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.