'Belushi' movie is vibrant reflection of comedy legend's life; debuts at virtual Chicago Film Festival

John Belushi starred in 'The Blues Brothers,' 'Animal House'

ByMarsha Jordan WLS logo
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
'Belushi' movie is vibrant reflection of comedy legend's life; debuts at virtual Chicago Film Festival
"Belushi" is a new movie depicting the comedy legend's life. It debuts Wednesday at the virtual Chicago Film Festival.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Film Festival opens Wednesday, with the world premiere of the movie "Belushi."

"Belushi" is a vibrant reflection of the actor's life, so big and bold, and far too brief.

John Belushi was always considered a star.

ABC 7 Chicago's Janet Davies spoke with the director of "Belushi" about the comedy legend.

Filmmaker R.J. Cutler learned Belushi grew up in west suburban Wheaton.

"When he was 3, 4 years old, he used to walk out of his family house, walk into the neighbor's house and start performing a show in the living room and crack everybody up," Cutler said. "They cast him in a play because he was such a terrific actor, and he'd show up and bring 14 people with him."

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Belushi's wife, Judy, provided a priceless archive of audio tapes that his friends recorded after his death.

"It was Second City where he had his life-changing epiphany that this is how he wanted to spend his life," Cutler said. "He was a natural-born leader, he was a magnetic personality, he was a great athlete, he was a great musician.

"He auditioned and he got right into the main stage company, and I think he was the first person who'd ever done that. What I learned is that he was burning to get out. He knew there was more, and his ambition was aflame."

Davies asked if, had he survived 40 years later, he would have continued on to be the comedy icon he is today.

"He elevated comedy to a level nobody had ever seen it before, he elevated the eyebrow to a level nobody had ever seen it before," Cutler said. "The laughs, we could use them today for sure."

If you don't have a ticket to the ChiTown drive-in movie theater in Pilsen where the big debut is Wednesday, you can still see "Belushi."

You can access it through the virtual Chicago Film Festival program, and it's available through the run of the fest on Oct. 25.