Emile Hirsch has been cast as “Saturday Night Live” alum John Belushi in an upcoming biopic from writer-director Steve Conrad, TheWrap has learned.
Hirsch will have to gain weight to play Belushi, who died from a tragic drug overdose at the Chateau Marmont in 1982 at the age of 33.
Michael Chiklis played Belushi in the 1989 movie “Wired,” which Belushi’s family and friends refused to support.
Conrad’s project boasts their cooperation, with Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi Pisano, producing and Belushi’s “Blues Brothers” co-star Dan Aykroyd executive producing. Emjag’s Alexandra Milchan and Bonnie Timmerman are also producing with Scott Lambert of Film 360.
Conrad is planning to start production in the spring in New York.
While Hirsch has a reputation as a gifted dramatic actor thanks to searing performances in “Into the Wild,” “Milk,” “Killer Joe” and “Alpha Dog,” his comedic chops are underrated by most. His work in “The Girl Next Door,” “Prince Avalanace” and “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys” prove he’s capable of pulling off the part of a sad clown who loved making people laugh as he struggled with his own addiction demons.
Hirsch, who next stars in Peter Berg’s “Lone Survivor” and a “Bonnie & Clyde” TV movie, is repped by WME and Silver Lining Entertainment.