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A docuseries about Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s classic characters the Blues Brothers is in the works.
For the series, Aykroyd and Belushi’s widow Judith Belushi-Pisano, as well as her son Lucas Pisano, will collaborate with Utopia Originals, which will produce along with ALG Brands and The Ranch.
Born out of Saturday Night Live sketches, the Blues Brothers entered the pop zeitgeist following the 1980 release of their eponymous movie, which followed Aykroyd and Belushi’s Jake and Elwood Blues as they try to get their R&B group back together. The movie, which also featured John Candy and Carrie Fisher, was both a box office and critical success.
“Last year, The Blues Brothers film was selected by The Library of Congress to the National Film Registry, and being in this most worthwhile cultural preservation initiative made us realize there remains more to this story,” said Aykroyd. “Judy and I are pleased to collaborate with Utopia Originals to produce the only authorized, optimized, socio-forensic examination of the Blues Brothers and the world that created and embraces them.”
The yet-to-be-titled series will include as-yet-unseen materials, and dive into the history, music catalog and legacy of the characters, as well as the actors behind them and the friendship they shared. According to today’s announcement, the series will also tackle “the sensitivities of race in the music industry and reveals the mindsets, intentions and follow-through of the creators.”
Danielle DiGiacomo and Robert Schwartzman will produce for Utopia, The Ranch’s Russell Groves, and ALG’s Ashley Austin and Scott Austin. Belushi Pisano and Aykroyd are executive producing.
The series does not yet have a distributor attached but will soon be taken out to potential buyers. (Belushi’s life and legacy was recently the subject of Showtime doc Belushi from R.J. Cutler.)
Adds Aykroyd: “Much will be revealed that even I, as one of the originators, might not have been aware of. In the end, it will be all about the artists and their music.”
The documentary will “frame the Blues Brothers phenomenon as a springboard to explore the greater world of blues, rhythm and blues and gospel,” said Belushi-Pisano. “Opening that door is interesting and exciting and undoubtedly will bring a great deal of depth to the project. With this collaboration, we continue Dan and John’s original mission to share their passion for this music and, foremost, to celebrate the artists who created it. We expect this to be a significant historical and cultural investigation.”
“The image of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, dressed in matching suits, donning sunglasses and fedoras, is globally iconic. Behind that image is a fascinating, multilayered story of two legendary comedians — driven by a pure love of music — embarking on a years-long, roller-coaster journey riddled with unbelievable ups and downs,” added Danielle DiGiacomo, head of content at Utopia.
Utopia’s recent releases include the Gotham Award-nominated Shiva Baby and the Ross Brothers’ Sundance 2020 selection Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets. Utopia Originals — the division dedicated to the development and production of the original film and television content — is behind the upcoming feature comedy Not an Artist starring Matt Walsh and RZA.
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