The actor will make his directorial debut with an upcoming biopic of the influential stand-up

Russell Crowe is to direct a film about late US comedian Bill Hicks.

The biopic will be Crowe’s first film as a director, but he will not star as Hicks. The picture’s writer, Peter Staufer, told the Australian Daily Telegraph: “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.”

Staufer, a longtime friend of Crowe’s, also revealed that the film will begin shooting in 2013. He added: “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.”

Stand-up comedian Hicks, a hero of Radiohead and Super Furry Animals, died of pancreatic cancer in 1994 at the age of 32. A documentary about his short but influential life, American: The Bill Hicks Story, was released in 2010. Scroll down to watch the trailer.

Crowe, 48, is currently shooting biblical epic Noah in Iceland. He will next be seen in martial arts movie The Man With The Iron Fists, scheduled for release in November, and the big screen version of Les Miserables, due the following month.