The tragic story of The Crow, from inspiration to production

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The long-awaited reboot of The crow finally seems to be progressing after development began as early as 2008. Since the 1994 original, there have been several sequels and a TV show, but none of them have lived up to the source material. Truly the only adaptation worthy of James O’BarrThe comic series of is Alex Proyas‘ 1994 cult classic that featured Brandon Lee like Eric Draven, a musician who is beaten to death and brought back to life by a crow. From there, the crow guides him to get revenge on the gang that killed him and his fiancée, Shelley (Sofia Shinas). The film is a gothic thriller that’s garnered a cult following since its release, and one of the reasons a reboot has taken so long to develop is the lingering doubt that the original can be surpassed. The harrowing plot was more haunting and poignant following the tragic death of lead star Lee on set when he was accidentally shot in the abdomen by a malfunctioning prop gun. This unprecedented tragedy shocked the world and left the cast and crew distraught. deceased actor Michael MasseeLee’s co-star who fired the gun, described being completely traumatized by the incident, taking a year off after the incident.

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Brandon Lee

Lee’s death came twenty years after his father – the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee – had died aged 32 in bizarre circumstances, with the factors contributing to his death still being debated today. Many strange coincidences surrounding the untimely death of father and son led to theories that the Lee family was cursed and the curse plagued the production of The crow due to Brandon’s involvement. There were a number of accidents during filming, crew members being injured and props and sets being damaged before Brandon was accidentally killed just a week before filming wrapped. As a result, many people involved in the film’s production refused to watch it, including director Proyas. In 2017, Proyas spoke out against starting a reboot or remake suggesting it would disrespect Lee’s legacy and his performance. Lee shares many similarities with his character Eric Draven, but The crowThe protagonist also shares similarities with comic book creator O’Barr.


A comic born from a tragedy

More than 45 issues of The crow have been published, with O’Barr’s original released in 1989 and the latest in 2020. Several original novels set in the same universe have also been released. O’Barr wrote the first issue to deal with a personal tragedy he experienced when his fiancée was killed by a drunk driver. The comic is black and white and deliberately moody to reflect the dark subject matter of the story as well as O’Barr’s grief and pain. O’Barr did not have an easy childhood, growing up in the foster care system. He described the darkness of his early years with great agony, and meeting his fiancée at 16 brought a light to his life that he had not seen before.

Just as it seemed his life had changed for the better, she was cruelly taken from him and he was left broken. As a talented artist and writer, O’Barr began working on The crow following the loss of her fiancé, putting much of her anger and grief into her protagonist. In an interview at San Diego Comic Con International in 2000, O’Barr said that he based every character in the comic either on people he knew or on the more self-destructive sides of his own personality, and when finished, he had little interest in the comic being published. However, Caliber Comics released it as a limited edition in 1989 and it became an underground hit. The success continued to grow and several other publishers published later issues of The crow including Tundra Publishing, Kitchen Sink Press and Image Comics.


Big screen adaptation

When a film adaptation began development, O’Barr was involved in the casting process and as a consultant. According to the 2000 Comic Con interview, O’Barr thought Lee would be perfect in the lead role after meeting him, and he also revealed that Lee was a big fan of his comics, to the point that he could quote lines of dialogue. . The first draft of the screenplay deviated greatly from O’Barr’s work much to his frustration, and Lee helped to make it more accurate. When Lee was tragically killed during filming, O’Barr was devastated and plagued by feelings of guilt. O’Barr felt Lee’s death was like losing her fiancé again and expressed regret for ever writing. The crow in the first place. After the accident on set, there was a lot of speculation about whether or not the film would end. It was dropped by Paramount Pictures but was picked up and distributed by Miramax which increased the budget and allowed time for rewrites.


A key addition to the rewritten script was the narration provided by Sarah (Rochelle Davis), a friend of Eric and Shelley. Several writers worked on the rewrites, and many previously shot scenes were cut from the film. A major comic book character, Skull Cowboy, was portrayed in the film by Michael Berryman, but all of its scenes were cut after Lee’s death. Since most of Lee’s scenes had already been shot, a body double was used to shoot new scenes, and Lee’s face was added with CGI, similar to what films such as Fast and Furious 7 and Gladiator did when the actors Paul Walker and Olivier Roseaurespectively, died before filming was completed.

Is the crow cursed?

The uncanny similarities to real-life tragedies make The crow incredibly hard to watch sometimes. O’Barr’s life was devastated by many tragic events, and his creation of The crow is all the more powerful that he knows what drove him to do it. The 1994 film remains a truly phenomenal work with a suitably dark atmosphere and a chilling performance from Lee. Critics were blown away by him in The crow, and it serves to show what a huge star he could have been. It’s a haunting experience to watch him play, and the upcoming reboot will no doubt struggle to match the relentless emotion of the original cult classic.


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