The Doomed Attempts to Resurrect ‘The Crow’

The reboot is supposedly back on, but history has shown that we should all news about this movie with a pinch of salt.
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By  · Published on February 4th, 2020

Good news: The Crow reboot might not be dead after all. According to Bloody Disgusting, the project is back on track after the last attempt to bring it to the screen fell apart in 2018. Will this time be the charm? Or will there be more unfortunate setbacks along the way that completely derail the movie? If history is anything to go by, this reboot is cursed.

Based on James O’Barr‘s graphic novel of the same name — about a rock star who returns from the dead to avenge the murders of him and his girlfriend — the original adaptation of The Crow is one of the best comic book movies ever made. There’s no need for a reboot by any means.

At the same time, it boasts a supernatural-themed revenge concept that a good genre filmmaker could do something interesting with. And a few interesting filmmakers have already tried to bring Eric Draven back from the dead before, only for their plans to fall through for different reasons.

The first to show an interest in the project was Stephen Norrington. In 2008, he told Variety that he planned to write and direct a new take on the story that would have been “realistic, hard-edged, and mysterious, almost documentary-style.”

That would have been a departure from the original’s Gothic sensibilities, but the core romantic revenge story would have remained. Nick Cave was also brought in to co-write the script, but he and Norrington subsequently left the project in 2010 due to creative differences.

28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was tasked with helming the reboot in 2011. However, the project became embroiled in a legal battle shortly after his appointment, as Relativity Media (the studio that previously owned the franchise) and The Weinstein Company fought over the film’s distribution rights. The case was settled later that year, though, with the courts siding with Relativity Media.

With the project back on, Watchmen co-scribe Alex Tse was hired to rewrite the script and Bradley Cooper was in talks to star as the undead avenger. Unfortunately, the A-list actor had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, and Mark Wahlberg, Channing Tatum, and Ryan Gosling were all reportedly eyed to replace him.

Nothing concrete ever emerged from those rumors, though, and Fresnadillo and Tse were replaced by director F. Javier Gutierrez and writer Jesse Wigutow in 2012. Little is known about their vision for the film, but according to producer Edward R. Pressman, the story would have been a 21st-century update on the original source material.

Furthermore, Luke Evans signed on to play the lead, and in an interview with Superhero Hype, he assured fans that “the story and the plot is mostly the same as the original.” In 2013, the project gained more steam after O’Barr agreed to serve as a consultant on the film.

Norman Reedus was then cast as Fun Boy, but he had to drop out due to his The Walking Dead commitments at the time. Kristen Bell was also approached to play Eric’s girlfriend Shelley, but she had other projects lined up and the part was supposedly offered to Emmy Rossum.

With the movie still stuck in development hell through 2014, Corin Hardy was hired to replace Gutierrez, who left to direct Rings for Paramount. Evans chose to go his separate ways as well, as the long-gestating film was taking too long to come together and he had other roles lined up for projects that were actually making progress. Plus, his stock had risen significantly following his appearances in the Hobbit and Fast and Furious franchises.

Relativity Media lost the franchise’s rights in 2016 after the studio filed for bankruptcy. They were then acquired by Samuel Hadida and his Davis Films outlet. Hardy was retained as the director, and for a while, the movie appeared to be moving forward. With a 2019 theatrical release on the calendar courtesy of Sony, Jason Momoa was given the starring role and pre-production was scheduled to take place in Budapest in 2018.

As is the case with this unlucky project, however, Hardy and Momoa left one month before the planned trip to Hungary. As noted by Deadline, creative and financial differences with Hadida motivated their decision. Elsewhere, Davis Films and Sony failed to reach an agreement over the film’s distribution, and the project was pulled from the 2019 release slate.

At the time of this writing, there’s no word on who will oversee the reboot going forward. Even though he decided to step away in 2018, Hardy told Empire that he’s still interested in bringing the reboot to life, and he’s a perfect choice for a horror-tinged action movie.

Whoever lands the gig, hopefully they’ll fare better than the laundry list of directors, writers, and actors who have come and gone in the past. Or maybe The Crow just isn’t meant to fly again.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.