Richard Linklater signs on to write and direct Bill Hicks movie
Richard Linklater, the Oscar-nominated mind behind the decade-spanning coming-of-age drama Boyhood, has signed on to develop, write and direct a film surrounding the life of comedian Bill Hicks for Focus Features, according to Collider.
Much like the man developing the film, who is also a major fan, Hicks grew up in Houston, Texas and got his start in comedy there at the young age of 16 while performing at the Comedy Workshop. He began to rise to prominence in the ’80s as he toured the United States and made appearances on various TV shows, but his success was cut short when he died in 1994 at the age of 32 due to pancreatic cancer.
Following the premiere of the documentary American: The Bill Hicks Story, co-director Matt Harlock told in an IndieLondon interview that Linklater connected to Hicks due to their southern Baptist roots, and that Hicks was a large fan of Linklater’s 1993 high school comedy Dazed and Confused, which was released a mere five months before Hicks’ death.
“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,” Linklater said in an interview for American. “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.”
Linklater is well-known for his artsy projects over the years, including the romantic Before trilogy starring Ethan Hawke (First Reformed) and Julie Delpy (2 Days in New York), the surrealistic animated films Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, as well as more comedic efforts including Dazed and Confused and its 2016 spiritual sequel Everybody Wants Some!!. His next project will be an adaptation of the 2012 comedy novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette starring an ensemble cast including Cate Blanchett (The House with a Clock In Its Walls) in the titular role, which is set to hit theaters on March 22, 2019.