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C'mon Hollywood: How to reboot The Crow (if you must)

Apr. 23, 2013by:

THE CROW is one of the most significant influences on me, both as a comic reader and artist. It is the first book to challenge me outside of your average superhero books by diving deep into the uglier side of humanity with a lean on our dark, vengeful nature as well as the horrific deeds of those that would push us into that frame of mind. Writer/artist James O’Barr created THE CROW out of his own pain from the death of his girlfriend, making a brutal, heartfelt work of intended catharsis, while drawing on musical influences from Joy Division and The Cure, as well as the physical characteristics of Iggy Pop and Peter Murphy of Bauhaus.

Director Alex Proyas, a music video director, took on the gig of bringing O’Barr’s graphic novel to life in 1993, casting martial arts rising star Brandon Lee in the lead role. Lee was untested in such a role at the time, but had sought to rise above the pigeonhole of the martial arts genre, even turning down a role in A FEW GOOD MEN to take on the mantle of Eric Draven in THE CROW, a role he fully embraced down to its very roots. Tragically, Lee was killed on set towards the end of production, making the film not just an amazing adaptation of the character, but the last of Lee’s legacy on film.

After that, a series of awful sequels and an uninspired TV show followed, none of them ever coming close to Proyas and Lee’s film. The gothic tone and style were empty in every follow up, try as they did to capture it, leaving 1994’s THE CROW as the adaptation to beat to this day. Since the last entry in the series, producer Ed Pressman has been attempting to revitalize the franchise with a reboot with the likes of directors Stephen Norrington (BLADE), Nick Cave, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and stars Mark Wahlberg, Bradley Cooper, and James McAvoy toying with the role of Draven. Each of these creative teams has fallen apart, leaving the reboot in limbo, while fans of the original cry foul on the seemingly “untouchable” property.

However, producer Ed Pressman recently hired F. Javier Gutierrez (BEFORE THE FALL) to direct from a script by Cliff Dorfman (WARRIOR) with the most recent rumor of Tom Hiddleston (THE AVENGERS) in contention for the role of Eric Draven. As someone who holds the original THE CROW as the quintessential version and a fitting, if not ironically dark, tribute to Lee, this news made me actually feel that there was room for a reboot, but under certain conditions:

1) Hiddleston must be cast – After a star-making turn as Loki in both THOR and THE AVENGERS, Hiddleston has shown that he has the skill to pull off a creepy, dark character that is riddled with charisma, depth, and fury, making for a hell of a menacing incarnation. Hiddleston also possesses the lithe, athletic physicality that embodies the character of Eric Draven. With his classically trained background and penchant for owning the roles he takes on, I have no doubt that Hiddleston would simply own as Eric Draven. In fact, I would venture to say that no other actor should even be considered at this point. It's the most inspired decision so far and producers should be doing everything they can to lock him down.

2) Adapt the graphic novel with integrity – Obviously, we know that things will invariably change or be amended for the big screen, but anyone that’s read the graphic novel knows that there is a wonderful plethora of material that never saw the light of day in any of the films thus far. Proyas shot sequences of the Skull Cowboy character, but they never made it into the film and a number of alterations were made in the origin of Draven’s journey to becoming The Crow. O’Barr has a number of gorgeous, dark, and painfully beautiful pieces of art that are begging to see life on the big screen and it would be awesome to see them finally grace the screen. In short, if you’re doing a reboot, it simply won’t do to adapt anything other than the source material.

3) Focus on the inspiration that created the character – Loss, pain, revenge, love, and tragedy grace every page of the graphic novel. Turning this reboot into some kind of comic book action film is going the absolute wrong direction. There’s plenty of violence to be had, but to home in on that and make it the main factor in selling the film is a mistake. THE CROW is a gothic revenge tale born of tragedy and it should be adapted as such. This isn’t THE AVENGERS or even THE DARK KNIGHT. This is much darker material and should be handled as such. If a PG-13 is even considered for THE CROW, the producers have lost all understanding of what the character is.

Like many of you, I am leery of a reboot. Mostly, I’m against it, but if they follow the suggestions above and make something born of integrity and style, paying careful attention to bringing the graphic novel to life, rather than make something that’s “kinda” like it, then it’s doomed to fail. We don’t have much to lose, really, as the original has lost none of its luster throughout the years, but it would be nice to see a reboot that was worth the trip back to the drawing board.

Extra Tidbit: James O'Barr recently returned the The Crow character in IDW comic's The Crow: Skinning The Wolves, a WWII death camp tale. I highly recommend checking it out. It's full of the same type of dark, violent, tragic, and horrifying themes that made the original graphic novel so great.
Source: JoBlo.com

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10:16PM on 04/23/2013

Leave it alone

Go ahead and bring the thumbs down, but I'm 100% against this remake as I was with the sequels. Hiddleston is a great actor, but The Crow is Brandon Lee's memorial - leave it alone.
Go ahead and bring the thumbs down, but I'm 100% against this remake as I was with the sequels. Hiddleston is a great actor, but The Crow is Brandon Lee's memorial - leave it alone.
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9:09PM on 04/23/2013

Agreed.

I'm personally against a reboot of this, but agree that Hiddleston would make a great Crow. I can almost hear his voice in some of the dialogue. And as an artist, I agree that there is some untapped potential in the visuals of the original graphic novel. O'Barr's artwork is beautiful and using that as a guide could only be a good thing.
I'm personally against a reboot of this, but agree that Hiddleston would make a great Crow. I can almost hear his voice in some of the dialogue. And as an artist, I agree that there is some untapped potential in the visuals of the original graphic novel. O'Barr's artwork is beautiful and using that as a guide could only be a good thing.
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8:21PM on 04/23/2013

I could not agree more. These are my thoughts exactly

The first film is a classic, and the ONLY way to improve on it is to adapt O'Barr's original story without the variations of the first film.

Most important for me is that the crime that starts it all should take place as it does in the book instead of a "tenant relocation program" that sees the building still being empty a year later. Why did Top have the building cleared if he was just gonna leave it sit empty? The randomness and brutality of the comics lets the reader know that even in
The first film is a classic, and the ONLY way to improve on it is to adapt O'Barr's original story without the variations of the first film.

Most important for me is that the crime that starts it all should take place as it does in the book instead of a "tenant relocation program" that sees the building still being empty a year later. Why did Top have the building cleared if he was just gonna leave it sit empty? The randomness and brutality of the comics lets the reader know that even in the happiest of times, there is still evil out there. It can happen to any of us, at any time.

"A year ago.. A cold October night... A broken down car on a dirt road... A man.. A girl... Madness... Pain... And the shadows... My god, the shadows."
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7:56PM on 04/23/2013

I could not agree more. These are my thoughts exactly

The first film is a classic, and the ONLY way to improve on it is to adapt O'Barr's original story without the variations of the first film.

Most important for me is that the crime that starts it all should take place as it does in the book instead of a "tenant relocation program" that sees the building still being empty a year later. Why did Top have the building cleared if he was just gonna leave it sit empty? The randomness and brutality of the comics lets the reader know that even in
The first film is a classic, and the ONLY way to improve on it is to adapt O'Barr's original story without the variations of the first film.

Most important for me is that the crime that starts it all should take place as it does in the book instead of a "tenant relocation program" that sees the building still being empty a year later. Why did Top have the building cleared if he was just gonna leave it sit empty? The randomness and brutality of the comics lets the reader know that even in the happiest of times, there is still evil out there. It can happen to any of us, at any time.

"A year ago.. A cold October night... A broken down car on a dirt road... A man.. A girl... Madness... Pain... And the shadows... My god, the shadows."
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5:09PM on 04/23/2013

Nice article, Paul

I agree totally that Hiddleston would make a great Crow. The guy's 6'2", so it won't take much to make him look even taller. And, because of his classical training, he would bring a lot more depth to the role than anyone else who has been previously discussed.

Frankly, once you get past Brandon Lee's performance (which was heightened by his tragic death), the 1994 CROW was basically a 1990's music video masquerading as a movie. I didn't like the changes they made - making Eric a musician,
I agree totally that Hiddleston would make a great Crow. The guy's 6'2", so it won't take much to make him look even taller. And, because of his classical training, he would bring a lot more depth to the role than anyone else who has been previously discussed.

Frankly, once you get past Brandon Lee's performance (which was heightened by his tragic death), the 1994 CROW was basically a 1990's music video masquerading as a movie. I didn't like the changes they made - making Eric a musician, a genuine reason why he and Shelley were killed, and having Top Dollar be the ultimate villain. A version of THE CROW that adheres more to the source material would be much better, IMO.
However, they need to bring back The Cure for the soundtrack. ;)
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4:39PM on 04/23/2013
I'm not sure about Hiddleston as The Crow, but if he wasn't already Loki he'd make an awesome Riddler. He has the perfect face for that character.
I'm not sure about Hiddleston as The Crow, but if he wasn't already Loki he'd make an awesome Riddler. He has the perfect face for that character.
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7:58PM on 04/23/2013
Check him out in the new Thor trailer. He would make a great Eric IMO.
Check him out in the new Thor trailer. He would make a great Eric IMO.
+0
1:53PM on 04/23/2013

I'll stick to the original !!!

Yeap and you forgot to mention the final and main reason "Don't even start the Reboot" .... The only good movie version of "The Crow" is the original one with Brandon Lee, the 1994 version... all the sequels sucked hard... and hey Hollywood stop rebooting the classics, stop your self-embarrassment , stop the bullshit... and be more creativ
Yeap and you forgot to mention the final and main reason "Don't even start the Reboot" .... The only good movie version of "The Crow" is the original one with Brandon Lee, the 1994 version... all the sequels sucked hard... and hey Hollywood stop rebooting the classics, stop your self-embarrassment , stop the bullshit... and be more creativ
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1:04PM on 04/23/2013

FINALLY!

Someone else realizes that you might as well hope for the best for a remake rather than condemn it.
Someone else realizes that you might as well hope for the best for a remake rather than condemn it.
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1:01PM on 04/23/2013

No remake

Remember The Thing, Total Recall, and Nightmare on Elm Street remakes? I don't want that. Leave the original alone and never attempt to remake.
Remember The Thing, Total Recall, and Nightmare on Elm Street remakes? I don't want that. Leave the original alone and never attempt to remake.
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1:08PM on 04/23/2013
The thing your talking about wasn't a remake. The one you probably love was.
The thing your talking about wasn't a remake. The one you probably love was.
8:00PM on 04/23/2013
The 1982 Thing was a remake. The recent one was a prequel.
The 1982 Thing was a remake. The recent one was a prequel.
12:08PM on 04/23/2013
Would only accept this remake if Hiddleston were cast since he would bring a much needed depth to a character like this. If not him, then I say don't do it because I don't think you'll find anyone better.
Would only accept this remake if Hiddleston were cast since he would bring a much needed depth to a character like this. If not him, then I say don't do it because I don't think you'll find anyone better.
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12:43PM on 04/23/2013
That's crazy talk. There's always a chance that he won't nail the part, and there are scores of other actors that could bring that could bring depth to the character. Had you even considered Hiddleston before you read this article?
That's crazy talk. There's always a chance that he won't nail the part, and there are scores of other actors that could bring that could bring depth to the character. Had you even considered Hiddleston before you read this article?
1:07PM on 04/23/2013
Would you even consider him if he hadn't played loki?
Would you even consider him if he hadn't played loki?
6:57PM on 04/23/2013
Out of all of the choices Hiddleston is easily the best candidate.

I'm sure Cooper and McAvoy would have been fine too, but it just doesn't seem like their type of style or film with the way their careers are heading. Especially Cooper's.

This is a film where Hiddleston can take the lead and make it his and hopefully get some more high caliber roles.
Out of all of the choices Hiddleston is easily the best candidate.

I'm sure Cooper and McAvoy would have been fine too, but it just doesn't seem like their type of style or film with the way their careers are heading. Especially Cooper's.

This is a film where Hiddleston can take the lead and make it his and hopefully get some more high caliber roles.
4:23PM on 04/24/2013
The question about Hiddleston and Loki is pointless: playing Loki was the guy's big break and his first American role. He wasn't on *anyone's* radar before then, except in Britain. And, if Hiddleston can't get it done as The Crow, then the fault's likely with the director. In that case, there's no hope for the movie at all, no matter who is cast.
The question about Hiddleston and Loki is pointless: playing Loki was the guy's big break and his first American role. He wasn't on *anyone's* radar before then, except in Britain. And, if Hiddleston can't get it done as The Crow, then the fault's likely with the director. In that case, there's no hope for the movie at all, no matter who is cast.
12:08PM on 04/23/2013
Agree, a faithful adoption of the comic could be played off as an Urban High Plains Drifter.
Agree, a faithful adoption of the comic could be played off as an Urban High Plains Drifter.
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11:46AM on 04/23/2013
Tom Hiddleston would be an excellent choice. He'd be a much better lead than some flavor of the month actor like Jeremy Renner, Bradly Cooper, Joseph Levitt, etc. Mark Wahlberg was only interesting to me because his strong physical prowess would set him apart from earlier incarnations.
Tom Hiddleston would be an excellent choice. He'd be a much better lead than some flavor of the month actor like Jeremy Renner, Bradly Cooper, Joseph Levitt, etc. Mark Wahlberg was only interesting to me because his strong physical prowess would set him apart from earlier incarnations.
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11:58AM on 04/23/2013
Some could argue Hiddleston is flavor of the month.
Some could argue Hiddleston is flavor of the month.
12:40PM on 04/23/2013
I suppose, but he's never been the lead of anything really high profile. He's not a household name, or a fanboy favorite.
I suppose, but he's never been the lead of anything really high profile. He's not a household name, or a fanboy favorite.
1:06PM on 04/23/2013
So if he hadn't played loki you would be saying the same things?
So if he hadn't played loki you would be saying the same things?
1:32PM on 04/23/2013
Loki is the only role I think I've seen him play. I would be saying the same thing about not wanting any any flavor of the month actors, absolutely. I only considered Hiddleston because of this article. I've never before thought of him in the role of Eric Draven. Seems inspired though.
Loki is the only role I think I've seen him play. I would be saying the same thing about not wanting any any flavor of the month actors, absolutely. I only considered Hiddleston because of this article. I've never before thought of him in the role of Eric Draven. Seems inspired though.
+9
11:12AM on 04/23/2013

Shouldn't be, but

I dont think this should be remade either, but not wanting it doesn't mean it wont happen. Some events are inevitable. At some point we will see The Joker back on the big screen and it obviously won't be Heath Ledger.
That said, I can only think of one person I might find interesting as Eric Draven... Joseph Gordon Levitt. With the right script and director that could work, dare I even say perhaps be good. Not the same as the original, just different.
I dont think this should be remade either, but not wanting it doesn't mean it wont happen. Some events are inevitable. At some point we will see The Joker back on the big screen and it obviously won't be Heath Ledger.
That said, I can only think of one person I might find interesting as Eric Draven... Joseph Gordon Levitt. With the right script and director that could work, dare I even say perhaps be good. Not the same as the original, just different.
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11:17AM on 04/23/2013
Id like another joker.
A proper psycho mass murdering joker that leaves a smile on everyone's face.
Id like another joker.
A proper psycho mass murdering joker that leaves a smile on everyone's face.
3:41PM on 04/23/2013
This is kind of off the main subject but do you know who would make a great Joker? Michael Fassbender. He's got a big grin that can look pretty creepy. Do a search for him and see what I'm talking about.

Anyway I'm a long time fan of the crow and the graphic novel. A good remake could be like a mouth rise after all the terrible sequels. However, I do like JGL but he's wrong for the part. He just seems too little to be a superhero (no offense!).
This is kind of off the main subject but do you know who would make a great Joker? Michael Fassbender. He's got a big grin that can look pretty creepy. Do a search for him and see what I'm talking about.

Anyway I'm a long time fan of the crow and the graphic novel. A good remake could be like a mouth rise after all the terrible sequels. However, I do like JGL but he's wrong for the part. He just seems too little to be a superhero (no offense!).
11:00AM on 04/23/2013

fuck this

Something's should not be remade and this is one of them!!
Don't think ive ever been against a remake more than this!!
Something's should not be remade and this is one of them!!
Don't think ive ever been against a remake more than this!!
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11:01AM on 04/23/2013
If he ain't Eric draven then id be for it.
If he ain't Eric draven then id be for it.
8:21PM on 04/23/2013
I love the first film, but it has quite a few faults that could be corrected with a remake. I loved Brandon Lee in the role (I named my son after him), but the story had to be worked around his untimely death in a way that IMO was detrimental to the final film. And some decisions were made that could be rectified with a remake.

For example:
The character of Albrecht appears only briefly in the comic, but the film used him as a kind of buddy/comic relief. "Comic relief" and "The Crow"
I love the first film, but it has quite a few faults that could be corrected with a remake. I loved Brandon Lee in the role (I named my son after him), but the story had to be worked around his untimely death in a way that IMO was detrimental to the final film. And some decisions were made that could be rectified with a remake.

For example:
The character of Albrecht appears only briefly in the comic, but the film used him as a kind of buddy/comic relief. "Comic relief" and "The Crow" should never appear together. Ever. The role of Sarah (Sherry in the comics) was made larger as well, and should be trimmed back, although not as much as Albrecht.

Skull Cowboy! (enough said)

The randomness of the crime in the comics was essential to the story. In the film it is because of a tenant relocation program, yet the building is still empty a year later. It makes no sense. Not to mention that the film made Top Dollar the leader of the crew, when it was T-Bird in the comics.

The whole "kill the bird and you kill the man" BS was just that...BS! Eric is dead. You can't kill the dead. I know that superhero movies always like to make the character vulnerable, to up the drama, but Eric is not a superhero. He's a dead guy who was driven insane by what happened to him and his fiance, and by the fact that he is back among the living to carry out his revenge. He doesn't need to be vulnerable.

IF (and it's a big IF) the filmmakers decide to really adapt the comic, and create something as haunting and dark as the comic, it will be a classic in it's own right, and it may even wash the nasty taste out of our collective mouths from those horrible sequels and that god-awful series.
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