One night, years and years ago, sometime in the late ’90s, a friend and I stumbled across a documentary about some comic named Bill Hicks. Not being standup club regulars, we had no idea who he was, but we knew a lot of the people being interviewed in the doc and were impressed by how they spoke about Hicks, like he was this comedy god. So of course I looked him up and found out that he is, indeed, regarded as a comedy god. He was one of those comics who was brilliant, and also a little scary. His sets could be hilarious, but he could also make you feel very uncomfortable. He was a social satirist of the first degree and he didn’t care if you didn’t like him, unlike many comedians, who desperately want audiences to love him. He was a fascinating guy, but died tragically young of pancreatic cancer in 1994.
I mention all this because Indiewire brings us news today that Russell Crowe will make his directorial debut with a biopic of Hicks. The script, written by Mark Stauffer, has been around for a while, and at one point Crowe had planned to star in it, which I would have loved to have seen. It looks like he’ll just direct, though. Casting will be interesting. Stauffer, the screenwriter, said, “”Bill Hicks’ life is tragically short, but spectacularly interesting. The screenplay has gone through a number of drafts and we’ll go into production early next year.”
I hope so. Crowe is currently filming Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah.”