Boyhood director Richard Linklater is set to helm a Bill Hicks biopic. Hicks began his stand-up comedy career at a young age but would come to prominence during the '80s and early '90s with a series of successful tours and television appearances. Sometimes controversial, often insightful and always entertaining, Hicks' dark and satirical brand of humor touched on a number of sensitive subjects including politics, religion, drugs, spirituality and modern culture. Tragically, Hicks passed away at the age of 32 due to pancreatic cancer but his legacy has only grown in his absence and the comedian is often cited as one of the best stand-up acts of all time.
Since his death, many have sought to tell the fascinating story of Bill Hicks' life and the most notable effort came in the form of 2009's American: The Bill Hicks Story which premiered at the 2010 SXSW film festival. However, there have been rumors of a Hicks biopic circling since 2012, when it was reported that Russell Crowe would be directing and starring in such a project. News of that effort has been quiet in the six years since but it now appears that the wheels are again turning on a Bill Hicks movie, albeit with no mention of any involvement from Crowe.
According to Collider, Richard Linklater (Boyhood, School of Rock) is set to write and direct a currently-untitled Bill Hicks biopic for Focus Features. There is no indication as to whether or not this is a revival of the 2012 project that originally had Russell Crowe attached or an entirely new entity, nor is there any mention of who could be portraying the legendary comic.
At first glance, Linklater seems like a natural choice to direct a Hicks biopic. Not only is the filmmaker a highly respected Oscar-nominee but both he and Hicks share an affinity for American rock 'n' roll subculture. Perhaps more importantly however, Hicks was known to be very fond of Linklater's 1993 movie Dazed and Confused and therefore undoubtedly would've approved of the man chosen to document his life on film. There's no news yet on a potential release date but as Linklater is currently finishing up Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, work on the Hicks project is unlikely to begin straight away.
As the years go by, Hicks' ahead-of-its-time material seems to find and resonate with new, younger audiences and Linklater's movie will surely only amplify the comedian's legacy. For Hicks fans however, the actor playing the comic is arguably more critical than having the director of Boyhood behind the camera and this casting decision will likely prove crucial to the film's success.