Actor Russell Crowe is set to make his feature film directorial debut in a new biopic about late comedy legend Bill Hicks.
The Gladiator star, who was originally in talks to play the lead role in the project, has agreed to step behind the camera for the film, written by his former schoolmate Mark Staufer.
Production is slated to begin next year and the pair has yet to begin casting, but Staufer tells Britain's The Telegraph, "Bill Hicks' life is tragically short, but spectacularly interesting. The screenplay has gone through a number of drafts and we'll go into production early next year.
"It is a huge role for someone, made all the more special, or downright scary, by the fact the director is an Oscar-winning actor like Russell."
Hicks lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 1994, aged 32.
The project won't be Crowe's first directorial challenge - he has previously shot short films and his singer wife Danielle Spencer's music videos.