Todd Phillips is using a little more of his clout from having made The Hangover to keep his hand in producing. With Warner Bros. having nabbed the rights to John Belushi’s life from his estate recently, Phillips is now putting together a biopic about the comedy legend.
Working with The Pursuit of Happyness screenwriter Steven Conrad, Phillips is busy developing the idea, but has yet to decide whether he’ll actually direct it. The rights have been a difficult get over the years, and even Phillips’ presence wasn’t enough to keep this deal from falling apart more than once.
It’s understandable that Belushi’s family would be worried. Books have come and gone that painted the star in a less-than-flattering light, including Bob Woodward’s 1985 bio, Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi, which was then turned into a movie in 1989 featuring a pre-Shield Michael Chiklis as the man himself.
So now Belushi’s widow Judith, who published her own book, will be an executive producer on the new movie and keep a close eye on the content.
But no film about the comedian/actor would be complete without some reference to his wilder habits: he famously died of a drug-related overdose in1982 at the age of 33.
Known for his career at the Chicago comedy troupe Second City and then as one of the original Saturday Night Live team from 1975-1979, he would go on to forge a brief but bright film career, appearing in the likes of Animal House, The Blues Brothers and Neighbours. He had planned to star in both Ghostbusters and Spies Like Us before he died.
Once the script is complete, the big challenge will be finding someone to play him. Both Jack Black and Phillips’ two-time veteran Zach Galifianakis have really passed the age at which they could pull off the role, so the question goes out to you: if someone has to do it, who would you pick?