The John Belushi biopic finds its leading man

Tom Butler
·Senior Editor
·2-min read
(MANDATORY CREDIT Ebet Roberts/Getty Images) John Belushi with Donald Duck Dunn and Matt 'Guitar' Murphy in back performing with The Blues Brothers at the Palladium in New York City on June 1, 1980. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
John Belushi with Donald Duck Dunn and Matt 'Guitar' Murphy in back performing with The Blues Brothers at the Palladium in New York City on June 1, 1980. (Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

Actor and comedian Adam Pally is set to fill the rather big boots of John Belushi in a forthcoming biopic about the life of the tragic Blues Brothers star.

Belushi, who was one of the seven original cast members of iconic US sketch show Saturday Night Live, died aged 33 in 1982 from a drug overdose.

Collider reports that Pally, who recently starred in Sonic The Hedgehog but is best known for the sitcom Happy Endings, is in talks to play the comic in the forthcoming film. Broadway star Alex Brightman had originally been cast as Belushi.

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 11: Adam Pally attends the 2020 NBCUniversal Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 11, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
Adam Pally attends the 2020 NBCUniversal Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 11, 2020. (Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

It’ll be directed by The Devil Wears Prada’s David Frankel from a script by Steve Conrad (Wonder/The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).

Read more: Akyroyd looks back at debauched Blues Brothers shoot

Bad Neighbours and Blockers star Ike Barinholtz is set to play Belushi’s longtime friend and collaborator (and future Ghostbuster) Dan Aykroyd, while Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza will play Belushi’s wife Judith Belushi Pisano.

Actor John Belushi (1949 - 1982) and wife Judith attend an event to receive the key to the city from Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne after the release of the movie 'Blues Brothers,' Chicago, Illinois, June 17, 1980. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
John Belushi (1949 - 1982) and wife Judith attend an event to receive the key to the city from Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne, June 17, 1980. (Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Other real life people expected to appear in the film include Lorne Michaels, Robin Williams, and musicians Keith Richards and Rick James.

The film, rumoured to be titled Belushi, will cover the life and career of the Chicago-born comic who shot to fame in the 1970s as a cast member on SNL.

He translated his small screen popularity into a number of big screen hits making his movie debut as the debauched Bluto in National Lampoon’s Animal House.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Ike Barinholtz attends the Walt Disney Television Emmy Party on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Luna/FilmMagic)
Ike Barinholtz attends the Walt Disney Television Emmy Party on September 22, 2019. (Rachel Luna/FilmMagic)

He later starred in Steven Spielberg’s WW2 comedy 1941, and is perhaps best remembered as Jake Blues in 1980’s musical comedy The Blue Brothers in which he starred alongside Aykroyd.

His final film appearance came in 1981’s Neighbours.

On 5 March, 1982, Belushi was found dead by his personal trainer in a cottage at LA’s Chateau Marmont hotel. His friend Cathy Smith later admitted injecting the actor with a deadly combination of heroin and cocaine, and served 15 months in prison for drug charges and involuntary manslaughter.