R.J. Cutler will direct and John Battsek will produce the feature-length doc, which will be made with the cooperation of Belushi’s widow, Judith Belushi Pisano, who will collaborate with filmmakers for the first time. The documentary is set to begin production in the fall, with long-time Belushi collaborator Sean Daniel serving as executive producer along with Bill Couturie. Cutler will also produce. The film will be produced in association with Sky Atlantic.
“Belushi was one of my very first heroes. At a time when film, television, and music were undergoing tectonic shifts within American culture, he was at the center of it all,” said Cutler. “At that moment, he had the number one show on television, the number one film at the box office, and the number one record on the charts. We plan to explore his unique genius and how his creative influence is still making an impact to this moment.”
“This is a film I have wanted to make for many years as John was a great hero of mine. Having Judy cooperation for the first time on a feature documentary of his life is very special and means we know we will be making a truly authentic film,” commented Battsek. “We plan to assemble a deep and three-dimensional look into the life of a man of great complexity and talent who went on to become an American comedic icon.”
Cutler and Battsek are the filmmakers behind the Peabody Award-winning documentary “Listen to Me Marlon,” about the actor Marlon Brando.
Belushi was one of the original cast members of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”and one of the show’s first breakout stars. He starred in the films “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers.” He was found dead of a drug overdose in his room at the Chateau Marmont in 1982.
“John Battsek and I have been discussing the possibility of making this film for over a decade,” added Judy Belushi. “ I’m thrilled to finally embark upon that journey together with him and director RJ Cutler. Passion Pictures is poised to make the definitive documentary on John Belushi – a man who not only had a profound effect on the comedy landscape of America, but also made an indelible mark on the social fabric of his time which continues to reverberate today.”