In 1994 Alex Proyos Directed a small film named The Crow starring Brandon Lee (who died tragically during production). Boasting a budget of $23 million it went on to gross $50.7 million and also garnered vast critical praise. This film was a sleeper hit and in the years to come would become a classic. The synopsis is as follows:
The night before his wedding, musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée are brutally murdered by members of a violent inner-city gang. On the anniversary of their death, Eric rises from the grave and assumes the gothic mantle of the Crow, a supernatural avenger. Tracking down the thugs responsible for the crimes and mercilessly murdering them, Eric eventually confronts head gangster Top Dollar (Michael Wincott) to complete his macabre mission.
Sadly the quality of the film would not carry over into the sequels. The direct follow up The Crow: City of Angels was a critical bomb (It currently stands at 12 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). There were two direct-to-video films released as they continually tried to profit off of the franchise. To the dismay of fans, they could never recreate the magic of the first film.
It's Been A Long Time Coming
In the age of reboots, it's hard to believe that they haven't made an updated version of The Crow. So exactly why haven't we seen it yet? That answer is a messy one. The film was announced almost eight years ago. A slew of directors and actors were attached only to suddenly back out. Despite spending shy of a decade in development purgatory, it appears to be moving forward. It’s a miracle the film is getting made at all (praise be to the reboot gods). The following is a brief chronological account of the chaos that has been this project:
- December 14, 2008 — Stephen Norrington, in an interview with Variety, states that he plans on writing/directing a reinvention of The Crow. Using James O’Barr's graphic novel as the main source if inspiration.
- April 7, 2011 — Stephen Norrington steps out and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo steps into direct. Bradley Cooper is in talks to star.
- April 20, 2011 — The Weinstein Company plans on suing Relativity Media over distribution rights to the film.
- June, 2011 — Relativity Media announces their plans to move forward with the project despite legal trouble. Alex Tse is tapped to pen the script.
- August 2011 — Bradley Cooper drops out and Mark Wahlberg in talks to star.
- January 2012 — Juan Carlos Fresnadillo exits and F. Javier Gutierrez signs on to direct.
It is at this point we pause. It's been four years at this point and they still hadn’t cast a lead! Now its not strange for films to take a long time to make. From conception to the screen is a long and winding road. It's apparent that they never even left the driveway. So we dive back in because this continues for much, much longer.
It would not be until February 2013 until news of actual production would emerge. Over the next three months the casting rumor mill was working overtime. Name after name was thrown into the ring, only for the ring to spit it back out. The casting of the lead character Eric Draven, would be a revolving door of actors who had to meet this criteria: male, alive, and preferably hunky!
- February 27, 2013 — James McAvoy was rumored to have been in the running But that turned out to be false.
- April 20, 2013 — Tom Hiddleston was reportedly in talks and had a make-up test scheduled. Ten days later it was revealed that he was not going to be casted
- April 30, 2013 — Alexander Skarsgård is announced as the front runner or the role.
- May 2, 2013 — Skarsgård announces that he is no longer attached to the project.
- May 4, 2013 — Luke Evans is cast as Eric Draven.
This seemed to be a turning point. The film had both a star and a director attached. In July of that year James O’Barr, who penned the original graphic novel, had joined the project. This had fans giddy with excitement. Who else would know how to convey the character better than the creator? It was a true glimmer of hope.
Over the next few months casting continued. However, no one was actually cast. Kristen Bell and Norman Reedus were pursued for roles, but both passed. in December 2014 the production hit a huge roadblock. F. Javier Guitierrez backed out of the project to pursue another film and Corin Hardy was announced as the new director. A day following this announcement Luke Evans dropped out of the film.
After Evans dropped out, Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) signed on for the lead role but subsequently bailed on the project. Following yet another embarrassing debacle, it was rumored that both Jack O'Connell (Unbroken) and Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Apocalypse) were both in contention for the role of Eric Draven.
For more on this, check out:
The Train That Won't Leave The Station
This has to be mentally exhausting for anyone involved. The project takes a step forward and then the bridge collapses (yes, the film is standing on a bridge). Dreams are dashed every few months. This arduous journey is far from over, if it even has an end.
So What About The Fans?
One group that has also had their dreams smashed like grapes at Martha's Vineyard is the fan-base. They are still sitting at the platform waiting for the train to depart, only for the conductor come over the P.A. telling them they still haven't resolved the problem yet.
The overall philosophy of this production from a fan perspective has now become a “I’ll believe it when I see it,” and rightly so. After eight years of dashed hopes it's only logical to doubt. That doubt can spawn apathy among fans. Apathy is a dangerous thing when it comes to fans. If people don’t care they won’t go to see the movie.
What can shake people out if this apathetic attitude?
Well the answer to that question is two words: Jason Momoa! The man that has people excited for Aquaman and God's gift to humanity has officially signed on for the lead role. A large exhale was heard around the world as fans finally had something to sink their teeth into (figuratively of course). For the first time in a long time it appears there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
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Well folks, when it rains it pours! It was announced recently that The Crow reboot is set to begin filming in January of 2017 (fingers crossed). It seems the wheels have finally hit pavement. Corin Hardy is still attached to direct and should be given credit for hanging in there. It's been quite a journey and frankly nothing has actually happened yet, but the announcement of Momoa as Eric Draven and a filming date has fans everywhere drooling. For now all we can do is wait and re-watch our original VHS copy of The Crow until the strip breaks.
Watch Brandon Lee's transformation into the Crow in the clip below:
Sound Off! Are you excited for The Crow reboot? Has the eight years of development crushed your hopes? Shout your opinion from the mountaintop! If you can't find a mountaintop or large precipice, leave a comment below!