James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Ex shock jock teams with Crowe

Comedian Bill Hicks died at 32. Photo / Supplied.
Comedian Bill Hicks died at 32. Photo / Supplied.

A former Auckland shock jock has written a movie about the comedian Bill Hicks, to be directed by his old schoolmate Russell Crowe, the Oscar-winning actor.

Mark Staufer, a former TVNZ reporter and Auckland radio DJ who once played bass guitar in one of Crowe's bands as a teenager, has written the screenplay for Love, Laughter, Truth, a biopic of Hicks' life.

The stand-up comedian, who died of pancreatic cancer at 32 in 1994, was a cult figure.

Staufer began working on the screenplay about three years ago. He spent much of the time travelling in the United States speaking with Hicks' family and ex-girlfriends and visiting clubs where he appeared.

Crowe was to have played the lead role but he is in Iceland filming the Biblical epic Noah and may be too old at 48.

Staufer said auditions had yet to start and whoever took the job had their work cut out for them.

"They can't be older than 35, can't be younger than 30 and have to have some kind of resemblance to Bill Hicks. Oh, and they have to be an extraordinary actor. It's such a huge role and with Russell [Crowe] directing, who is an amazing actor himself, and this is his directorial debut so a lot of people have a lot of things to prove with the film ..."

Staufer, who has lived in Los Angeles for eight years, is also working on a trans-media project, The Numinous Place, which he has been developing for nearly 10 years. He said the e-book was a world first using audio, video and images to tell a story exploring the connection between the dream world and the afterlife.

Told in a first-person narrative by its hero, Henry Meat, the story uses TV news reports, documents, articles, web pages, phone calls and video and photographs he has shot on his cellphone. A mobile device, such as an iPad or a smartphone, will be used to access the story elements.

"In terms of the way we experience life we experience it in a multi-stream way and I'm using that in terms of a narrative for the first time.

"The actual plot is about science building technology to film dreams and using that technology to prove the existence of the afterlife. Along the way the characters learn how to lucid dream and so will you - we will teach you how to fly through the sky like Superman."

Staufer said the idea would be presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year, but in the meantime he was looking for buyers for the adaptation rights for a movie.

Given that he has hired actors, a dream consultant, a comic artist, a photographer, a video producer and a composer, it's not surprising he's also looking for investors. He has turned to Kickstarter, an online fundraising site for creative projects on www.kickstarter.com/projects/2028397497/the-numinous-place

- NZ Herald

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