Richard Linklater to Write and Direct Biopic on Texas Comedian Bill Hicks for Focus Features

Both raised in Houston, the indie filmmaker always admired the controversial comedian who died young but left a lasting legacy.
Richard Linklater, director/co-writer of "Last Flag Flying," poses at the premiere of the film at the Directors Guild of America, in Los AngelesLA Premiere of "Last Flag Flying", Los Angeles, USA - 01 Nov 2017
Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater’s love affair with Texas is still going strong. The beloved indie filmmaker has reportedly signed on to direct a biopic about controversial comedian Bill Hicks for Focus Features, Collider reports.

Although Hicks may be an unknown name to some, the Houston-raised comedian was a huge influence on Linklater growing up, and was deeply admired by his contemporaries in stand-up comedy, including his friend Denis Leary. Tragically, Hicks died young at age 32 from pancreatic cancer. Before his death in 1994, he achieved widespread acclaim for his controversial act, which used dark comedy to tackle social issues of the day. In the years following his death, his legacy has lived on and he has developed a devoted cult following.

“There’s not quite any others like him … It’s a rare combination of that kind of intelligence, mysticism, political, you know… his politics, his angle, it’s pretty unique,” Linklater told Collider. “I always think, what would Bill Hicks be doing? You just miss him.”

Linklater is of course best known for the “Before” trilogy and the Oscar-nominated “Boyhood.” Hicks was apparently a fan of the 1993 film that put Linklater on the map, “Dazed and Confused.”

Linklater will write and direct the film for Focus Features. The report did not specify whether this film will be Linklater’s next project, though it did indicate that the status of a forthcoming movie about the moon landing was up in the air. Linklater’s newest film with Annapurna Pictures, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” is set to hit theaters on March 22, 2019. The film stars Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, and Laurence Fishburne and is based on a novel by Maria Semple.

A 2009 documentary about Hicks, entitled “American: The Bill Hicks Story,” based on interviews with friends and family, premiered at SXSW in 2010 and was warmly received by critics and audiences alike.

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