Nia Howe-Smith ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In Hollywood, once a trend starts rolling, it’s hard to get it to stop. 2013 was a year peppered with a seemingly endless supply of biopics. Some, like the surprisingly emotional Saving Mr. Banks, the coked-up fantasy factory The Wolf of Wall Street, and the true-crime/love story Kill Your Darlings, were good. Others, like the bland Lovelace, blander Jobs, and blandest Diana, were bad. With no end in sight for the biopic trend at the start of 2014, it’s clear that Hollywood is hooked. This may prove to be a good thing, as the currently untitled John Belushi biopic, which begins production this spring, is lending itself to boast a talented new star breaking into the industry: Miles Teller.
The 26 year-old has drawn some well-deserved attention these past couple of years, starring in Project X, The Spectacular Now, upcoming blockbuster Divergent, and the recent Sundance darling Whiplash. In the forthcoming flick about the life of John Belushi, Teller has been offered the role of Belushi’s best friend and colleague, Dan Aykroyd, who is on board as executive producer. Potential cast member Emile Hirsch let the cat out of the bag early at Sundance.
Written and directed by Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), the film will focus on comedic actor John Belushi’s quick rise to fame and eventual descent into drugs, an overdose causing his death in 1982. He is notable for being an original cast member on Saturday Night Live, not to mention the star of the classic films National Lampoon’s Animal House and The Blues Brothers, the latter which also starred Aykroyd. The script will be based on the 2005 biography “Belushi” that the star’s widow, Judy Belushi, co-wrote with Colby Tanner. Playing the man himself will be Emile Hirsch (Lone Survivor), who proved he can handle some serious drama with 2007’s Into the Wild and 2008’s Milk, but will he be able to bring the funny? Only time will tell.
Teller fans already know he can be funny, and his turn in The Spectacular Now as the charming, alcoholic high school senior Sutter, is proof enough that he can handle the nuances of a complex character. He’s got a doughy eagerness about his face that’s reminiscent enough of a young Dan Aykroyd, and that plus his acting chops can give audiences high hopes for his performance.
As for the film itself, there’s reason to be a little more wary. John Belushi’s life has been on the big screen before in the 1989 flop, Wired. But as this new movie is being penned with the help of Aykroyd himself, perhaps audiences can trust that things just might turn out right this time around.