Russell Crowe first was going to portray the legendary comedienne Bill Hicks back in 2008, but his passion project will come to life with him behind the camera rather in front of it. A lot of actors are doing whatever they can to land this role.
Many of you probably have never heard of Bill Hicks, but ask any of his growing legion of fans since his death in 1994 and they’ll say he was a comic god. Russell Crowe has felt that way for nearly a decade now and originally though of portraying the man on the big screen. As happens with passion projects, pre-production has lasted for many years with his oldtime friend Mark Staufer so now the Gladiator star will go behind the camera to direct. We’re hearing that he wants to cast an unknown to play Hicks, but we’ll see how that goes. Dustin Hoffman portrayed controversial comedienne Lenny Bruce perfectly so…
I had never heard of Hicks until I had worked with his longtime friend Kevin Booth, and after seeing all of his taped shows, I was just blown away. Crowe was not the person I thought would ever do this project, but what better passion project to have! “Bill Hicks’ life is tragically short, but spectacularly interesting,” Staufer said, “The screenplay has gone through a number of drafts and we’ll go into production early next year.” He also went on to say about the role, “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.”
Hicks humor is just as relevant today as when he performed it live two decades ago. He was able to find the humor in topics that most people found too serious to be taken lightly: drugs, abortion, organized religion, the government, and war. Many comediennes still count him as being the reason why they started performing. If you want to know more about this amazing talent, check out American: The Bill Hicks Story or the book co-written by Booth, Bill Hicks Agent of Evolution.