For anyone who was looking for a refreshing and slightly less negative telling of the life-story of one of comedy’s beloved sons, John Belushi, you may be in luck. John Belushi is a name synonymous with anarchic American humour and looking cool in the face of danger. From Animal House to The Blues Brothers. If you’d ever seen his face, whether behind sunglasses or with an insane laugh spouting from his lips, you knew it was Belushi.
Sadly, the comic legend died of a fatal drug overdose in 1982 at the age of 33. Since then, biopics and biographies have cropped up, but have often been exploitative or have taken liberties with the legend of this man’s success in front of a camera. Not any more, if director and screenwriter Todd Phillips, who has bought the rights, has anything to do with it.
After doing a film like The Hangover, you’d be forgiven for wondering how close to Belushi’s reputation for drug-taking this film is going to get. However, Judith, his widow, is on-hand to supervise the project to make sure previous mistakes won’t get repeated.
This is a good example of how biographical films should be made – the family should always be involved, and it should use more than just a biography written by someone who didn’t know the celebrity in question. When you truly consider it, doesn’t biographical information become Chinese whispers once you’re transcribing anything but the autobiography?
It also leaves the big question of who to cast as the man himself. One suggestion we saw online seemed apt – Bobby Moynihan of Saturday Night: Live! the TV show that made Belushi’s name. He’s also astonishingly similar in appearance to Belushi, if you check out the pic below:
The two look fairly similar, and of course as an SNL actor he’s bound to play the part beautifully. All it’ll take now is for the cast playing the people around him (good luck to the person who gets the role of a younger Robin Williams – I hear Robin Williams is free…) to be cast just as well and the biopic will at least look the part.
So what would you want to see from Belushi’s life? The comedy, the drugs, or the romance with his high-school sweetheart that ended in a marriage lasting until his death? Belushi has many angles, and after committing to covering the negative ones, why not the positives? We’ll keep tabs on this film, for sure.