Josh Gad Calls His Chris Farley Movie a “Full Circle Moment”



The Big Picture

  • Josh Gad’s directorial debut will be a Chris Farley biopic inspired by the book “The Chris Farley Show.”
  • The film aims to capture Farley’s universal comedic essence while exploring his journey through addiction, relationships, and demons.
  • The project is a love letter to Farley’s life, and very personal to Gad, who idolized the late comedian.


Josh Gad has built a massively successful career on-screen with standout roles in Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, and more, but everything is about to come full circle, in his words, with his latest project – a Chris Farley biopic. Announced back in April with Paul Walter Hauser in the lead role, the film will mark Gad’s directorial debut and immediately drew widespread attention for the love many still hold for the late Saturday Night Live star. It’s set to explore the tragic journey of Farley, who quickly rose to become one of the sketch comedy’s biggest stars before his tragic death at the age of 33. During an interview with Collider’s Arezou Amin to talk about his Star Wars X OREO collaboration, Gad lightly teased what to expect from his much-anticipated biopic, from the tone to what parts of Farley’s story it would cover.


Although he was limited in what he could say about the film, Gad confirmed the main source material it would pull from. “I can tell you that it’s based on the incredible book written by Chris’s brother, Tom [Farley Jr.], and his partner, Tanner [Colby], called The Chris Farley Show,” he said. The New York Times bestseller is a portrait of who Farley was to his closest friends, family, and colleagues and how his struggles with addiction ultimately destroyed him. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber will pen the screenplay based on the book, though Gad adds that they are also more broadly looking at Farley’s unique legacy when crafting the film.


Through his characters on SNL and beyond, Farley established a style of humor capable of making nearly anyone laugh that has kept him relevant in the years since his death. Gad is especially focused on ensuring his depiction of Farley will capture that essence of universal comedy while still packing emotional punches by showing the depth of his relationships and his demons.

“I can tell you what’s inspiring me and the writers and Paul, the brilliant Paul Walter Hauser, as we roll up our sleeves and start to map things out. There’s a joy and a legacy that Chris’s work has that is wholly unique. There are very few people that can universally make everyone laugh. Chris Farley was one of those individuals. So what I hope to capture is the essence of that in the same way that, I don’t know if you had a chance to ever watch Adam Sandler’s Chris Farley tribute song, [“Farley”], but it’s incredible, and it sort of, again, captures the essence of what made Chris a comedy hero to so, so many of us. It’s gonna track his journey through thick and thin, oftentimes thick and oftentimes thin, and it’s going to do so in a way that I hope

makes people laugh and sometimes cry. But we’re really excited. We’re at the beginning of it, but I think it’s gonna be really special.”



Gad’s Chris Farley Biopic Will Be Deeply Personal to Him

Gad’s first turn behind the camera is a titanic undertaking given the long shadow cast by Farley, but he’ll have an impressive team behind him. The talented Hauser is seemingly everywhere nowadays, with upcoming roles in the Naked Gun reboot, The Fantastic Four, and Inside Out 2 lined up, and he’s previously expressed his eagerness to play Farley on-screen. SNL boss Lorne Michaels is also helping produce through his Broadway Video banner. Along with that strong foundation, Gad fully understands the assignment and is focused on making something personal not only to the comedian but to himself. The film is meant, in a sense, as a love letter to Farley’s life and career, based on Gad’s deep appreciation for the icon while growing up.


“For me, it was really important. I’ve wanted to direct for a while, but I knew that I needed to do something that was very personal and a story about the struggle with weight, struggle with confidence, struggle with inner demons, and wanting to make people laugh even if sometimes it’s at your own expense. Those things felt wholly familiar and recognizable, in part because I worshiped Chris Farley growing up. So, it’s sort of a full-circle project for me, and in a way, I see a lot of myself in it.”

Gad’s Farley biopic is still in its early stages and has no release window yet, though it has found a home with New Line Cinema. Stay tuned here at Collider for more on the hotly-anticipated film, and check out our full interview with Gad now.



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