back to article Russell Crowe to play Bill Hicks?

It appears we have the leaves of Sherwood Forest to thank (or blame, depending on your viewpoint) for a possible outing of Aussie thespo Russell Crowe as legendary US comedian Bill Hicks. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, filming on Crowe's latest project Nottingham has been postponed until at least March next year " …


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  1. Chris Haynes

    Dear <non-specific deity>, No!

    Bill Hicks deserves much much more than Russell Crowe can deliver.

    You think if Bill Hicks comes back, he's ever going to want to see Russell Crowe play him?

    Fuck, no!

  2. Hud Dunlap
    Paris Hilton

    Bill Who??

    I am an American and I never heard of the guy. I went to the web site link and he reminds me of George Carlin without the style.

    Paris, because at least I heard of her.

  3. Alf Faiweather
    Thumb Down

    Gosh darnit Bill...

    You think when Bill Hicks comes back he ever wants to see a fucking Russell Crowe movie?

    I think I've died a little inside.

  4. ahahaha you won't catch me that easy again


    ...i imagine that mistah hicks'd be mighty excited...the great russell crowe eh?

    Alien coz i hope he's helping them devise a plan to get us off this f'ing planet

  5. Ferry Boat

    Review of development issues

    That git is not suitable to play Bill Hicks. Nobody is suitable to play Bill Hicks.

    There does not need to be a film about him. He recorded some live shows, watch those.

    Bloody forest.

  6. alphaxion


    No no no no no

    Do not want

    We still have dennis leary, the substandard clone, why do we need what is very much against the philosophy Hicks actually held.

    Why don't we just try to channel him from the other side instead? anyone got the requisite dosage of mushrooms and lsd to perform this?

  7. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Bill Who??

    Well, I've heard of him. Then again, I'm a reader.

  8. Jon Double Nice

    'Marketing & Advertising'

    From 'Arizona Bay'

    by Bill Hicks, go listen to it. I'm not entirely sure he'd be happy about this Crowe vehicle.

  9. Ralph B

    Why Russell Crowe?

    Wasn't Denis Leary available?

  10. Eddie

    no, no, and thrice no

    Great actor, but totally wrong for this.

  11. arran
    Jobs Halo

    Im wondering

    if the Mac zealots are the same ones who are screaming at the idea of crowe playing hicks....

    anyway Ive heard of hicks as well. but then Im not Under 20 and think comedy starts and finishes with little Britain.

    steve, because Im sure he is a hicks fan.

  12. Peter Thomas

    Re: Bill Who??

    I've heard of him, and I'm a waffle waitress.

  13. Chris Collins

    I'm Bill Fucking Hicks

    I'm going to squeegee your third eye with my fists

  14. Rob
    Gates Horns


    Goatboy is displeased at this travesty...

  15. Tom

    @ Hud

    That's a sad indictment of America today. They forget the genius who spoke the truth and they remember Bu$h. Twice. Or is it just because you're too old / too young to have taken notice of one of the most revered comedians of the late 20th Century?

  16. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    Ms Bee - reader

    What you reading for?

    Anyone who doesn't know who Bill Hicks is, I demand you immediately get pretty any Bill Hicks DVD or CD and beat yourself to a pulp for missing out on his pretty much perpetually correct, cutting and almost always hilarious social commentary.

    His stuff about George Bush Snr is pretty applicable to his son, as it happens.

    Steven "How far up your ass does this guy have to be before you realise he is fucking you" Raith.

  17. Rob Crawford

    Here we go again

    Personally I would rather have Russell trying (but probably failing) to play Bill rather than put up with to Dennis Learys existence.

    Personally I think Hicks would be pissing himself laughing at people getting upset about who plays him in a film. Tis a pity he isn't around as he would have had so much material concerning Bush II (the sequel).

    Perhaps the world (particularly the US & UK) need to be reminded of how angry we should be, and if that takes Mr Crowe then so be it.

    @Hud you need to broaden your horizons, theres a couple of decent books about Hicks which may put him in perspective

    Sad, because he is gone, when we needed him more than ever

  18. Lloyd


    and nnnnoooooooooooo some more.

    Hoprfully Mr Crowe will be assassinated by pro Castro pigeons pulling a coup for common sense.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Bill Hicks almost unknown in the US

    I moved to the US some 7 years ago, I was astonished that Hicks was virtually unknown to the general population. Seems his style of attack humour was not popular with the TV moguls, hence little or no TV exposure of his style. Denis Leary is a pale reflection of Hicks at his best.

    On a newly elected president

    "No matter what promises you make on the campaign trail - blah, blah, blah - when you win, you go into this smoky room with the twelve industrialist, capitalist scumfucks that got you in there, and this little screen comes down... and it's a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you've never seen before, which looks suspiciously off the grassy knoll.... And then the screen comes up, the lights come on, and they say to the new president, 'Any questions?'

    "Just what my agenda is."


  20. Garth

    Very shrewd

    They're sure to get the anti-marketer dollar with that one. Very strong demographic.

  21. Mark

    Re: Bill Who??

    Only an evolved being could play Bill Hicks - Crowe's still asking "Where's my thumbs ?"

    Thumb Down

    Chas Early...

    ..doesn't do a bad showing playing Bill Hicks in Slight Return, but it's still not Bill Hicks.

    Russel Crowe though...

  23. Robert Ramsay
    Thumb Up

    Good one Sarah Bee :-)

    "Wellll, lookee here, we got ourselves a reader!"

  24. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    @ Sarah Bee...

    What you reedin' for Sarah...

  25. Cap'n wotsit

    With a bit of luck

    Crowe will get so engrossed in being a character actor for this role he will smoke too many cigarettes, take too many drugs, and drink too much liquor that he himself will keel over in a heap somewhere.

    ah I can but hope.

    and I am afraid I won't put hand in pocket to see this film (if it makes it as far as completion) I will just sit at home and watch my collection of Bill Hicks DVD's

  26. Edwin

    Re: Bill Who??

    I remember Bill Hicks.

    He used to run a body shop in the tiny southwestern town I grew up in. Of course, he had kids, but said small town at one point featured a 27 y.o. grannie, so I guess it's possible.

    Don't remember him being particularly funny though, although I guess it could be a paint fumes thing.

    Gosh - to think he's famous now.

  27. Adrian Jackson

    @Sarah Bee

    Whut you reading for?

    And given that Bill Hicks has already been brought back to some extent in Slight Return, is this really necessary? Unless, of course, Bill Hicks is *actually* back from beyond the grave, with a half-hour weekly show that he will host, entitled 'Let's Hunt and Kill Russell Crowe'.

  28. A
    Jobs Horns


    Remember Hicks' bit about New Kids On The Block? Well...

    To the prospective makers of this documentary: if he wasn't good enough for you to do a biography while he was alive, why all the interest posthumously? "Stop putting a fucking dollar sign on everything," as he said.

    I suggest a boicott of the proposed movie; please tell your friends not to support the cheapening of Hicks' work.

    Incidentally, this project smacks of a marketer's revenge on Hicks for his marketing sketch ;)

    Dick Cheney, because he's the master hard seller.

  29. Hallainzil
    Thumb Down


    I think God put Russell Crowe here to test my faith...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Someone once asked me,...

    if Russel Crowe is an Australian or a New Zealander, I just replied that he was a wanker and left it at that.

  31. Stuart Harrison


    If this project does come about, and Russell Crowe does a good job, who's to argue? If, as a result, more people become aware of the great man then it's a win win!

    Although he could completely f*ck it up of course...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should have...

    ...subpoena'd Manuel from the local Video store......

    Just remind me not to drink any coffee, I'm not sure I want to stay awake that long through another Russell Crowe movie.

  33. Anon Koward

    Final Statement

    FYI Russell Crowe is a k1w1, he was born in NZ and whilst he moved to the lucky country at an early age he is not from god's country..

    He does prefer to be classified as an Australian but we don't want him, any country in need of a has-been actor? You can adopt your very own chubby, racist beer swilling*, no good actor.

    *Although beer swilling has been put in here as a detriment it is only for effect and is certainly not considered a detriment by this poster

  34. Rob Holmes
    Jobs Horns

    Said in a dead-pan kind of a way...

    I can see it now:

    "My name is Maximus Goatboy Meridius...

    I want to wear you like a feed-bag."

  35. Haku

    Re: Bill Who??

    Hud Dunlap: watch this okay?

    Somehow I can't see Russell stepping into Bill's shoes very well. Have to agree on Denis Leary, he's just a Tesco Value Bill Hicks. Bill is probably waiting patiently for Denis on the other side...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I have an idea for a new reality show

    It's a half-hour weekly show that I will host, entitled Let's Hunt and Kill Russell Crowe. It's a fairly self-explanatory concept: Each week we let the hounds of hell loose and chase that no-talent Ocker motherfucker across the globe until I catch him by that fruity ponytail, pull him to his knees, and put a shotgun in his mouth like a big black cock of death *BOOM*

  37. Burch

    I am an American and I never heard of the guy

    This is why everyone else in the world looks down on you.

  38. Name

    Love and fear

    Sigh, I hear kittens dying.

    About the only person I could take semi-seriously as Bill is.. No, wait, there no-one. Maybe Chris Morris with a strap-on merkin accent, but even that's a stretch.

    Sarah Bee:

    I'll start the pump up, you drive your truck on around back..

    (RIP Bill, you irreplaceable fucker)

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Russell Crowe

    can go suck satan's cock for all I care...

  40. Lloyd

    Dennis Leary

    Please don't mention that moronic piece of shit on the same page as the blessed St Bill of Hicks, anyone that unoriginal that they have to steal Hicks' worst material because it was more "tv friendly" deserves to suffer in tripe like Rescue Me, has it been cancelled yet?

    Alien, because that's what "network friendly" was to Bill Hicks.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Hud who?

    "I am an American and I never heard of the guy."

    Oh my God, you're an American? Well, fuck me pink, gets the flags out guys, this prick's American. Shit, if he hasn't heard of Bill Hicks then obviously he never existed!

    I now have an amusing vision of Bill Hicks running around on stage with a falsetto voice shouting "I'm an American, I'm an American". Well, congratu-fucking-lations dickhead, no fucker's heard of you either.

  42. Ash
    Thumb Down

    Bill Hicks doesn't need a movie about his life.

    If you don't know who he is, check out some of his material on YouTube. Very wise man indeed...

    I'm off to listen to "Hooker with a Penis". It reminds me of the RIAA.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Am I having a nightmare?

    Russell Crowe, the U2 of acting.

  44. Burch

    On the positive side

    It could be Mel Gibson.

  45. Graham Jordan

    Am I the only one for it?

    My girlfriend despite having amazing breasts doesn't have a clue as to who the genius that Bill Hicks is. Have Russell Crowe play him and she'd be interested in finding out for herself... So would many others.

    Hicks is a legend, his material is still relivent today, I'd truely love to know his thoughts on the war "against" terror, Hicks would be on fire if he were alive today.

    Plus with any luck they may take some of his ideas into count, in particular the special effects.

    "Do you want your grandma dying like a little bird in a hospital room... her translucent skin so thin you can see her last heartbeat work its way down her blue veins? Or do you want her to meet Chuck Norris?"

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    but the first bill hicks dvd i bought, i felt a bit like i'd been raped after i watched it, cause it cost me £7 and it was only about half an hour long. fuckin hilarious though, and i dont blame him for it.

    personally, id go with bill bailey doing bill hicks. that could work well. not in an "accurate portrayal" kind of way, more of a "watch bill bailey act like a twat" kind of way. yes.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, no, no

    Please stop now. Don't destroy my memories.

    Where's Satan's pecker when you need it?

  48. Bryce Prewitt


    Insert picture of Vader here.

  49. This post has been deleted by its author

  50. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Down

    @ everyone

    I ask the readers to strike the mention of Denis Leary from their memories. And if anyone knows where I can get a copy of Demolition Man with his scenes removed please let me know.

  51. Steve

    Bring on the zombie Hicks

    He's going to be so pissed off that not even cancer will stop him.

  52. Chris G

    Bill Hicks Funny?

    The funniest yank I ever saw, shot himself with his own gun.

    Apparently he was an afficionado of extreme friendly fire.

    What's wrong with Russell Crowe he may not be a great actor but at least he's not a fucking idiot Scientologist.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Stranger things have happened ...

    After all, who'da thunk that Eddie Izzard could pull off playing Lenny Bruce, so it's not such a stretch to imagine Crowe as Bill Hicks.

    Like I said, stranger things have happened.

    Just not often ...

  54. Danny

    late great bill hicks

    @Hud who? Too true.

    @Hud. Check out YouTube. You know the drill.

    Looking at this optimistically, this can only be a good thing - a whole new generation will be turned on to his works and begin a journey of enlightenment and clearer thinking.

  55. Danny

    wat ureedin' fur?

    For reading/waffle waitress, see:

  56. Richard
    Thumb Down

    To paraphrase Bill

    Watch this, shut up, go back to bed America, here is Gladiator.

  57. biznuge

    nom nom nom

    hicks would wear crowe like the proverbial feedbag.

    Why doesn't someone just digitaloly remaster hicks' originals, repackage them in a box set, and sell them at £40.00 a pop. I'd buy that far more than russell crowe playing yankee...


  58. alphaxion


    well, the only thing I reget is bill not living long enough to discover the net.. could you image what he would do?

    the world is so much poorer for his passing.. my podcasts are a tribute to him.

  59. Kevin Kitts

    This is stupid...

    getting Crowe to play Bill Hicks is like getting Drew Carey to play Bob Barker's role on the game show "The Price is Right" - he doesn't have what it takes. And Crowe's accent will be a mismatch regardless.

    You need somebody who has anger issues and likes to yell at people a lot. A southern American accent will help loads. And please, review the damn script before you film it. Have some respect for the man who hated the lies and bullshit of the past 50 years. Don't make him out to be anything than what he was - a nitpicker with an acidic sense of humor and irony. And a very intelligent man.

  60. Nev
    Thumb Down

    Hollywood didn't call when he was alive...

    ...why the hell should they make money out of him after his death?

    I, for one, won't be needing to watch it after seeing him live.

    (Bet the script'll have juggling titties in it though.)

  61. Graham Lockley

    Kinda nice..

    .. to see I aint the only one who still enjoys Bills stuff. I suspect his reaction to this proposal would have been along the lines of 'Hey, WTF, just pay me my royalty along with a fucking big bag of drugs and a few nubile virgins and Im cool with it'

    Russell Crowe as Goatboy...... Im having a hard time with this thought people.

  62. Fozzy

    @ Am I having a nightmare?

    Yes, and I am having the same one too. Time to up the cyproheptadine dosage again

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My favourite line

    "Lord what a big fucking lizard"

    Much better in context. Search it out, you will be a better person for it.

  64. Havin_it

    David Duchovny

    might look the part, if he put on a couple of stone. However, he has yet to demonstrate that he can do more than one accent.

    Crowe? <shudder/>

  65. Anonymous Coward

    who gives a sh1t

    It's just freakin' a ride.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I'm a snobbish hipster too!

    Did you know that Bill (only cool people like me are on first-name terms with him) crapped vanilla ice cream? And that his earwax could cure cancer?

    How is it that Bill Hicks has this rabid cult following? Maybe you fanboys are the ones who need to watch his DVD's again. Zzzzzzz.....

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here’s Jim with the weather

    The first time I saw him perform was by chance as I’d never heard of him; this was in London in about 91. I can only compare it to what it must have been like to walk into a small club by chance in London in late 66 and see an early Hendrix gig; just gob smacked.

    I laughed so much my stomach muscles were aching the next day....... “Here’s Jim with the weather.”

    I watched a Richard Pryor live DVD a few years ago and was surprised how much he’d influenced Hicks. Not surprised that he’d been an influence but how obvious it was in the phrasing.

    “Here’s the commercial they’d really like to make. A beautiful woman is lying on her back with her legs up in the air and apart and she’s slowly rubbing herself and the caption underneath says DRINK COKE”.

  68. Carietta White

    Eric Bana

    Ok, aside from Russell Crowe nationality (technically New Zealander, raised in Australia), if an Australian was to play the role, then get Eric Bana. His characterisation of Mark "Chopper" Reid is superb.

  69. Jason Clery


    "Making movies, making songs and fighting 'round the world"


  70. Hud Dunlap


    I went to the web site on link in the article. He has the same old crap about not spending money on weapons and if we didn't we could feed the poor and " we could as one race explore outerspace in peace." Yeah just ask the Georgians why they can't get along with Russia, or the Shiites why they can't get along with the Sunni's.

    I guess that is why I never heard of him, stupidity is not funny to me. Give me a Bernie Mac any day.

  71. Pete
    Thumb Down

    A Bill Hicks Quote -

    "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth."

    I died alittle when i read that article. I hope to be dead if this movie ever get's made.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Any marketing people here tonight? ... KILL YOURSELVES.

    No, really. KILL YOURSELVES.

    Actually I'm gonna reserve judgement until Russ' has a go. After all he didn't do too bad a job in his portrayal of schizophrenic mathematician John Nash...

  73. Dr. E. Amweaver

    @AC on Marketing People...

    ...ooh, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. HUGE DOLLAR!

    Trouble with this kind of biopic is that the actor is rarely if ever actually as funny/talented as the person they're emulating.

    Cases in point: Man On The Moon (Jim Carrey does Andy Kaufman: though his Latka impression is uncanny), David Walliams as Frankie Howerd, or Steve Martin as himself in in the semi-autobiographical Shopgirl.

  74. Nick G

    Useful everyday advice

    You know it takes more energy to frown than it does to smile?

    Yeah, & it takes more to point that out than it does to shut the fuck up...

    Classic Bill & very handy...

  75. Anonymous Coward

    @ Hud Dunlap

    You're a tool.

  76. Ferry Boat

    @Hud Dunlap

    It's a shame you got to read/listen to that bit as it's pretty weak. Listen to a couple of the albums to get a better range of his material. Some of the material has really dated but that's always going to happen with anyone who mentions contemporaneous events. Please give it a try.

    Is a Bernie Mac like a Big Mac or more like an Apple Mac?

  77. Chris Sharp

    Denis Leary?

    Why can't anybody mention Bill Hicks without putting Denis Leary down? They really, really aren't all that similar. It's like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones or Blur and Oasis, at the time it seems like only one person (or band) is right and the other has no right to exist. Find somebody who has never heard of Bill Hicks or Denis Leary (quite a few people going by these comments), make them watch Revelations and No Cure For Cancer back to back and then tell them that Denis did nothing but steal from Bill, they will call you a bloody liar

    I'm 25 years old so I missed all of this when it first came out, I'm really glad else I'd have missed some really great comedy from a really great comedian because I'd have been told to pick one or the other

    And if one person mentions Operation Dumbo Drop I will go postal, one shitty movie proves nothing!

  78. David Stever
    Black Helicopters

    Sad indictment ?!? WTF?

    ""That's a sad indictment of America today. They forget the genius who spoke the truth and they remember Bu$h. Twice.""

    I'm sorry, but the majority of American voters voted for the other guy, TWICE. We voted for Gore, and got out voted 5-4, when throwing the vote in Florida wasn't proving to be enough. Four years later, they had to throw out the votes in Ohio, New Mexico and Colorado to get Junior reappointed and Kerry over thrown. Ghu only knows how many states they'll have to over throw to get the Old Man selected this time.

    Bill Hicks if he had lived, would have popped a blood vessel or three over the elections of the past decade. I don't remember what he had to say about Bush Senior throwing the 1980 election whilst committing treason with his nation's enemies, but the GOP and the media conspiring to toss the public for all of this decade would definitely be high on the radar of the most brilliant comedic mind of the last twenty years (and yes I was not a fan of George Carlin, who didn't seem to like the human race what so ever).

    Helicopter time for the black coat boys, listening to our calls and reading our Emails, here in the Land of the Free (c) and home of the Braves.

  79. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Denis Leary?

    I like Leary, but there's a lot to suggest he did in fact steal stuff from Hicks. It's sad because his own stuff was good enough and he didn't need to do it. They used to be friends and they fell out over it.

  80. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Someone once asked me

    "if Russel Crowe is an Australian or a New Zealander, I just replied that he was a wanker and left it at that."

    Australian then!

  81. Rob Holmes

    @Chris Sharp

    I agree with the point, that if they watched Revalations followed by NCFC, they'd see no significant link.

    However, if they watched Relentless (a year before Revalations) followed by NCFC, they'd see quite a few rip-offs on the part of Leary, not least of which the entire Jim-Fix-died-whilst-jogging bit, which Hicks did far better anyway IMO.

    I do like Leary, but I must agree with Ms. Bee on this, he'd have done better sticking to his own material.

  82. Dan

    the leaves thing

    isn't as daft as it sounds, more of a big scheduling cock up, they realised that by halfway throught filming there wouldn't BE ANY leaves left on the trees.

  83. paul bell

    I am an American and I never heard of the guy - By Burch

    all this venom and yet of the more than 200,000 who emigrate from the uk every year more that 10% go to the states - must be some reason!

    who the hell cares about comedians, actors or other entertainers anyway - did you run out of footballers to worship? nothing better to do with your time, or just a booze soaked brain that can't handle real life?

  84. Brian

    @ Hud RE: Bernie Mac.

    Gonna be a tall order to give you a Bernie Mac seing's how Bernie shed his mortal coil about a month ago.

    Gonna also have to withhold judgement about the performance 'til it happens. And for the same reason previously stated: Crowe did a decent job as Nash.

    'Course, I don't know that Mr. Hicks would be all that pleased about a posthumous biopic released about him to line the pockets of the fat bastards he resented in the first place.

    Ah well, we shall see....

    I was just starting to get acquainted with his work for a year or two before he passed. Had tickets to a show and had to pass them up for work reasons. I figured he'd be back sooner or later.....


    Mine's the one with the baggie of cowpie-fertilized 'shrooms in the pocket.

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