Biopic of Hollywood icon John Belushi casts its lead

Ben Arnold
Contributor
John Belushi during John Belushi File Photos at Morton's Rest in Anaheim, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

The forthcoming biopic of screen legend John Belushi has cast Alex Brightman as the late actor and comedian, according to Collider.

Brightman is best known for his stage work in the US, playing Dewey Finn in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical adaptation of School of Rock, and currently as the lead in the Broadway production of Beetlejuice.

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The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel will be behind the camera, with the script penned by Steven Conrad, writer of movies like The Pursuit of Happyness and the 2013 remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Alex Brightman (Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Collider also reports that fellow Broadway actress Annaleigh Ashford is in line to play Belushi's wife Judy, with stand-up star John Mulaney up for the role of Belushi's friend and frequent collaborator Dan Aykroyd.

Belushi met Aykroyd when both worked at Chicago's revered Second City comedy club, the pair later going on to work on Saturday Night Live.

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He made his breakthrough screen performance in National Lampoon's Animal House, and then the iconic The Blues Brothers with Aykroyd.

Dan Aykroyd listens as Ray Charles plays piano next to John Belushi in a scene from the film 'The Blues Brothers', 1980. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Getty Images)

However, Belushi had long struggled with drug and alcohol abuse off screen.

He died in 1982 from drug intoxication after ingesting a mixture of cocaine and heroin. He was just 33.

Previous attempts to bring Belushi's story to the screen have faltered, with Joaquin Phoenix and Emile Hirsch both at one time linked to biopic projects.