in the works.

The film is expected to shoot in New York in the spring of 2014.

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7:38AM on 10/23/2013
yeah cuz "wired" was such a winner
yeah cuz "wired" was such a winner
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9:41PM on 10/22/2013

What about...

...Miles Teller?
...Miles Teller?
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4:41PM on 10/22/2013
Don't hate me...but what if this was a Jonah Hill project? At first you're going to say NOOOOOOOOO! But think about it. If not Hill, honestly, I could see Phoenix doing it.
Don't hate me...but what if this was a Jonah Hill project? At first you're going to say NOOOOOOOOO! But think about it. If not Hill, honestly, I could see Phoenix doing it.
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7:21PM on 10/22/2013
I was thinking Hill also. All these other actors are too darn tall and skinny! There's a young SNL cast member right now that kinda looks like Belushi-Bobby Moynihan.
I was thinking Hill also. All these other actors are too darn tall and skinny! There's a young SNL cast member right now that kinda looks like Belushi-Bobby Moynihan.
1:07AM on 10/23/2013
I can only handle him in small doses.
I can only handle him in small doses.
4:37PM on 10/22/2013
It looks like they are aiming for younger actors but if this was a later years look at Belushi's life, I'd go with Jack Black.
It looks like they are aiming for younger actors but if this was a later years look at Belushi's life, I'd go with Jack Black.
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4:49PM on 10/22/2013
Belushi died in his early 30s. So he didnt have too many later years.
Belushi died in his early 30s. So he didnt have too many later years.
+2
4:07PM on 10/22/2013

Bobby Moynihan

^^
^^
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3:17PM on 10/22/2013
No more Biopics please, thank you!
No more Biopics please, thank you!
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2:48PM on 10/22/2013
Whoever can pull off Samurai Futaba gets the nod in my book.
Whoever can pull off Samurai Futaba gets the nod in my book.
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1:43PM on 10/22/2013

Belushi made Chiklis a star

Jaquin phoenix has no business even being mentioned, but I like Emile and the Workaholics guy. You need a younger guy without a cleft lip and Pedophile gaze for this role.
Jaquin phoenix has no business even being mentioned, but I like Emile and the Workaholics guy. You need a younger guy without a cleft lip and Pedophile gaze for this role.
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2:57PM on 10/22/2013
I thought Vic Mackey made Chiklis a star.
I thought Vic Mackey made Chiklis a star.
1:19PM on 10/22/2013
Granted Belushi was an interesting guy, but I'm usually on the fence about biopics of actors. It's just so much pressure for the person playing the part, as well as the writers and filmmakers, to tell the story in a way that doesn't feel disingenuous to their subject. I would probably prefer a John Belushi biopic to, say, a Steve McQueen biopic, because McQueen always seemed larger than life, and Belushi was only too human.
Granted Belushi was an interesting guy, but I'm usually on the fence about biopics of actors. It's just so much pressure for the person playing the part, as well as the writers and filmmakers, to tell the story in a way that doesn't feel disingenuous to their subject. I would probably prefer a John Belushi biopic to, say, a Steve McQueen biopic, because McQueen always seemed larger than life, and Belushi was only too human.
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1:14PM on 10/22/2013

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix for sure. He looks like him a bit and would give the best performance out of the three.
Joaquin Phoenix for sure. He looks like him a bit and would give the best performance out of the three.
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12:57PM on 10/22/2013
Artie Lange. Done.
Artie Lange. Done.
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1:21PM on 10/22/2013
Beat me to it!
Beat me to it!
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