Remake & Reboot: The Crow Movie

The Crow is arguably the most popular independent comic book turned into a feature film, and also one where the the movie’s success far exceeded the original comic’s popularity in comics. The story of a person killed in the prime of their life and brought back from the dead for revenge isn’t a unique story, but cartoonist James O’Barr brought forth a mix of cult elements, stoic staging and dark overtones that broke new grounds and preceded Frank Miller’s Sin City by years.

The original Crow film cast an indelible mark on the psyche of those who’ve seen it, which was only amplified by the tragic death of Brandon Lee during the filming. Despite all that, movie-makers have gone back to the well on numerous occasions to recapture that magic but have fallen short each time. For the past few years there’s been talk of a full-scale remake, casting 28 Weeks Later director Juan Curlos Fresnadillo and actor Bradley Cooper to lead up the picture. While the idea of remaking The Crow sounds like a money-maker to some , any new film has some big shoes to fill. Despite my own personal apprehension on a remake working successfully, let’s consider it a challenge and Remake & Reboot The Crow.

The Concept:

One of the most interesting concepts of The Crow has been the idea that this magical bird has resurrected others before and after the original Crow miniseries to get a shot at vengeance. It’s an idea that propels the sequels both in comics and film, but one that I think neither has fully applied to the fullest potential.What I would recommend is a honest remake borrowing from both the original movie and O’Barr’s first miniseries, but also lending some brainpower to developing the legacy concept of the Crow — or at least seeding it.

Some might say that the original Crow film is best left untouched, but for style I could see another director coming in and showing a more nuanced approach to this gothic revenge story. If you think about it, it’s a romance story that is sidelined and turned into a crime story, with supernatural elements. If they could play those three facets up equally without diluting their individual appeal, they could be onto something.

The Director:

For this precarious production, I’d enlist director/photographer Floria Sigismondi. She made her directorial debut with 2010’s The Runaways, but cut her teeth for the past twenty years as a distinctive music video director. The Crow needs both style and subtance, and Sigismondi could deliver both. Reinventing The Crow franchise is a big open canvas, and this Italian director could really surprise everyone.

The Cast:

The Crow / Eric – Joe Manganiello: Manganiello’s got a smoldering look about him, and his role on True Blood shows he can back it up with acting. If cast in The Crow it wouldn’t be his first comic book movie; he played Flash Thompson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy… blink and you missed it.

Shelly – Krysten Ritter: After getting caught up on Breaking Bad, Ritter surprised me with her dynamic range and she could add a considerable amount to the ensemble cast of The Crow, especially if they expand her character from the miniscule appearances in the original film.

Sherri – Dakota Blue Richards: After breaking in with the starring role in The Golden Compass, Richards biggest role since has been in the UK series Skins. Richards could bring some nuanced vulnerability mixed with street smarts to play this heartful street urchin.

T-Bird – Kim Coates: Is it wrong to say that Coates’ is my favorite part of Sons of Anarchy? Coates has been a versatile character actor for years and could bring that to the big screen playing the demonic T-Bird.

Top Dollar – Jeffrey Donovan: In the original Crow film, Top Dollar was played by one of the definitive film bad guys of the time with Michael Wincott; for this outing, I’d rather see the dashing good guy Jeffrey Donovan of Burn Notice fame turn that on its head by playing a ruthless drug kingpin that has enough smarts to stand up to a supernatural threat to his business.




  1. I think what made the Brandon Lee movie special is that it captured the sense of grief of the comic. The comic was written while O’Barr was dealing with his girlriend’s death, and from what I remember, that sadness is palpable in the comic, especially when he has things like Cure song lyrics printed in there. Any remake would, in my mind, have to find a new way to make it human in this way. It can’t just be about the magic bird and vengeance.

  2. You really can’t leave the feel of the early 90’s out. The original movie had this grunge rock attitude that I would hate to see left out. I know it’s not the 90’s anymore, but the Crow is a product of the 90’s and if a new one gets made that should be honored.
    Also, Top Dollar is so awesome in the original movie, the change you recommend above looks absolutely bland in comparison.

  3. Joe seems a little big for Eric. In the comics i was always struck by how skinny Eric was and yet still muscular, it really hammered home that this guy was a walking corpse. Someone the size of Andrew Garfield would work better in my humble opinion.

  4. Also the scenes in the afterlife from the original comic would be awesome to see on the big screen. Eric on that train all by himself when the skull cowboy appears

  5. “The Crow” and “Dark Knight” are my favorite comic book movies of all time (and two my favorite moves in general). Honestly, I’d say leave it alone. It’s a product of its time, the movie captures the spirit of the book and generally improves on it whenever it changes aspects of the story or character, and I just don’t want to see another half-assed remake of something I love (“Conan,” “Fright Night,” etc.). Finally, Brandon Lee is Eric Draven. Not Mark Dacascos, not Bradley Cooper.

  6. I happen to think the comic is very underrated. It has a really unique tone which I haven’t seen in any other books.

    The thing which I thought was really interesting about the book, which was unfortunately absent in the movie, is the sort of schizophrenia of the storytelling which reflects the mindset of the protagonist. Before he dies he’s portrayed as a normal guy — a person who’s able to love, laugh, and enjoy life. But after he returns from the dead he’s portrayed in a way which really makes it clear that the trauma of his horrifically violent death and subsequent reanimation has driven him somewhat insane. That insanity is depicted by way of some really strange, almost hallucinatory sequences interspersed between the regular scenes and through his weird, nonsensically poetic dialog. The book also featured selected works of poetry and the lyrics for songs (stuff from Joy Division and early work from The Cure while they were still in their dark post-punk phase) which really fit the atmosphere of the book. If they found some way to work all these tonal elements into the film they could really create something memorable, instead of just making another cliched revenge/action film.

  7. Big fan of the original movie, never read the book.

    Not really familiar with any of the actors you name, but I really dig the director choice. Been a fan of Floria Sigismondi since her Marilyn Manson videos in the 90s. And I really like The Runaways film. Her style could would well with a new The Crow flick.

  8. I love both the original crow comic and the original crow movie. While I’ve never seen any of the sequels or the TV show, I’m not opposed to the idea of a remake and would absolutely watch it if I thought it looked good. The Crow is a difficult tone to capture right. it’s not just “dark” which is the obvious thing that jumps out about it. It just has so many more layers to the tone than just the grittiness. It has so much sadness and longing and pain to it, but with flashes of beauty and joy. I thought the first one did a good job of translating that.

  9. I really think that The Crow is just one of those movies that are just untouchable really. After every single attempt at recreating that magic with the first film failed so miserably, I think that Brandon Lee was just too perfect for there to be another Crow to work out. Although this cast does sound very interesting, I think its better to just leave well enough alone.

  10. …or we could recognize that trying to recapture what may the original so special (I’m not talking about Lee’s untimely passing but instead to the overall mood, pitch perfect casting and overall feel of the film) is a horrible idea and just leave it be.

  11. I recently read the original series and it was fantastic. I never seem to hear anybody talk about it on various podcasts and what not.

    I think they would have to do it as a period piece to really capture the whole 80s goth vibe.

  12. Krysten Ritter is incredible. She’s 30-something and still looks amazing