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

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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