Oscar-nominated director, Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused/Boyhood), has signed on to develop, write and direct a film surrounding the life of celebrated comedian Bill Hicks.
Richard Linklater and Bill Hicks both grew up in Houston Texas in Southern Baptist families. Linklater later becoming a noted director and Hicks becoming one of the world’s most revered comedians – the comedian’s comedian, if you will. Though they never really knew each other, they knew of each other. Linklater’s older brother went to the same school as Hicks, and Hicks was a big fan of Dazed and Confused, which was released five months before his death in February 1994.
Linklater regrets that he never got to work with Bill Hicks while he was alive, but that may not be such a bad thing, as Hick’s unique story will now make for a compelling, contemporary Linklater film. Also, the fact that Hicks wasn’t so far removed from Linklater’s teenage social life will obviously allow Linklater to write about extremely familiar circumstances, yet this time from the original perspective of a comic genius.
This is truly exciting, and the extensive range of Hicks stories, legends, musings and footage that Linklater can pull from to make this movie happen are nothing less than monumental. Hicks may have had a short life, but he crammed lots in while he was with us.
Hicks started playing comedy clubs at sixteen years old; riding his push-bike to gigs most nights of the week, and creating a solid name for himself at Houston’s Comedy Workshop. He began his rise to global prominence in the 1980’s when he repeatedly toured the United States and made appearances on various TV shows – watering down his obscenely funny, totally unique and highly confronting club act for television – but still managing to make everyone laugh in a whole new way, and maybe open their eyes a just a little too.
Hicks always kept up with those club gigs though, and after conquering America, he went on to make it even bigger in England, amassing a significant fanbase and repeatedly packing large venues of note during his 1991 tour.
Considered a genius by virtually all comics everywhere and anywhere, Hick’s success was cut short at the age of 32 due to pancreatic cancer – and though he passed almost twenty-five years ago, to this day you would be hard pressed to find a true fan of quality comedy that cannot partially quote his funniest bits…
Richard Linklater had always been a huge fan, but following the premiere of the documentary American: The Bill Hicks Story, Linklater felt a renewed connection to Hicks, and the idea of a Bill Hicks project was conceived.
Linklater told American: “There’s not quite any others like him. They don’t speak in the same voice. You’d think people would take that torch and go with it, but it’s a rare combination of that kind of intelligence, mysticism, political, you know… his politics, his angle, it’s pretty unique. I go through my life all the time… everything that’s going on in our culture, I always think, what would Bill Hicks be doing? You just miss him.”
It is unknown when Linklater will embark on the film, but it is assumed to be soon, as his proposed next project, to make a movie about the Space Race in the summer of 1969, seems to have been abandoned. Linklater’s next film, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? based on the novel of the same name by Maria Semple and starring Cate Blanchett and Kristin Wiig, is set to be released March 22nd, 2109 by Annapurna.
The new Hicks film is being developed by Focus Features. We will keep you well posted as more news eventuates.