Chris Farley Biopic Paul Walter Hauser
Main Image: Paul Walter Hauser in 2022 (Shutterstock) and Chris Farley on David Letterman in 1995.

A Chris Farley biopic is in the works, with Richard Jewell star Paul Walter Hauser attached to play the Saturday Night Live comedian and Frozen actor Josh Gad set to make his directorial debut, a representative for Gad confirmed to MovieMaker.

Farley’s family have given the movie their blessing, and in addition to Gad and Hauser, SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels is also attached to produce the biopic via his Broadway Video banner.

The movie is early in development at this point. Currently, its the package stage with key players attached, and it’s being shopped around to potential financiers.

Paul Walter Hauser Attached to Star in Chris Farley Biopic

Though it is yet untitled, the prospective Chris Farley biopic will be based on the 2008 book The Chris Farley Show: A Biography In Three Acts by Tom Farley Jr. and Tanner Colby. The screenwriters attached to adapt the script are Oscar-nominated screenwriting duo Scott Neustadter Michael H. Weber, known for projects like The Disaster Artist, 500 Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars, Daisy Jones & The Six.

Chris Farley joined the cast of SNL in the mid-1990s alongside Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, David Space, and Chris Rock. Among his most famous and beloved comedy sketches are as the fictional character Matt Foley, a motivational speaker who famously warned a young Spade and Christina Applegate of the perils of “living in a van down by the river.”

Other well-known sketches included his recurring character Todd O’Connor in the bit “Bill Swerski’s Superfans,” who memorably shouted “da Bears!” as well as an aspiring Chippendales dancer opposite Patrick Swayze, one of the “Gap Girls” who worked at a local mall, and the lunch lady from the “Lunchlady Land” sketch.

Also Read: How Christina Applegate Got Chris Farley’s Classic SNL ‘Van by the River’ Sketch on the Air

Before SNL, Farley was part of Chicago’s Second City Theatre. After SNL, he pursued movies, including AirheadsTommy BoyBlack SheepBeverly Hills Ninja, and Almost Heroes.

Mike Myers Recalls Chris Farley Pressing His Naked Body Into Him in the Shower, Every Week at SNL
Mike Myers and Chris Farley on SNL in the 1990s Credit: NBC

Farley tragically died in 1997 at the age of 33 of a drug overdose of cocaine and morphine in Chicago, the Cook County Medical Examiner told The Associated Press.

Hauser is known for playing Richard Jewell in Clint Eastwood’s 2019 drama Richard Jewell about the man who was wrongly accused of planting the bomb he discovered at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Other cast included Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, and Olivia Wilde. Hauser has also appeared in 2022’s Black Bird Apple TV+ thriller series, for which he won a Primetime Emmy for best supporting actor in a limited series. He acted in the series alongside Ray Liotta and Taron Egerton.

Hauser has also had supporting roles in BlacKkKlansman, I, Tonya, Late Night, Da Five Bloods, and Cruella. In addition to acting, Hauser is also a professional wrestler and a rapper under the name Signet Ringer. He released his first EP, Murder for Higher, in 2022.

In addition to voicing the snowman Olaf in the animated Disney movie Frozen, Gad is also a Broadway actor known for playing Elder Cunningham in original 2011 cast of The Book of Mormon. In 2023, he was in the Broadway show Gutenberg! The Musical! alongside his Book of Mormon cast mate and Girls supporting actor Andrew Rannells.

Gad is also known for playing roles in projects including Love & Other Drugs alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, 21, Jobs, The Internship, Wish I Was Here, The Wedding Ringer, A Dog’s Purpose, Marshall, Bob’s Burgers, Frozen II, and Wolf Like Me.

Watch the iconic Van Down By the River sketch below.

Deadline first reported the news of the Chris Farley biopic package.

Main Image: Paul Walter Hauser in 2022 (Shutterstock) and Chris Farley on David Letterman in 1995.