Well, we’ll see how this one pans out. (And in more ways than one.)
THR reports that Emile Hirsch has been cast as comedy legend John Belushi in Steve Conrad’s untitled Belushi biopic. Conrad both wrote the script and will direct the film, an indie drama that reportedly “tackles the iconic comedian’s life as an allegory about the glory and tragedy of the American dream. The film will explore his rise to fame in the late ’70s as an original castmember on Saturday Night Live and star of such films as The Blues Brothers and Animal House, through to his shocking fatal drug overdose at age 33 at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.”
While the casting of Hirsch is certainly unexpected, concern for the quality of the film might be better placed when it comes to Conrad, who is best known for writing such mixed fare as The Weather Man, The Pursuit of Happyness, and the upcoming remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Conrad’s directorial resume is slim, including such forgotten films as The Promotion and TV film Connie Banks the Actor. A Belushi biopic will require many moving parts and many different tones, and it’s unclear if Conrad is up for those tasks. Conrad has, however, worked off a book about Belushi (titled just “Belushi”) for his script, so it’s possible at least that piece will turn out okay.
Even better news? Belushi’s frequent collaborator and best pal, Dan Aykroyd, is on board to executive produce.
Hirsch, however, still seems like a strange enough choice. Though he can deliver dramatically (remember Into the Wild?), Hirsch isn’t exactly known for his comedic chops – although he did pretty successfully portray the effects of unexpected drug use in a very hilarious bit in The Girl Next Door – so it will be interesting to see just how funny he is required to be in the role.
The film is aiming to start filming in the spring of next year.
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