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Russell Crowe To Make Directorial Debut With Bill Hicks Biopic, Production To Start In 2013

by Charlie Schmidlin
July 23, 2012 10:23 AM
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Russell Crowe Bill Hicks

It's well-known now, but there was a definite shift right around the release of Judd Apatow's “Funny People” when everyone suddenly realized Eric Bana had incredible comic chops, even though his native Australian fanbase had known that fact for ages from the actor's sitcom and stand-up career. Sadly, fellow Aussie Russell Crowe has no such hushed comedy background to be discovered, so he's decided lately to grow a sense of humor, first appearing as the villain in RZA's kung-fu film “Man With The Iron Fists,” and now making his own directorial debut with a biopic centered around one of comedy's biggest legends.

Crowe is currently wrapped up in Iceland shooting Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic “Noah,” but afterwards is planning a biopic on comedian Bill Hicks' life for his debut behind the camera. Primarily known for notoriety gained over his signature stage presence and cutting material, Hicks still attracted a massive following that has only grown in size since his death in 1994, and one that Crowe is hoping will show up for his take on the man's life. "Bill Hicks' life is tragically short, but spectacularly interesting," said Mark Staufer, an old schoolmate of Crowe's that penned the script, "The screenplay has gone through a number of drafts and we'll go into production early next year."

When Staufer describes the changes made in pre-production, he's referring to a journey spanning all the way back to 2008, when the script was nothing more than a treatment to which Crowe responded favorably. The actor initially envisioned himself as the lead (which admittedly would make for a fascinating portrayal), but has now apparently has settled for solely the director's duties instead. No follow-up names have been mentioned, but it remains a compelling project for Crowe to tackle, and one that could potentially join the ranks of “Lenny” with an amazing performance for whomever lands the showcase role. [Telegraph]

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  • Hackattack | July 28, 2012 10:05 PMReply

    Am I the only person who thought his show w/ Tugger was amazing?

  • Mimi | July 24, 2012 12:15 AMReply

    Not many people realize that Crowe can be very funny ... he's clever and quick witted. Sparks of his comic delivery have shown up on talk show appearances. He'd have been great in the role of Hicks 10 years ago but at 48, he's too old now. Hicks died at age 35. So, Crowe directs the material. I don't know who they'll cast, but it should be an interesting project.

  • Kevin | July 23, 2012 2:18 PMReply

    I really hope this gets made. Russell Crowe as Bill Hicks is strangely perfect... If none of you guys out there have ever heard Bill Hicks' material, give it a shot. He's dark, hysterical, but also profound at times -- especially in his later shows when he knew he was dying. Love Bill Hicks. Get it done, Russell Crowe.

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