Relativity Studios’ comic book-turned movie franchise reboot The Crow has gone through so many director and lead actor switch-ups that it’s difficult to keep track of anymore. Currently, however, the project appears to be closer than ever to actually starting production, with Corin Hardy (The Hallow) calling the shots – based on a script by relative newcomer Claire Wilson – and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) headlining the film as Eric Draven.
Alex Proyas’ 1994 film adaptation of James O’Barr’s 1989 Crow comic book is one of those movies steeped in Hollywood legend; not just because of star Brandon Lee’s on-set death, but also because of how its darkly stylized world design and themes ended up (unintentionally) reflecting its behind the scenes turmoil. However, it sounds as though the reboot is taking steps to properly distance itself from Proyas’ film – including, gender-swapping the main villain in the story.
Deadline is reporting that Andrea Riseborough has entered talks to play the antagonist Top Dollar in Hardy’s The Crow adaptation. Riseborough, an award-winning character actor whose recent work includes the Tom Cruise-headlined sci-fi feature Oblivion and the Best Picture Oscar-winning Birdman, would be stepping in the role brought to life by Michael Wincott in Proyas’ film. John Pyper-Ferguson also portrayed the Top Dollar character in the The Crow: Stairway to Heaven TV series from the late 1990s.
Top Dollar was a lower-level drug dealer in O’Barr’s source material, but in Proyas’ film adaptation the villain was the full-blown crime boss in Detroit. It sounds as though Wilson’s script may hew closer to the 1994 movie with regards to its antagonist, though it’s said to otherwise fall closer to the original comic book version of the story.
The Crow, for those unfamiliar, revolves around musician Eric Draven and his girlfriend Shelly, who are brutalized and killed by a gang. However, Eric is thereafter resurrected by supernatural forces and sets out to avenge both his and Shelly’s death. Jessica Brown Findlay was previously said to be in talks to play Shelly in the reboot, but there’s no mention of her in Deadline‘s latest update.
Hardy previously said that he’s “looking into the illustration themselves as much as the story” from O’Barr’s original Crow comic, in the hope of finding “beautiful ideas and details” that weren’t really included in Proyas’ big screen rendition of Eric’s tale. O’Barr has likewise name-dropped Taxi Driver as inspiration for the reboot’s depiction of its protagonist and setting, which does sound different than Proyas’ film – as the latter blended stylish Goth and neo-Noir elements with its presentation of O’Barr’s gloomy fantasy parable.
There have been some reboots in recent years that’ve successfully differentiated themselves from their predecessors – though, being “different” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re also widely beloved (case in point: see the wide range of feelings about RoboCop (2014)). The Crow is a rather morose “superhero” property (one that stands out even in today’s market), and it sounds as though the reboot could offer a unique new take on Eric Draven’s story. Question is, will it also have the poetic touch that helped earn both O’Barr’s comic and Proyas’ movie their respective followings?
We’ll bring you more information on The Crow reboot when we have it.