Years ago, The Shield‘s Michael Chiklis starred in Wired, a biopic about John Belushi. It’s hard to find anyone that’s seen the film these days, much less fans of the movie, so it makes sense that someone else might come along with the idea of turning the former SNL star and Blues Brother‘s life into a movie. Enter The Hangover’s Todd Phillips, who’s apparently putting together the project as we speak. This sounds good to us, just as long as no one gets any wacky ideas about putting the notorious J.I.M. Belushi anywhere onscreen. Read on for the details that we have thus far, my gentle Examiner readers…
Of all the early SNL stars, John Belushi’s the most tragic, even taking into account Chevy Chase’s early-90’s fall from grace. The portly improv star was part of the first-ever cast for Lorne Michaels’ Saturday Night Live, and over the course of the brief career that followed that, Belushi gave us such iconic characters as Jake Blues and Blutto (see above) before succumbing to a massive drug addiction. In other words, dude flamed out quickly, and kids today just have no idea how great this man once was. All they know is Jim Belushi, which is a tragedy in and of itself. As such, we’re excited that Todd Phillips is putting a project together that may teach the younger generation a thing or two about the greatness of Jim’s brother, John:
John Belushi may be getting a (second) second life on the big screen. “The Pursuit of Happyness” screenwriter Steven Conrad (right) and “The Hangover” director-producer Todd Phillips are developing a biographical film about the late comedian’s life. Warner Bros. recently acquired the rights from Belushi’s estate.
This is apparently just the latest attempt by a group of people to get the rights to Belushi’s life story in an effort to make a movie about him, but it’s the first time I can recall a director with the name-recognition of Todd Phillips being attached. The early 90’s version of Wired— the Bob Woodward book based on John’s life– starred Michael Chiklis. With the news that Phillips is in the position to cast a new film about Belushi’s life, you should be prepared to hear ill-advised suggestions by people who don’t get it that Zach Galifianakis could play the role (note: this would not end well).
Something else that’s worth noting is that, while Phillips and Conrad may have secured the rights to Belushi’s life, they haven’t yet secured the rights to many other famous people that would be integral to telling Belushi’s story: Chevy Chase, Lorne Michaels, and many more haven’t yet been approached about “appearing” in the film, and there’s no telling how they’ll react once approached (particularly Chase, who has a reputation for being difficult and spent a good portion of Belushi’s career feuding with him). Perhaps Phillips can use some of his Hangover starpower to get these guys to sign on the dotted line?
Speaking of people playing the role, The Hollywood Reporter’s got their own ideas about who could fill Belushi’s shoes. Here’s their suggestions:
The next generation has fielded a roster of 21st century versions that could potentially pull off the role — Jonah Hill (26), Seth Rogen (28), Ethan Suplee (34) and Tyler Labine (32), who actually appeared as Belushi in the 2005 NBC movie, “Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of ‘Mork & Mindy.’”
Umm…no. No to most of those. Nothing against either Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill– both of whom we enjoy here at Comedy Examiner HQ– but they’re not right for this one. If you’re going to make another movie about the life of John Belushi, I’d think the best way to go about it would involve casting an unknown. Because Phillips’ Project X is about to begin production with nothing but unknowns, maybe he can poach someone off that cast. Just don’t cast Ethan Suplee, for God’s sake. All wrong, Phillips: all wrong. Stay tuned for more on this one as it becomes available, folks: we’ll be following along with this one closely thanks to the Comedy Examiner’s borderline-obsession with all things Belushi.
Stay tuned for more funny videos, news, reviews, interviews, recaps, photos, and more from the Comedy Examiner’s Office in the near future, folks. We took a mini-vacation from the world’s comedic goings-on this weekend, but we’re back with some pretty exciting stuff this week. Hit the “Subscribe” button up top so that you don’t miss out, and check out these other recent Comedy Examiner articles while you’re here:
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