Filmmaker R.J. Cutler is quickly establishing himself as one of the better documentary filmmakers in the industry. He already has established himself as a top-notch producer and a formidable director, but his latest documentary might be some of his best work yet, and he’s had some major hits already. Belushi, chronicles the up-and-down life of comedic icon John Belushi. From his humble beginnings to his rise to stardom to his untimely death.
I spoke to R.J. about the Belushi documentary. What drove him to do it? What he learned? He answers several of my pressing Belushi questions. He also touches on his upcoming Billie Eilish documentary. Also, he reveals his personal connection to New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and how he would like to do a movie about Cohen. All that and more in the interview below.
Great stuff with R.J. He’s a fascinating guy. I had a chance to speak to him earlier this year about his previous project Dear... I been awaiting this Belushi doc for quite some time. Being a Chicagoan, John Belushi is a local legend. I studied at Second City and he’s revered there till this day. I was so curious to learn about the man himself and his life and felt R.J. did a phenomenal job documenting that in the film.
I throw some curveballs to R.J. with hypothetical questions about Belushi’s life. He was direct in saying he didn’t want to speculate the “what if’s” which I totally understand. I do appreciate him sharing his opinion though.
R.J. keeps things close to the vest, which is understandable given his line of work, so he wasn’t able to share much about the Billie Eilish doc which will be releasing in early 2021. If it’s anything like the Belushi one, it’s going to be great. I have no reason to think otherwise based on his previous work.
I was surprised to hear about his connection to New York Mets owner Steve Cohen. Their connection with the piano lessons was so cool. Who would have imagined. What was even more interesting was R.J’s interest in doing a documentary about Steve Cohen. Now that would be something. Let’s make this happen! I’m sure every Mets fan would be all over it and I’m not even a Mets fan but count me in as a fan of that idea.
It was cool catching up with R.J. again, always a good conversation with depth. Looking forward his upcoming work and he has several movie titles he’s gonna be directing. Make sure to check out the Belushi doc. It’s as good as it gets. Wildly compelling. First person account from the people closest to him. Tons of info I never knew about and probably most wouldn’t know. It’s really well done. Photo credit to Michael Gold of Showtime.