Reworked Jake and Elwood tale makes steps toward TV deal
Canadian-based production shingle Reunion Pictures has signed on to the project. Pitching to Canuck networks will now commence shortly, with a pact from a U.S. net possibly to come afterward.
The idea for a show came to fruition more than a year ago when Judy Belushi — wife of former frontman John Belushi, aka Jake Blues — wrote a pilot with “Saturday Night Live” writer Anne Beatts, Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty. Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi’s onscreen partner as Elwood Blues, is also an exec producer.
Script has the pair out of jail and Elwood Blues, who was raised in an orphanage, looking for his real dad.
Aykroyd, Beatts, Belushi and Eric Gardner of Panacea Entertainment will exec produce alongside Reunion principals Lisa Richardson, Matthew O’Connor, and Tom Rowe.
“Pacting with an A-list Canadian studio was a quintessential strategic component,” Gardner said.
Following a Canuck deal, Gardner is hoping a Stateside net would come onboard. He also intends to pre-sell the project to international territories. “But we are not without a backup plan,” Gardner amusingly added. “Sister Mary Stigmata is holding Thursdays at 9 p.m. on the Catholic Channel.”
Said Aykroyd: “It is fitting and appropriate that this new generation’s exposure to the Blues Brothers will be in the form of a Canadian-created show as the Blues Brothers started in Toronto when John and I put on the Don Walsh and the Downchild Blues Band’s record ‘Straight Up.’ Our lives changed forever that night.”
The Blues Brothers launched as a skit on “Saturday Night Live” in 1978 and then segued to the bigscreen. Their first self-titled Universal pic was directed by John Landis and earned more than $100 million worldwide.
“These are great American characters,” Judy Belushi told Variety last year. “We want to keep them alive. We chose to introduce them as new characters but do it in an way that they have some history.”
Added Beatts: “We’re not trying to replicate Dan and John but Jake and Elwood.”
If the pilot goes to series, each episode would include a musical number, presumably featuring a new Blues Brothers band.