Emile Hirsch has landed the role of comedian John Belushi in an untitled biopic to be directed by Steve Conrad (screenwriter of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”). Conrad is directing from his own script, based on the 2005 biography of Belushi by Judy Belushi Pisano and Tanner Colby.
The film will follow the height of Belushi’s career as an outsized comedic screen presence on the first iteration of Saturday Night Live and in movies, when he starred in “The Blues Brothers,” and “Animal House.” It also looks at his early death at age 33 to an overdose of cocaine and heroin at LA’s Chateau Marmont hotel. (Hirsch will be 29 when filming gets underway.)
Hirsch, who’s coming up in Peter Berg’s army action drama “Lone Survivor” opposite Mark Wahlberg, is best known for his turns in Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild” and starring alongside Penn in Gus Van Sant’s “Milk.” Most recently he was one-half of David Gordon Green’s two-hander “Prince Avalanche,” in which he gave a pretty hilarious performance as a petulant twentysomething, thick in both mind and belly. No doubt his comedic chops in that film informed the casting of the Belushi project.
Belushi Pisano, the late actor’s high school sweetheart and wife of six years, is also one of the project’s producers.
Filming kicks off in New York this spring.