Alex Brightman set to portray John Belushi in biopic

Broadway star Alex Brightman has reportedly been cast as John Belushi in an upcoming biopic.A biographical film about the late Saturday Night Live star has been in development for years, with Todd Phillips and Steven Conrad both tapped to direct at dif…

Broadway star Alex Brightman has reportedly been cast as John Belushi in an upcoming biopic.

A biographical film about the late Saturday Night Live star has been in development for years, with Todd Phillips and Steven Conrad both tapped to direct at different times, with Emile Hirsch attached to star, but the project stalled around 2014.

Now, according to editors at Collider, the project is back in development again, with The Devil Wears Prada’s David Frankel in the frame to direct and Tony Award-nominated Broadway actor Brightman, who is best known for starring in the School of Rock and Beetlejuice stage adaptations, attached to play Belushi.

Masters of Sex actress Annaleigh Ashford is in the running to play Belushi’s girlfriend-turned-wife Judith, while comedian John Mulaney has been offered the role of Belushi’s good friend and SNL co-star Dan Aykroyd.

The script, which was originally written by Conrad, is expected to feature many other famous characters such as SNL boss Lorne Michaels and star Gilda Radner, journalist Barbara Walters, screen legend Jack Nicholson, and musicians Keith Richards, James Taylor, and Paul Simon.

Judith is reportedly involved in the project and is expected to serve as an executive producer, alongside Alexandra Milchan and Scott Lambert.

The film, currently known as Belushi, is expected to follow Belushi at the height of his fame, during which he had memorable roles in The Blues Brothers and National Lampoon’s Animal House. The comedian died at the age of 33 from a drug overdose at the Chateau Marmont in 1982.

Michael Chiklis previously played the comic in the 1989 biopic Wired, which received an overwhelmingly negative response from critics as well as Belushi’s friends and family, with Aykroyd once telling MTV, “I hope it never gets seen.”

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Tina Fey cries as she pays tribute to heroine Gilda Radner at Tribeca Film Festival

Actress and comedienne Tina Fey broke down in tears as she introduced the new Gilda Radner documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday (18Apr18). Love, Gilda, which chronicles the life of the beloved late comedy icon, opened the festival, an…

Actress and comedienne Tina Fey broke down in tears as she introduced the new Gilda Radner documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday (18Apr18).

Love, Gilda, which chronicles the life of the beloved late comedy icon, opened the festival, and Fey was invited to pay homage to her heroine and Saturday Night Live predecessor, who lost her battle with cancer in 1989.

She sobbed as she introduced the film at the Beacon Theatre, telling fans how much Gilda meant to her, stating, “I can personally attest, and I feel comfortable speaking for (fellow Saturday Night Live stars) Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch when I say that seeing Gilda as a kid… (She was) so authentically herself and so regular in so many ways. She was not a piece of casting, she was who she was on TV.

“We all saw that and said, ‘I want to do that, and it’s possible because I see her doing that’.

“It was an early example for me of how important representation is, for everyone from every walk of life. Gilda was our equivalent of Michelle Obama.”

Calling director Lisa D’Apolito’s film, which features rare and unseen footage and taped and written diary entries, “a miracle”, emotional Tina added, “It felt like I was getting to spend time with someone that I never knew, that I very much would have wanted to spend time with.

“I watched the film on my phone in 15 minute intervals over the last couple of days, just what every filmmaker wants to hear. In taxi rides, and rebooting it at stop signs when there was wifi, but I realised I was parcelling it out. It was emotional for me, because we know how it ends, and I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want the film to end.”

The documentary also details Radner’s childhood weight issues and her cancer battle, while chronicling her rise from the clubs of Toronto, Canada to Saturday Night Live.

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