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Emile Hirsch has been cast as John Belushi in Steve Conrad’s untitled Belushi biopic.
Conrad wrote the script and is directing the indie drama, which tackles the iconic comedian’s life as an allegory about the glory and tragedy of the American dream. The film will explore his rise to fame in the late ’70s as an original castmember on Saturday Night Live and star of such films as The Blues Brothers and Animal House, through to his shocking fatal drug overdose at age 33 at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.
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Emjag’s Alexandra Milchan and Bonnie Timmermann, Film 360’s Scott Lambert, and Judy Belushi Pisano are producing.
Conrad penned the script based on the book Belushi by Belushi Pisano and Tanner Colby.
Dan Aykroyd, one of Belushi’s best friends and frequent collaborator, will exec produce.
Conrad and the producers are looking at a spring 2014 shoot in New York.
The casting continues a career renaissance for Hirsch, who was at one time pegged for major stardom after leading roles in movies such as Speed Racer and The Girl Next Door.
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When those movies didn’t perform, Hirsch’s trajectory shifted to a focus on indie roles, while his work continued to impress critics and viewers. Hirsch portrayed Chris McCandless in Into the Wild, appeared in Alpha Dog and starred opposite Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe.
He next stars as Clyde Barrow in telepic Bonnie & Clyde, which will be simulcast over two nights on the History Channel, A&E and Lifetime.
He also makes up part of the big-name ensemble cast of Lone Survivor, which also includes Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch and Ben Foster. The Peter Berg-directed movie tells the story of former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and is considered an awards contender.
Hirsch is represented by WME, Silver Lining Entertainment and Sloane Offer.
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