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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