Several years ago now, we reported that Russell Crowe had attached himself to a biopic on the too-short life of the great comic Bill Hicks. But given that there was no other word on the project since then, I had assumed that it was just another project that disappeared into limbo to never be heard from again. Well as a fan of Hicks comedy, I am pleased to report that Crowe is still intent on making the project, just with a minor change.
In an interview with the Guardian, the film’s screenwriter Mark Staufer has revealed that while Crowe is no longer looking to star in the film he is looking to make it his feature film directorial debut. He also stated that the film has still been in active development all this time and that they hope to be shooting early next year.
Staufer also stated that although they haven’t found an actor to fill the lead role vacated by Crowe but that it could be the role of a lifetime.
It is a huge role for someone, made all the more special, or downright scary, by the fact the director is an Oscar-winning actor like Russell.
While I do think that Crowe could conceivably capture Hicks’s on stage intensity, at age 48 he is already 16 years older than the comic was at the time of his death in 1994. Such an age difference leaves us open to the possibility of another Kevin Spacey/Beyond The sea situation and I don’t think any of us would want that.
And until the film gets underway, there is at least a very good documentary, American: The Bill Hicks Story that tells his life story. Or you could just enjoy this bit from his Revelations special. (Some language is NSFW so use headphones if necessary>)