After lingering in development limbo for ages, the John Belushi biopic has begun to focus in on a handful of actors who could potentially play the "SNL" legend.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Steve Conrad ("The Pursuit of Happyness," December's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty") has met with Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild") and Adam Devine (Comedy Central's "Workaholics") to discuss the role of Belushi. Joaquin Phoenix may also be connected to the role, THR notes.
The biopic was originally in place at Warner Bros., but it will now be made as an independent feature. Todd Phillips ("Old School," "The Hangover") was once set to direct the project.
"Our goal is not to do a traditional biopic approach with it that people expect, whether you're talking about 'Walk the Line' or 'Ray.' All good movies, but our goal is not to make that typical biopic," Phillips told MTV back in 2010. "We want to make a movie that, if John Belushi saw it, he would be happy that it captured his spirit. Sometimes I feel that they don't entirely capture the spirit of the person they're about. Our goal is to capture the spirit of Belushi, not necessarily make a straight-ahead biopic."
Belushi, who is best known as one of the original cast members of "Saturday Night Live," died at the age of 33 following an accidental overdose of heroin and cocaine. That means the biopic will likely depict the last few years of Belushi's life, as Hirsch is currently 28 and Devine is 29. (Phoenix, on the other hand, is 38.)
Dan Aykroyd, Belushi's partner in crime on "SNL" and in movies like "The Blues Brothers," will also play a part in the narrative of the late actor's life. Nelson Franklin, who has had small roles on "The Office" and "New Girl," has discussed playing Aykroyd, according to THR.
Aykroyd, now 61, will serve as an executive producer on the project, and Belushi's widow, Judy Belushi Pisano, will also produce. Shooting is scheduled to begin in spring 2014.
In an interview with a California news station, Rob Schneider <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/01/rob-schneider-links-autism-vaccines_n_1641922.html" target="_hplink">revealed his opposition to government-mandated vaccines</a>, attributing them to Autism. He also said they went "against the Nuremberg Laws," although he most likely meant the UN's Nuremberg Principles, not the series of anti-semitic statutes passed by Nazis.
On the "ABCs of SNL" podcast in April 2012, Lovitz made headlines for his complaints about Obama's tax policies, saying, "This whole thing with Obama saying the rich don't pay their taxes is f*cking bullshit, and I voted for the guy and I'm a Democrat. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/23/jon-lovitz-obama-criticism_n_1447411.html" target="_hplink">What a f*cking a**hole</a>." He later called Obama "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/jon-lovitz-hannity-obama-hypocritical-george-clooney-video_n_1527656.html" target="_hplink">hypocritical</a>" for holding a George Clooney campaign frundraiser and defended his remarks by saying, "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/29/jon-lovitz-obama-defends-comments_n_1463338.html" target="_hplink">Last I checked, he's President, not King</a>."
Tea Party member Victoria Jackson can be frequently counted on to offer an off-color remark, whether she's slamming <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/22/victoria-jackson-slams-glee-showbiz-tonight_n_838862.html" target="_hplink">"Glee," gays or Muslims</a>, comparing <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/08/victoria-jackson-former-s_n_227781.html" target="_hplink">President Obama to Hitler</a> or saying that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/12/victoria-jackson-is-crazy_n_174253.html" target="_hplink">Rush Limbaugh should run the country</a>. During her time at "SNL," she reportedly said, "Maybe I'm overcompensating, because everybody here is dying and going to Hell, and I'm supposed to tell them about Jesus."
Chris Rock's career relies on his controversial stand-up and frank speech, but they've also frequently gotten him into hot water. In 2005 he was criticized for his harsh monologue at the Academy Awards and did not return to the telecast until 2012. More recently, on July 4, 2012, Rock <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/05/chris-rock-white-peoples-day-july-4th-tweet_n_1651833.html" target="_hplink">made headlines</a> again for a tweet which referred to the holiday as "White People's Independence Day."
Aside from his <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/08/bill-murray-talks-chevy-chase-fight-letterman_n_1580489.html" target="_hplink">battles with Bill Murray</a> in the early days of "SNL," Chevy Chase was rumored to be hard to work with on the set of "Community," and it all came to head in April 2012, when he became <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/31/community-chevy-chase_n_1393823.html" target="_hplink">embroiled in a public feud</a> with boss Dan Harmon. After Harmon called Chase out on his behavior at wrap party, he later played the angry, profanity-laden voicemails that Chase had left him aloud at comedy show. Harmon <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/community-creator-apologizes_n_1402335.html" target="_hplink">later apologized</a> after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/19/dan-harmon-out-community-showrunner_n_1529212.html" target="_hplink">being fired</a> from the show he created.
Gilbert Gottfried was part of the huge cast turnover of "SNL" in 1980, but quickly moved on with his comedy and voice-over career. In 2011, he found himself in hot water after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/gilbert-gottfried-tweets-_n_835553.html" target="_hplink">tweeting jokes</a> about Japan's devastating tsunami, leading to his <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/gilbert-gottfried-fired-aflac_n_835692.html" target="_hplink">being fired</a> as the Aflac Insurance spokesperson.
In 2007, Eddie Murphy came under scrutiny for his initial refusal to acknowledge Melanie Brown's, AKA Scary Spice's, daughter as his own. In August of that year, Brown complained to <em>People</em> that Murphy had not <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/08/01/mel-b-bashes-eddie-who-ha_n_58789.html" target="_hplink">"paid one penny of child support."</a> A DNA test later proved that Murphy <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/06/22/its-a-girl-dna-proves-edd_n_53400.html" target="_hplink">is the father. </a>
In April 2010, original "SNL" cast member Dan Aykroyd went on Larry King's show to share his eyebrow-raising theories about aliens: "I don't think we will ever have a formal relationship, a formal contact, with any alien species out there, especially after 9/11 when we broke our toys in the sandbox. If they were observing that, goodbye human race."
After Tracy Morgan made <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/10/tracy-morgans-homophobic-remarks_n_874699.html" target="_hplink">homophobic jokes</a>, during a Nashville stand-up show, an angry audience member blasted the comedian on Facebook, sparking a controversy. Morgan later apologized and the incident inspired a two-episode special on "30 Rock" called <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/30-rock-tracy-morgan-tracy-jordan-gay-jokes-video_n_1218160.html" target="_hplink">"Idiots are People Two" and "Idiots Are People Three." </a>
Randy Quaid rocked "SNL" in the late 80s, but in more recent years he's made headlines for some very different reasons. In 2009, he and his wife were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/24/randy-quaid-wife-wanted-f_n_298602.html" target="_hplink">arrested</a> for allegedly not paying a $10,000 hotel bill. The following year they were detained again for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/26/randy-evi-quaid-arrested_n_552484.html" target="_hplink">repeatedly failing to show up to hearings</a> for the charges, and again in 2010 for allegedly staying in their old home <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/19/randy-evi-quaid-arrested-_n_730680.html" target="_hplink">without the permission of the new owner</a>.
John Belushi is often remembered as one of the funniest "SNL" cast members of all time. However, in 2011, fellow original cast member <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/13/john-belushi-sexist-jane-curtain_n_848646.html" target="_hplink">Jane Curtin painted a different picture of Belushi</a> when she went on "Oprah" and accused him of deliberately sabotaging sketches by female writers when he performed them at table reads.
Robert Downey Jr
Did you know that RDJ was an "SNL" cast member in the 1980s? He was, from 1985-1986, but most people know him as a film actor, specifically one who was repeatedly arrested on drug charges in the 90s. After a missed test in 1999, he ended up in the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison. After he was released, he began working on "Ally McBeal" but he was famously fired from the show after being arrested yet again.