the crow reboot curse

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Will ‘The Crow’ reboot happen, or is it just cursed?

Classic '90s comic book movie 'The Crow' is being rebooted next year. Or is it?

 

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Published Dec 4, 2014   Updated Jan 28, 2021, 12:22 am CST

A reboot of The Crow was supposed to start filming in 2015, but three years later, we’ve yet to see much progress.

The appeal of a Crow reboot is obvious. Comic book adaptations are huge right now, and the original 1994 movie achieved cult status—partly for rather morbid reasons. Lead actor Brandon Lee died of a gunshot wound on set, thanks to a prop gun being fired with a real bullet rather than a blank round. This tragedy cemented the image of The Crow as a classic of gothic horror, and while various straight-to-video sequels were released with different actors in the lead role, none of them ever measured up to Lee’s performance.

Many people have attempted to reboot The Crow for modern audiences, capitalizing on the popularity of the 1994 movie. But if you watch the original, it’s immediately obvious that major changes would have to be made. Visually, the concept is rooted solidly in the ’90s, with protagonist Eric Draven overflowing with pre-Buffy the Vampire Slayer gothic melodrama.

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Draven, a leather-clad rock musician with a passion for eyeliner, rises from the grave to avenge his murdered fiancée. From then on it’s all shots of Gotham-esque cityscapes, flocks of crows, and Draven mournfully (and shirtlessly) playing guitar on the roof at night. Without these details, it wouldn’t be The Crow. But if you tried to make a modern-day blockbuster along these lines, it would be laughed out of the cinema. This conundrum is the first major problem with rebooting <The Crow. The rest are a lot more practical.

Looking at the timeline of failed Crow reboots, it’s not much of a leap to describe it as cursed, or at least one of the most publicly accident-prone movies in Hollywood development purgatory.

2008

Director Stephen Norrington announces that he wants to make The Crow, his first movie since a negative experience with A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003. He describes his vision as “realistic, hard-edged and mysterious, almost documentary-style.”

2010

Mark Wahlberg is rumored for the lead role, a truly baffling casting choice. In more exciting news, Nick Cave is hired to revise Norrington’s screenplay, making it more like the comic.

Later in the year, Norrington pulls out of the project, citing issues with script rewrites demanded by the lead actor. He doesn’t confirm that it was Wahlberg, but he does say, “I think Wahlberg could be cool if they take a gritty blue-collar approach.” Norrington has not directed another film since then.

2011

In April, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) signs on to direct a version of Nick Cave’s screenplay. Wahlberg has officially turned down the role, so they turn to a second bizarre casting choice: Bradley Cooper, who at this point is already 36 years old.

Fresnadillo’s project is beset by legal troubles almost immediately. The producers from Relativity Media become embroiled in a dispute with the Weinstein Company over who has distribution rights to The Crow. Relativity describes this as “intimidation” and “a typical litigation stunt from the Weinsteins.”

Bradley Cooper drops out in August, and THR reports that Mark Wahlberg (who is now 40) and Channing Tatum are in the running to replace him, while horror site Bloody Disgusting says James McAvoy is “first in line.”

2012

Spanish filmmaker Francisco Javier Gutiérrez replaces Fresnadillo as director. As an April Fool’s joke, a website starts a rumor that Skrillex has been cast as the Crow. This is not much more ridiculous than Mark Wahlberg in the role, to be honest.

2013

By this point, we’re looking at the early stages of the movie they intend to start filming in 2015. First Tom Hiddleston is reported to be in talks for the lead role, but then finally Luke Evans (Dracula Untold) is cast. Cliff Dorfman, a screenwriter whose only previous film work is the Tom Hardy boxing movie Warrior, is credited with the film’s new script.

2014

Director Francisco Javier Gutiérrez was officially replaced by Corin Hardy. Hardy’s first film hasn’t actually come out yet, although he does have plenty of experience with music videos for bands like The Prodigy and The Horrors. But while The Crow now has a new director with no scheduling conflicts in the near future, the film may lose its leading man. According to a recent interview with Luke Evans, he “can’t wait much longer” before he has to drop out and fulfill other commitments.So unless they get their act together, this whole cycle will begin all over again. The curse of The Crow? Or just business as usual for a Hollywood remake?

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2016

Jason Momoa is cast as the Crow, with Corin Hardy directing. Filming will supposedly commence in January 2017. In November, the film rights change hands to a new trio of distributers and financiers.

2017

Filming does not commence in January. By September, The Crow has yet another distributor: Sony.

2018

The Crow is dead once more. On May 31, Deadline reports that Momoa and Hardy have both exited the film due to “creative and financial differences” with financier Davis Films. The film was already in pre-production, due to start filming in five weeks time. When will Hollywood learn to let this franchise rest in peace?

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*First Published: Dec 4, 2014, 7:27 pm CST