Hirsch to play John Belushi

Into the Wild star Emile Hirsch has been cast as infamous comedian John Belushi in a new biopic about the funnyman based on the biography that was co-written by his widow.  The independent film, which has yet to be given an official title, sees Steve Conrad writing and directing; his previous movies include The Weather Man, starring Nicolas Cage, and The Pursuit of Happiness, with Will Smith.

The film is to start shooting in 2014 in New York and will see the life of the beloved but troubled actor shown as an allegory of both the glory and the tragedy inherent in the pursuit of the American Dream.  The script is based on the biography that was co-written by Belushi’s widow Judy and published eight years ago back in 2005.

The life of the comic will be mapped out from his appearances as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live, his performances in feature films such as Animal House and The Blues Brothers, until his fatal drug overdose at just 33 years old at Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont hotel in 1982.

28-year-old Hirsch was tipped for superstardom in the last decade after his work in features such as Speed Racer and The Girl Next Door, but the movies ultimately sparked little interest and he went down the route of character acting in independent features.  Belushi’s Blues Brothers co-star and close friend Dan Aykroyd is to serve as executive producer on the film.