Russell Crowe as Bill Hicks?

Crowehicks_lNot sure how I missed the news that Russell Crowe wants to play Bill Hicks in a biopic of the late comedian. The actor is quoted talking about the project here, and a recent radio interview with longtime Hicks collaborator Kevin Booth (h/t to the Dead Frog comedy blog) confirms Crowe’s role in commissioning a screenplay, which is not yet finished. I’m also not sure how I feel about the idea, since Crowe (who’s not known for his jocular side) is already 12 years older than Hicks was when he died at 32, and since a botched biopic would trivialize Hicks as just another E! True Hollywood Story casualty, a guy who smoked too much and courted controversy and died of cancer on the cusp of fame. On the other hand, Booth’s participation should ensure that Hicks gets the respect he deserves; and Crowe is protean and versatile enough to play pretty much anybody (Exhibit A: The Insider). Besides, Crowe reportedly wants to focus on performance sequences than biographical scenes, and anything that gets Hicks’ legendary stand-up material more circulation (even in mimicked form) is good. In fact, here’s some classic Hicks, embedded after the jump, which has hardly dated at all, despite the passage of 16 years or more. (Link is, of course, full of NSFW language.)

addCredit(“Russell Crowe; Bill Hicks: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Everett Collection”)

Comments (85 total) Add your comment
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  • DanOregon

    Hicks is ripe for a biopic. A classic case of a guy who was too edgy for commercial success. Anyone who has seen Bill’s work on DVD knows there is a big story there, admired by fellow comics yet unwilling to tone down his act even if it cost him national TV appearances.

  • Fletch

    Crowe as Hicks? I don’t hate it, but who plays Kinison?

  • Al

    Bill Hicks is the most overrated comedian of modenr times. People are often aggrandized after death and Bill Hicks is a perfect example. He didn’t make it because he wasn’t funny. He was the poor man’s Lewis Black.

    • Christopher Dennis Fee

      You are either a right wing Republican or have no sense of humor yourself. Ask professional comedians whether Hicks was funny or not. If you disagree with them too, I suggest you go back to watching American Gladiators and leave the rest of us alone.

  • Hicks Insider

    For the record, Bill’s family is involved in the film more than anybody else besides the filmmakers. Many people who knew Bill have been interviewed by the screenwriter. The info in the Alex Jones clip is often off, if not untrue.

  • Will

    In that picture, Bill Hicks looks like a thin Ricky Gervais.

  • Fletch

    Was that Carrot Top posting under the name Al?

  • Rockin’ Rich

    Hicks over-rated?
    Shirley, you jest.

  • slophater

    Bill Hicks material was about real world issues and was ahead of his time. Most of the time the things he talked about as far as the government etc went over peoples heads until years later when they realized what he was saying the whole time was correct. “He wasnt funny” he was a thinking mans comedian – i guess you didnt think too much. RIP BILL HICKS – his material stands up to this day just fine and is always funny.

  • Rich

    I wrote a tune about Bill over a year ago when reading Kevin Booth’s book “Agent of Evolution”. My wife Gypsy did a cover of it and we put a video on YouTube. Check it out.

  • John

    Just switch off man. Bill’s stuff remains as edgy and insightful as ever. If you can’t see it, run off and play.

  • rob

    I think Kevin Spacey would make a better
    Hicks. Remember the opening sequence to Superman Returns and Lex Luthor has that wig on? Looks just like Bilbo Hicks. Just an idea

  • John

    Al does not understand comedy. Bill Hicks did “make it.” He did the late night shows, had an HBO special, sold out venues around the English-speaking world and produced enough original material for his several albums. Unfortunately for us, he died from pancreatic cancer at 32. What he was never willing to do, however, was do stupid and unfunny material like, say, Dane Cook, in order to appeal to a broader audience–an audience that includes dimwits like Al.

  • rob

    Indeed. Al should probably stick with that stuff that Hicks called “a little too heady for me” like Carrot Top( for those of you who didn’t get Gallagher) Maybe George Lopez

  • Davyo

    Al your comment was “Bill Hicks was an overrated comedian” gladly your view is not shared by many at all.
    I never saw Hicks live but after seeing his HBO special it had a big impact on me, my life and the way I think and percive things.
    And after seeing Hick’s HBO show I became and still am, a working stand-up comic and have been doing comedy full time now for the last 7 or 8 years.
    Funny thing is, before seeing Hick’s I had never even thought about doing comedy.
    His style always influences me to this day when Im writng jokes.

  • Jeremy

    Spacey would have been a great idea, but he is even older than Crowe. He would have been more convincing, in my opinion.

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