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Casting Watch: Emile Hirsch to Play John Belushi in Upcoming Biopic

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood October 29, 2013 at 12:33PM

Emile Hirsch has landed the role of John Belushi in an untitled biopic, to be directed by Steve Conrad (screenwriter of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"). Conrad is helming from his own script, based on the 2005 biography of Belushi by Judy Belushi Pisano and Tanner Colby.
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Emile Hirsch in "Prince Avalanche"
Emile Hirsch in "Prince Avalanche"

Emile Hirsch has landed the role of comedian John Belushi in an untitled biopic to be directed by Steve Conrad (screenwriter of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"). Conrad is directing from his own script, based on the 2005 biography of Belushi by Judy Belushi Pisano and Tanner Colby.

The film will follow the height of Belushi's career as an outsized comedic screen presence on the first iteration of Saturday Night Live and in movies, when he starred in "The Blues Brothers," and "Animal House." It also looks at his early death at age 33 to an overdose of cocaine and heroin at LA's Chateau Marmont hotel. (Hirsch will be 29 when filming gets underway.)

Hirsch, who's coming up in Peter Berg's army action drama "Lone Survivor" opposite Mark Wahlberg, is best known for his turns in Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" and starring alongside Penn in Gus Van Sant's "Milk." Most recently he was one-half of David Gordon Green's two-hander "Prince Avalanche," in which he gave a pretty hilarious performance as a petulant twentysomething, thick in both mind and belly. No doubt his comedic chops in that film informed the casting of the Belushi project.

Belushi Pisano, the late actor's high school sweetheart and wife of six years, is also one of the project's producers. 

Filming kicks off in New York this spring. 

This article is related to: News, CASTING WATCH, casting, Emile Hirsch


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.