Bill Hicks –the incendiary stand-up icon of the early 90s who was claimed by cancer just as his star was beginning to rise– is the subject of one of the more successful indie documentaries that have made their splash specifically on VOD. Called American: The Bill Hicks Story, a case study on the film was actually put on as a panel at the last SXSW.  That case study is available here and the doc itself is on Instant Watch, but it looks like Hicks might be getting the spotlight from another unlikely source…

Russell Crowe. As a feature film director.

The report comes from Telegraph, which claims the Noah star will begin production next year based on a script written by his pal Mark Staufer. As Crowe has gotten a little old to play the comedian as original planned (seriously), they’ll be looking for someone to take on the role.

It’s much to early to tell what kind of biopic this might be or how Crowe plans to approach it, and there’s also nothing known about what kind of backing and thus scale this thing might have. I suspect it will be a small personal endeavor that struggles on the indie circuit as Crowe divides his tim with big acting gigs once it’s done, but maybe he’s got a real bone for storytelling that will push this thing farther.

Unfortunately Hicks is one of those fallen icons that passed away before I was culturally aware, and I only grew up knowing the folks who developed in his shadow and with his influences. This has made it hard to go back and deeply appreciate his material, as the context is all wonky and tainted. Still, you can’t watch him without seeing the dude was hilarious, groundbreaking, and we wouldn’t have really any of the great modern stand-ups doing their thing quite the same way without him. His story deserves a great bio, I just hope Crowe’s the one to do it.

via AV Club