Bill Hicks is, without a doubt, one of our most influential comics, and he continues to define comedy even now almost 20 years after his death from cancer. Hollywood's been wanting to tackle this story for the longest time, but's it's been a difficult process; Bill Hicks died when he was 32, and frankly, there aren't a whole lot of actors in that age range who have the chops to do the part. There's a fantastic documentary on Hicks, told from the viewpoint of his friends and family, called AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY and it's on Instant Netflix if you haven't seen it yet. It really is wonderful and it has a nice visual kick to it that elevates it above most talking-head documentaries.
Russell Crowe was one of many actors who have eyed the role of Hicks over the years, but he's obviously aged out of the part now. Instead, according to the Telegraph, Crowe wants to direct the film based on his life. Crowe is partnering with Mark Staufer, who helped write the script.
Does Crowe have the directorial chops to make this work? He's never directed a feature film before (although he's been floating around a lot of projects over the years, and has made several short films). Also, who would play Hicks? As I said, it'll be tough shoes to fill. After this weekend, everyone's going to be floating around Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play pretty much everything, but this sounds perfect for him - he's in the right age range and he's a damn good actor, good enough to carry off Hicks, anyway.