Producer Todd Phillips Talks Bit About the John Belushi Biopic

September 3, 2010
Source: MTV

John Belushi

Back in August we heard that writer/director Todd Phillips was producing a biopic on the legendary late comedian John Belushi with Steven Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness) writing the script. Recently MTV caught up with Phillips who talked about a little bit about the project, but also made sure to mention that it's still very much in the early stages of development and the script hasn't even been started yet. As Phillips so eloquently puts it: "That's something that gets released by some agent of somebody and then you get asked questions about it." So since he was obviously asked about it, what did the comedy producer have to say?

Though it's still in the "very nascent stages," Phillips and Conrad (who he calls "a fucking brilliant writer") know what they don't want to do with this biopic. Here's what the producer had to say about the project:

"Our goal is not to do a traditional biopic approach with it that people expect, whether you’re talking about 'Walk the Line' or 'Ray.' All good movies, but our goal is not to make that typical biopic. We want to make a movie that, if John Belushi saw it, he would be happy that it captured his spirit. Sometimes I feel that they don’t entirely capture the spirit of the person they're about. Our goal is to capture the spirit of Belushi, not necessarily make a straight-ahead biopic. One of the reasons I'm being a bit vague is because we haven't nailed it yet. It's in early stages. I'm really talking about the very television-narrative approach that a lot of biopics take. We don't want to do that. We're trying to take a very renegade approach to who I think was one of the most renegade comedy actors of all time."

Though at first this sounds like standard fluff for a new project (saying you want to do something different than what's been done previously), when it comes to portraying the life of John Belushi, I fully understand where he's coming from with his explanation. Belushi's life was so off-the-wall with not only lots of drama but obviously comedy that this biopic needs a different approach than others before it. As far as who the actor is to bring Belushi to life on the big screen, he says it's too early to speculate. "It's about nailing the script down at this point. If it's a new face or if it's someone people are familiar with, we haven't figured that out yet." Hopefully the pieces fall into place soon, as I'm eagerly waiting for this to get off the ground.

Find more posts: Movie News, Opinions



I still say go with an unknown actor. But here's a thought (as someone else said) Jack Black? I mean I know he's not been in anything worthwhile but School of Rock was pretty good. It could be a definitive role for Black.

Xerxex on Sep 3, 2010


just wanted to add: That is a great pic of Belushi, bravo Anderton!

Xerxex on Sep 3, 2010


@ Xerxex, Thanks! And while Jack Black is a great suggestion, it has been mentioned to him before this project even came about and he wasn't too keen on the idea because he didn't think he could do Belushi justice I like the idea of an unknown doing it, too, especially if it's an unknown comedian with a background in improv. That's the ideal choice I think.

Ethan Anderton on Sep 3, 2010


Your Welcome! Gotta respect Black for that, not thinking he's good enough, oh well. I'm sure they'll find someone. an unknown is probably the better choice, especially one that has skills in improvisation, Neil Flynn comes to mind shame he's too old and way too tall!

Xerxex on Sep 3, 2010


Josh Peck. He is funny and proved his acting chops with The Wackness.

4k4k on Sep 3, 2010


@4k4k I'm not so sure He'd like to put the weight back on...

Xerxex on Sep 3, 2010


Capture his spirit? Has he tried calling the Ghostbusters?

Veter Penkman on Sep 3, 2010


I think Zach Galifianakis could do a great job....Im a Jack Black Fan and is a good suggestion but I prefer Zach for this role....

aLbiTa on Sep 4, 2010


As for the Belushi biopic. I'm glad to see they aren't going to take a traditional approach. That's been done over and over with iconic people in film and I for one am bored of it. Give us something new, and fresh. It's hard to say who would fit the role. Personally, I don't say go with a known or unknown; I think it's important to go with who fits the part. I say that because I think playing Belushi would be a tough gig, especially if the studio isn't going to do a traditional biopic.

ModernAmericanMan on Sep 4, 2010


Sounds like it could be great, and it needs to be to do this man justice. There was a really good peter sellers bio done a few years back and it wasn't just the same old formula, I think if they went down a similar road here it would be good I mean not the same obviously but if anyone seen that they'll kno what I'm talking about. P.S jack black shouldn't be in this, he was great in Orange County, High Fidelity and good in school of rock but this isn't right for him and I'm glad he realises that.

Dandooo on Sep 5, 2010

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