Russell Crowe has signed on to make his directorial debut with an untitled biopic on the iconic comedian Bill Hicks. The actor's high school classmate, Mark Staufer, will write the screenplay.

We first reported on this project way back in August 2008, when the Oscar-winning actor was set to portray the comedian. Here's what writer Mark Staufer had to say about the biopic.

"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."

The screenwriter also revealed that they will begin casting for the title role very soon.

"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."

Bill Hicks was born in 1961, launching his career as a stand-up comedian at the age of 16. He toured all across the United States and the U.K. throughout the 1980s and 1990s, developing his brand of dark, edgy humor. He died at the age of 32 in 1994 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.