Emile Hirsch to Play John Belushi in Biopic

Thesp will next be seen in telepic 'Bonnie and Clyde'

Emile Hirsch has been cast as John Belsuhi in Steve Conrad’s untitled biopic about the larger-than-life comic actor.

Emjag’s Alexandra Milchan, Bonnie Timmermann, Film 360’s Scott Lambert and Judy Belushi Pisano are producing. Belsuhi Pisano was the actor’s high school sweetheart and had been his wife for six years at the time of his death in 1982.

Filming will start in New York City in the spring. Hirsch will be 29 when production starts.

Conrad will direct from his own script, adapted from the 2005 biography “Belushi,” written by Belushi Pisano and Tanner Colby.

Belushi’s “Saturday Night Live” castmate and close friend Dan Aykroyd is exec producing.

The film will cover the heights of Belushi’s fame in “The Blues Brothers” as Jake Blues and “Animal House” as John Blutarsky along with being the biggest star on the first four seasons of “Saturday Night Live.” The series, which launched in 1975,  included Belushi’s introductions of the Blues Brothers and Samurai Warrior characters along with memorable impressions of Wiliam Shatner, Joe Cocker, Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor.

The film will also cover his unexpected death at age 33 from an overdose of a mixture of cocaine and heroin at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.

Hirsch will next be seen  in the miniseries “Bonnie and Clyde” and in “Lone Survivor” opposite Mark Wahlberg. His credits include “Into the Wild,” “Killer Joe,” “Milk” and “Prince Avalanche,” which won the best director award for David Gordon Green at Berlin this year.

Conrad wrote the screenplay for Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

Upcoming Film 360 projects include the untitled Steve Job biography, to be adapted by Aaron Sorkin; “Sesame Street”; and “Good People,” starring James Franco and Kate Hudson and currently in post-production.

Hirsch is represented by WME, Silver Lining Entertainment and attorney Robert Offer. Conrad is repped by CAA.  Aykroyd is represented by CAA and attorney Alan Hergott of Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Matthew Modine

    Matthew Modine Accused of Violating Labor Laws With Campaign Videos

    Matthew Modine has been accused by SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris of violating federal laws in his campaign to unseat Carteris. The production of three campaign videos for Modine by the for-profit New York Film Academy — on whose board Modine sits — has been blasted by Carteris for alleged violations of federal labor law prohibiting [...]

  • Ready or Not Movie

    'Ready or Not,' 'Angel Has Fallen' Enter Box Office Race

    Three more contenders are joining what has lately been a hostile box office arena. Can anyone emerge from August victorious? Fox Searchlight’s “Ready or Not,” a black comedy about a diabolical game of hide-and-seek, will debut in 2,244 North American theaters on Wednesday. The low-budget film is expected to earn upwards of $6.5 million over [...]

  • Rules Don't Apply

    Warren Beatty and Arnon Milchan Settle Suit Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    Arnon Milchan and Warren Beatty have settled their two-year legal battle over the disastrous release of “Rules Don’t Apply,” Beatty’s period drama about Howard Hughes. Milchan’s attorneys have filed a notice with the court dismissing his suit against Beatty. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Milchan’s company, New Regency, sued Beatty and other investors [...]

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a

    Bolsonaro LGBTQI Outburst, Subsidy Freeze, Stirs Outrage

    Ramping up the drive into censorship in Brazil, its Minister of Citizenship, Omar Terra, has suspended a call for applications for governmental TV funding – until new criteria are established for its application. The country’s secretary for culture, Henrique Pires, who reports to Terra, has resigned in protest of the incentive freeze. The suspension, for [...]

  • Adam Brody'Ready or Not' film premiere,

    Adam Brody to Executive Produce, Star in 'The Kid Detective'

    “Ready or Not’s” Adam Brody has signed on to star in “The Kid Detective.” Sophie Nelisse will co-star in the dramedy from writer-director Evan Morgan. Brody will star as a once-celebrated kid detective, now 31, who continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity until a 16-year-old client (Nelisse) brings [...]

  • Alita: Battle Angel VFX

    How Previsualization Helps Create Pitches for Projects Like 'Alita: Battle Angel'

    Filmmakers are increasingly using previsualization, a now-standard technique for planning highly technical shots and sequences, as a tool for pitching a project to production companies, investors and studio executives — before a single full scene has actually been shot. More creatives are relying on the technique, dubbed “pitchvis,” to fashion a compelling and engaging presentation [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content