Lorne Michaels has cast almost 200 comedians to grace the hallowed stage of studio 8H over the years, but now, someone has been cast to play him. Per Deadline, Gabriel LaBelle—the breakout star of Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film, The Fabelmans—will portray the legendary Saturday Night Live creator in Jason Reitman’s upcoming film, SNL 1975.
SNL 1975 isn’t a Michaels biopic but rather an origin story of Saturday Night Live as a whole. Based on an extensive series of interviews Reitman and his co-writer Gil Kenan conducted with all the remaining living members of the cast, crew, and writers room, the film will tell the story of the immortal sketch show’s first ever episode on October 11, 1975—from its conception to the precious minutes leading up to Chevy Chase’s inaugural “live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”
LaBelle will be joined on the Rockefeller Center set by Cooper Hoffman and Rachel Sennott, who are playing Dick Ebersol and Rosie Shuster respectively. For anyone who may not be as hardcore of an SNL-head as Reitman and Kenan are, Ebersol was NBC’s Vice President of Late Night Programming, who (along with the company’s then-president Herbert Schlosser) hired Lorne Michaels and eventually greenlit his idea for a sketch-comedy variety show. Rose Shuster was a writer on the show who was married to Michaels from 1971 to 1980. She also dated Dan Akroyd around the same time.
“There was a long incubation period where everybody was kind of falling in love with each other and cracking each other up, trying to find their place, have a voice,” Shuster said of the show’s early days in a 2018 interview with The Neighborhood News Online. “We were stockpiling a lot of commercial parodies. You could feel something organically happening amongst us.”
Hoffman is known for his leading role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza as well as his role in Ethan Hawke’s Toronto-debuting Wildcat, while Sennott has starred in films like Bottoms, Bodies Bodies Bodies, and Shiva Baby in recent years. Going against the trend of many other recent projects (cough, cough, Euphoria), LaBelle and Hoffman are actually significantly younger than the real-life characters they are playing. Lorne Michaels was 31 when SNL premiered, but LaBelle is currently only 21 years old. Similarly, Ebersol was 28 in 1975 while Hoffman is currently 20. In the opposite direction, Shuster was 25 on the night in question, while Sennott is currently 28.