Russell Crowe is not a man famed for his good sense of humor. Aside from being a hugely talented actor, the Kiwi tough guy has been known to rough people up simply for existing in his grumbling presence. So it comes as quite a shock to learn that the Oscar winner is set to direct a screen biopic of legendary stand up comedian Bill Hicks.
And, despite resembling the US comedian, who died aged 33 of pancreatic cancer, it has been confirmed that Crowe will not star in the title role of what will be his debut as director. Mark Staufer, who is Crowe’s close friend and writer of the film, confirmed that role of Hicks has still not been filled.
He said: “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.” Of course, Hicks and Crowe do have one thing in common….controversy. The stand up was known for his uncompromising style which often attacked Christianity and America itself.
Indeed, Hicks often found that he was more accepted outside of his homeland in countries such as the UK, where in 2004 a daily motion in parliament was passed to commentate the 10th anniversary of his death. Russell Crowe has had numerous controversies through out his career, most notably being charged for assaulting a New York hotel employee with a telephone in 2005.
While the news of his ambition to direct may come as a surprise, there is no doubting Crowe’s experience in the business, never mind his ferocious acting talent. Whether the Hicks biopic will be a success or not will ultimately come down to the casting of the lead role rather than Crowe’s own technical or creative proficiencies. Not only will the actor have to embody one of the most charismatic comedians of the 20th century, but he will also have to contend with a director, who is one of the most volatile and demanding characters in the business.