Interview: R.J. Cutler on ‘Belushi,’ Opening Film for 56th Chicago International Fest, Oct. 14, 2020

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CHICAGO – The 56th Chicago International Film Festival will honor a prime comic force on its Opening Night on Wednesday, October 14th, 2020. The premiere of the Showtime documentary “Belushi” is a chronicle of John Belushi, directed by R.J. Cutler.

R.J. Cutler is a documentarian, filmmaker, TV producer and theater director. “Belushi” is his fourth full-length documentary as director, and contains unique interviews done in the era right after John Belushi’s passing in 1982, with contemporaries like wife Judy Belushi, Dan Akyroyd, “Saturday Night Live Producer” Lorne Michaels, Chevy Chase, Carrie Fisher and Jim Belushi. Besides the TV and film clips, Cutler added vivid animation sequences to illustrate points in Belushi’s life, that adds to the capturing of his subject’s essence, which for many biographers had been elusive.

Young John Belushi in ‘Belushi,’ the Opening Night Film of the 56th Chicago International Film Festival
Photo credit: Showtime

Like many pandemic cinema events in 2020, the 56th Chicago International Film Festival will have films available through virtual and online streaming. The Belushi doc will premiere at the Chi-Town Movies Drive-In (see details below). This “hybrid” approach will also have appointment screenings (designated times to tune in) and seven more drive-in movie events. There is an handy online guide with a “How to Festival” guide, instructions for ticket or event purchase, streaming guidelines and information on the drive-in screenings. Click here.

In Part One of an interview via Zoom with Patrick McDonald of, Director R.J. Cutler of “Belushi” talks about John’s early life, his ambitions as a performer and the unique quality of the interviews in the film.

In Part Two, director Cutler digs deeper into the essence of John Belushi … how can you capture a man that couldn’t capture himself?

The Opening Night Film for the 56th Chicago International Film Festival is “Belushi” on October 14th, 2020, at the ChiTown Movies Drive-In at 2343 South Throop Street, Chicago. The Festival runs October 14th to October 25th, 2020. Click here for schedules and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor, Film Writer

© 2020 Patrick McDonald,

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