With the news that the John Belushi biopic is back on after a stagnant few years, thoughts have turned to who will play the mercurial talent who was there at the very beginnings of Saturday Night Live. Joaquin Phoenix’s name has emerged amongst a bunch of potential actors.
John Belushi [L] and Dan Akroyd as The Blues Brothers
The fact that Phoenix’s name has been mentioned shouldn’t have much bearing on who actually plays the late star. So far, according to a quick trawl of the net, Zach Galifianakis, Jack Black, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Ethan Suplee, Tyler Labine and Emile Hirsch have all been suggested. (Digital Spy)
Phoenix’s is just the latest, but it could have legs. The controversial actor doesn’t tend to do comedy, but he tumultuous career bears similarities with that of Belushi’s, not to mention the pertinence of the comedian’s story considering how Joaquin’s younger brother, River, passed so tragically back in 1993.
So far, the cinematic version of Belushi is moving in the right direction; Todd Phillips is no longer attached to direct, meaning the film won’t be helmed by the man responsible for Starsky & Hutch and The Hangover - that’s a good, good thing. Belushi’s status as a comedy hero and wasted talent is better off in Steve Conrad’s hands. He wrote the script.
Joaquin Phoenix is linked to the Belushi role
Belushi famously died aged 33 after being found by his personal trainer. He had a widely reported drug problem, something that even he recognized. Having hired himself a bodyguard to stop him consuming narcotics, Belushi declared himself clean after 18 months of sobriety. What followed was, Neighbors; his one and only critical and financial flop.
Widely considered to be Hollywood’s lost star, Belushi’s story is one of tremendous talent, gluttony and the perils of fast-gained wealth and notoriety, something seen recently with the likes of Cory Monteith.
The tragic story of John Belushi