‘Watchmen’ Writer to Pen ‘The Crow’ Reboot Screenplay

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 11:05 am,

Despite a legal challenge from the Weinstein Company, director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) has taken another step forward with The Crow reboot starring Bradley Cooper (The Hangover).

According to a recent press release, Fresnadillo and Relativity Media have signed Watchmen writer, Alex Tse to pen the screenplay for the upcoming film.

Tse has very few production credits to his name, two to be exact – polishing David Hayter’s original Watchmen draft for Zack Snyder as well as the Spike Lee film, Sucker Free City. In addition, Tse worked on a number of uncredited rewrites including films such as Step Up, Step Up 2: The Streets, and Jaume Collet-Serra’s House of Wax.

According to the press release:

Fresnadillo and Tse are perfectly suited to bring these beloved characters back to life, and to create a world worthy of this modern classic. The Crow adaptation will be a gritty  reboot of the gothic iconic character Eric Draven, who returns from the grave as The Crow on a mission to avenge his wife’s murder, so that his soul can finally rest.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Watchmen, you’ve got to commend Tse for being the writer that succeeded in penning a screenplay for one of the most notoriously difficult adaptations in comic book film history. Tse accomplished the task by sticking closely to the contents of Alan Moore’s graphic novel – minus the giant squid. If Tse takes a similar approach with The Crow – while successfully grounding the story in a “world worthy of this modern classic” – the reboot could, at least, be an interesting (albeit still unnecessary) update to the original film.

While “perfectly suited” might be a bit of a PR stretch, Tse and Fresnadillo are definitely a compelling combination. However, it’s still hard to imagine Bradley Cooper stepping into the exact character played by the late Brandon Lee – not to mention fitting into the gritty and dark world of The Crow, especially a version penned by Tse and directed by Fresnadillo. That’s not to say the actor isn’t capable – as Screen Rant readers pointed out in our Bradley Cooper casting report, Heath Ledger, once danced across high school school bleachers singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” and then surprised us all with his chilling portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight. In addition, while The Crow will certainly test Cooper’s leading man muscle in a gritty comic book world, the actor is no stranger to twisted films – with key roles in The Midnight Meat Train and Valentine’s Day (which was unintentionally terrifying).

Check out the key press release information below:

Alex Tse to Pen The Crow Reinvention

(Beverly Hills, CA) June 22, 2011 – Relativity Media’s President of Worldwide Production, Tucker Tooley, and Edward R. Pressman, producer behind the cult-classic The Crow franchise, announced today they have attached Alex Tse (Watchmen) to write their reinvention of The Crow, the 1994 critically acclaimed, sensation based on the comic book series and comic strip by James O’Barr.

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later), The Crow adaptation will be a gritty  reboot of the gothic iconic character Eric Draven, who returns from the grave as The Crow on a mission to avenge his wife’s murder, so that his soul can finally rest. Bradley Cooper (Limitless) is attached to star as Draven. The original film is known for its breakthrough visual style as well as its unique production design and cinematography.  Fresnadillo and Tse are perfectly suited to bring these beloved characters back to life, and to create a world worthy of this modern classic.

Relativity and Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation will be teaming with Spain-based Apaches Entertainment on the production. The Crow is being produced by Edward R. Pressman, Jeff Most, Relativity’s CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, and Apaches’ Enrique López Lavigne and Belén Atienza. Relativity’s Tooley (The Fighter) and Apaches’ Jesus de la Vega will serve as executive producers. José Ibáñez and Pressman Film Corporation’s Jon Katz will serve as co-producers.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick and and let us know what you think of Fresnadillo’s screenwriter choice.

The Crow does not have a set release date at this point.

TAGS: The crow
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  1. They should really just leave some movies alone.

  2. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, it actually sounds like it will be good. I love the original and all. But these guys could do some great work givin the material. Still on the fence about Cooper, but, I have been proven wrong before. Personally I would like to see someone.a little more “ethnic” (I don’t know how else to say that lol) like Brandon Lee was.

  3. Bradley Cooper is all wrong for this, am i the only person that sees no charisma in this guy at all? They should be going for more of a dramatic actor, Cillian Murphy would be a great Crow.

    • actually…i agree?…but i think cooper has a wide enough range for this

    • Well I see him as charismatic, but I don’t see him having the skill to pull this off. He may surprise me, but I don’t think he is a good enough actor to portray Eric Draven.

  4. a gritty reboot? im pretty sure the original was pretty gritty already. Im not one to be against a movie before it even has started filming, but some things really should be left alone. the original film is a classic and captured something special that hasnt been able to be recreated since with previous efforts,it was a film that was perfectly complimented by its soundtrack, aside from the fact its a good film that doesnt need rebooting, would you reboot lord of the rings? No, never. Also brandon lee IS the crow to a lot of people, and thats somthing you just cant reboot for the sake of money. and as i said, im not one to avoid/boycott a film, but this one i just wont support or give my money to, i just dont agree with the idea.

    And i personally like bradley cooper, he should back out of this while he has a chance and try and have his first comic book role be playing Matt Murdock/Daredevil in THAT reboot instead. i can totally see him as the blind ninja lawyer vigilante who dresses like a demon.

    • I know your pain, I too was soo underwhelmed by the announcement of a reboot of one of my favorite films The Crow, however, if you look at the original, it wasn’t nearly as gritty and awesome as it could have been.

      While it will always hold a nostalgic place in my heart and a place of honor in my DVD & Blu-Ray Collection I think a reboot MIGHT be great if taken seriously.

      Instead of casting, oh I dunno, Edward Furlong, Vincent Perez, Eric Mabius, or Mark Dacascos of Iron Chef – Chairman fame, they went with Bradley Cooper – I say it could have been much, much worse.

      • Correction – Mark Dacascos of Drive.

        Anything after that was performed by a fake.. :p

        I doubt he could pull off the things he did then now but way back when it was an awesome movie and he was a great martial artist :D

  5. If they follow the Comic Closer than the Original did I will be fine with a Reboot. Though their casting of Bradley Cooper seems to be off. Draven should have a rounder face and is somewhat short (Going by the Original Artwork). The nice thing is that the gore and violence should be less of an issue than it was with the original

    • I disagree on the rounder face – I think a pointed gaunt look is much more The Crow. Which comic issues are you thinking of with a rounder face?

      • he cant do it hes to goofy r.i.p branden lee

  6. Great idea using Midnight Meat Train as an example of Cooper’s darker acting. The scene where his girlfriend is stripping and wanting him to take her picture, but he’s just so lost and confused, is a great example. It was his performance in that film that tells me he can own the role in this one.

  7. Leave The Crow alone. Brandon Lee is rolling in his grave as we speak.

  8. what!? david Hayter was zacks first writer for watchmen
    that is crazy!! hayter aka solid snake?????? right??

    first crow was great
    2nd was weak as hell
    and if yousay it was good you obviously didn’t read the book. novel watevr
    you want to call it..
    but yea second 1 suck he killed them so ez
    in the book he took his time made them suffer
    killed them in really nasty gory ways
    movie he pretty much kiss them good nite.

  9. “Whether or not you’re a fan of Watchmen, you’ve got to commend Tse for being the writer that succeeded in penning a screenplay for one of the most notoriously difficult adaptations in comic book film history”

    He just copied the script off the graphic novel page and followed the story apart from changing the ending. What exactly about doing that is to be commended? A 10 year old could have done it.

    After watching Limitless, I’ve been a big fan of Bradley Cooper and would like to see him do more seriuous films, but not this, he’s all kinds of wrong for the role. Why does this need to be remade? The original is pretty damn great.
    Completele and total laziness. Will not be seeing it.

    • “He just copied the script off the graphic novel page and followed the story apart from changing the ending. What exactly about doing that is to be commended? A 10 year old could have done it.”

      If you want to get technical, David Hayter copied the script off the graphic novel page and then Alex Tse put the finishing touches on it.

      Adapting a graphic novel to film is a lot more complicated than just copying lines and imagery from the book pages. It’s deciding what goes in, what doesn’t, what aspects need to be tweaked (while maintaining the core elements), how to tighten lengthy exposition into succinct but still serviceable dialogue, as well as make sure that the pacing of the film honors the story while also not getting so bogged down in every single detail that the plot bores modern audiences. Director Terry Gilliam who was at one point attached to direct the film ultimately claimed that the due to the intense and complicated Watchmen source material, the graphic novel was “unfilmable.”

      It’s fair to criticize whether or not Hayter and Tse were successful or not with their Watchmen adaptation – but don’t just dismiss years of people’s hard work as something a 10 year old could do – especially when there’s a lot more to it than you’re giving them credit for.

      • No, Ben I stand by what I said. I don’t understand why anyone can call Watchmen unfilmable, the movie is a pretty staright adaptation right down to the dialogue. Writing something original is hard, I wouldn’t call adapting scene for scene and at times word for word, hard work.

        • I’m beginning to wonder DSB if Hollywood doesn’t have to have these kinds of content because they need a certain quota to fill. Brand new adaptations will always be perceived as more risky than mining the existing successful film database to fill the marquees. Even small films like “The Crow” could help the bottom line if they can float it with the audience. It does have a certain built in fan base and seventeen years have went by since the original was made.

          Personally I agree with you the original was a darn good film. It would be nice if their was an excuse to re-release it, new footage or something, but I don’t think they have any excuse. I’m sure if they adapted the original screenplay and renamed it someone would end up suing someone over the rights, so for the bottom line, in order to keep the industry going and profitable, this is how the studios are operating. I know it’s pure conjecture, but this remake thing doesn’t seem to be going away and with all the writers in the world I’m just finding it harder to believe that someone isn’t hungry and ambitious enough to write something of original quality worth being made, at least once every couple of weeks! Films are getting so expensive anymore, even small ones, that five or six small films that are unsuccessful, could kill a season or even a studio just as effectively as a large tent pole film failure.

          I’m as bummed as you seem to be though about the lack of variety and the seeming stagnation of the industry. With so many great tools and the sheer magnitude of the world population you would think that you could find an abundance of variety when it came to movie story entertainment, but until some more successful social models are theorized and proven and of course the current models fail completely, then those models that govern the way things are done will continue. That means more remakes. Let’s just hope enough people support them to make the real entertainment viable after all a small window is better than none…

  10. Having just watched midnight meat train and not knowing BC was in it i’d say he is a good choice (if any) for a [u]new[/u] crow movie theirs alot of stories in the crow world so they don’t have to reboot it (personally i liked the story with the women teacher whose kids get blown up by activists who are after a state official and she comes back to avenge them) and on a side note i still haven’t seen watchmen lol

  11. I am sure the hate will come fast & furious after this comment but…

    After so many lame attempts at cashing in on the character, multiple horrible movies (Furlong anyone?) and a putrid TV Show, I am actually curious to see them take the property seriously once again.

    Bradley Cooper, I don’t care about him but I don’t dislike him – let us see The Crow character taken seriously again and in Hard R — awesome. I am hopeful.

    - so ok, now tell me how wrong I am.

    • The TV series is one of my guilty pleasures … I actually liked it … a lot.

  12. Don’t kill me fans of the original, but I really was never a fan of the original Crow movie. It seemed really cheesy to me, but in a way I guess it was supposed to have that feel. Maybe this reboot will be decent, but I’m not holding my breath.

  13. I like Cooper but can’t see him as the Crow at all :?

    Plus, if it is grittier and more true to the book then will he want to play that character and risk alienating his fanbase? Draven wasn’t really a nice guy :?

  14. bradley is goofy he cant do it R.I.P branden lee

  15. booooooooooooooooo!

  16. I’m always hoping for something new from The Crow, but I’m gunna have to say stop right here with a reboot because the original isn’t that old & nothings really changed that much so that it’s out dated or unbelievable. If anything I was kind of hoping for a cartoon that strats off wher the original movie left off but instead of returning to death he pretty much becomes something like an avenger of lost & restless souls that have been wronged in life like him & Shellie. So something like a dark anti-hero that can’t die out killing criminals. I don’t know about any of you but it sounds good to me. :)