Happy Endings alum Adam Pally is in talks to star in a new John Belushi biopic that would co-star Ike Barinholtz as Dan Aykroyd, while Aubrey Plaza is being eyed to play Belushi’s wife, Collider has exclusively learned.
David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) will direct the long-gestating project, which was written roughly a decade ago by Steve Conrad (Wonder). When Collider last reported on the project in December, Broadway sensation Alex Brightman (Beetlejuice) had agreed to play Belushi, though it seems the filmmakers required a bigger star in order to secure proper financing.
Alexandra Milchan (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Scott Lambert (The Terror) are producing Belushi via their Emjag Productions banner along with legendary casting director Bonnie Timmermann. Milchan and Lambert did not respond to a request for comment, nor did publicists for Pally, Barinholtz and Plaza.
Belushi was a comic force who successfully made the jump from Saturday Night Live to the big screen, where his larger-than-life persona served him well in films such as National Lampoon’s Animal House and The Blues Brothers. Belushi famously died at the age of 33 from a drug overdose at the Chateau Marmont in 1982. The film is expected to follow Belushi at the height of his fame, and tell the story of a man who embodied both the glory and the tragedy of the American dream. Sources say the script also features nearly a dozen celebrities as characters, such as SNL boss Lorne Michaels, Belushi’s fellow hard-partying funnyman Robin Williams, and musicians such as Keith Richards and Rick James.
Michael Chiklis previously played Belushi in a 1989 adaptation of the Bob Woodward book Wired, which reportedly was boycotted by Belushi’s friends and family. It’s unclear whether the current incarnation of this project features the support of Belushi’s widow, Judith Belushi Pisano, or Belushi’s SNL pal Aykroyd, who was reportedly on board as an executive producer back in 2013.
Pally recently starred in Sonic the Hedgehog and Netflix’s wrestling-themed family film The Main Event. Back in 2013, Buzzfeed named Pally its #2 contender to play Belushi, citing the actor’s “devil-may-care attitude.” He’s repped by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Best known for his starring role on The Mindy Project, Barinholtz most recently appeared in Blumhouse’s The Hunt, and he’ll soon be seen in Amy Poehler‘s next directorial effort Moxie. He’s represented by UTA and Artists First.
Repped by CAA and MGMT Entertainment, Plaza recently starred in the Child’s Play reboot and will soon be seen in the indie thriller Black Bear, which bowed at Sundance earlier this year. She has also wrapped the dramedy Best Sellers, which pairs her with screen legend Michael Caine. Additionally, Plaza is slated to star in Hope, a rom-com from the writer of Legally Blonde, and you can click here to read more about that Netflix project.