It looks as though the world will finally be getting the John Belushi documentary it deserves. Deadline reports that filmmakers R.J. Cutler (The September Issue) and John Battsek (Searching For Sugar Man) will be collaborating on a feature-length doc for Showtime about the hell-raising, blues-singing comedian, who died too soon at the age of 33.
“Belushi was one of my very first heroes. At a time when film, television, and music were undergoing tectonic shifts within American culture, he was at the center of it all,” Cutler says in a statement. “At that moment, he had the number one show on television, the number one film at the box office, and the number one record on the charts. We plan to explore his unique genius and how his creative influence is still making an impact to this moment.”
Judy Belushi Pisano—the since-remarried widow of the original SNL cast member— has for the first time agreed to work with filmmakers on such a project, offering photos from her personal collection.“John Battsek and I have been discussing the possibility of making this film for over a decade,” Pisano says. “ I’m thrilled to finally embark upon that journey together with him and director R.J. Cutler. Passion Pictures is poised to make the definitive documentary on John Belushi—a man who not only had a profound effect on the comedy landscape of America, but also made an indelible mark on the social fabric of his time which continues to reverberate today.”
Technically speaking, this will not actually be Pisano’s first cinematic tribute to her late husband. Shortly after Belushi’s accidental drug overdose in March 1982, she herself produced “West Heaven,” a music video incorporating the sort of personal photographs that might make it into this upcoming documentary. After airing on a 1983 episode of Saturday Night Live, it was never officially released and is currently difficult to find.
Battsek (producer) and Cutler (director/producer) previously worked together on last year’s critically acclaimed biographical documentary about Marlon Brando, Listen To Me Marlon.