Russell Crowe On For Bill Hicks Film

Directing not starring in the biopic

Rumours that Russell Crowe was planning to bring a Bill Hicks biopic to the screen have been bubbling away for a few years now, but the passion project is finally coming to fruition. Sydney's The Telegraph (via Indiewire) reports that the so-far untitled Hicks project will shoot next year, with Crowe making his directorial debut behind the camera.

"Bill Hicks' life is tragically short, but spectacularly interesting," Crowe's old schoolmate and the film's screenwriter Mark Staufer said. "The screenplay has gone through a number of drafts and we'll go into production early next year."

An acerbic chronicler of '80s and early '90s America blessed with a hyperkinetic intelligence and sandpaper delivery, Hicks was a lacerating thorn in the side of the gun lobby, organised religion and hypocrisy in general. He died in 1994 aged 32, an age difference that ultimately predicated against Crowe taking on his mantle on the other side of the camera.

The filmmakers behind 2010's excellent documentary American: The Bill Hicks Story revealed that Crowe was still in touch with the comedian's family with a view to making a film of his life, a relationship that should ensure that a wealth of archive material has been placed at the production's disposal. The next job is finding the right actor to play Hicks.

"It is a huge role for someone", says Staufer, "made all the more special, or downright scary, by the fact the director is an Oscar-winning actor like Russell".

While the casting process takes shape, share your thoughts on who should play the great man in the film. Off the top of Empire's head? Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Ryan Reynolds. Feel free to disagree...