Chromatic Shortlist: Three Actors Of Color We’d Rather See In The Crow Remake

By Arturo R. García

Not that remaking a cult classic like The Crow isn’t already a bad idea, but casting Bradley Cooper as the lead? That wouldn’t help, to say the least.

The fan attachment behind the film has endured because of both Brandon Lee’s performance as resurrected rocker Eric Draven and his accidental death during filming, which eerily echoed the demise of his father, martial-arts and film icon Bruce Lee.

And make no mistake: Lee owned this role, and not just because of action sequences that took full advantage of his martial-arts skills. In his final on-camera interview, Lee understood the challenge ahead of him, describing the Draven character as “a role that you have to take risks with. It gives you a wonderful opportunity to take those risks and stretch, because, you tell me how somebody who comes back from the dead is gonna behave.”

Familiarity seems to be behind both Cooper’s rumored casting – he starred in Limitless for Relativity Media, the company behind the upcoming reboot – and the retelling of Draven’s story. The character is the most enduring avatar of The Crow in pop-culture: he was brought back for the short-lived syndicated tv show Stairway To Heaven, where he was played by Mark Dacascos; and in 1999, Draven’s story was revisited by Image Comics.

But it’s important to remember, as Lee did, that Eric Draven is just one person. In both the comic-book world and a series of novels, many others were chosen for their own missions of vengeance. There’s other stories Relativity could have gone to for inspiration, and possibly garnered a new star for its’ stable, rather than relying on Cooper. But the actors chosen below work well either as Draven or some of the other characters featured over the years.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Fanboy pick? Perhaps. But Johnson, set to appear opposite Vin Diesel and company in Fast Five, already has cache in the action-movie arena, something Cooper lacks after the A-Team remake flopped at the box office. Like Cooper, Johnson is probably too old to play Draven – at least, Draven as a budding rock musician – but it’d be interesting to see him play Michael Korby, the vengeful figure at the center of Wild Justice, where Korby seeks revenge against someone who’s both served his time for killing him and is haunted by remorse for doing so.

Michelle Rodríguez
Speaking of the Fast franchise and action-movie cred, Rodríguez would bring all the intensity needed to play Erica Draven, and then some. That same intensity would come in handy if she were to play federal agent Iris Shaw from Flesh & Blood, who not only tracks down the men responsible for killing her, but buries some of them alive. And as at least one Crow fansite mentions, Shaw’s trauma plays out on multiple levels:

The first female Crow proves to be perhaps the most brutal of the bunch … taking revenge to truly appropriate lengths. Iris is a tragic figure in more ways than one, having been pregnant at the time of her death. Thus, her quest for vengeance is driven as much by the pain of life unrealized as for one cut short. In this tale, the crow myth takes a different twist, as Iris is merely a reanimated corpse … unable to heal, and her time is running out due to damage and decomposition. Thus, unlike previous incarnations of the Crow, Iris is a true Zombie … and she lives up to that grisly moniker.

Harry Shum Jr. If anybody should be getting a shot to play a new Eric Draven, it’s Shum. Not only is he young enough, but 3Minutes has hopefully shown people that Shum can bust out with the action skills if need be. But more importantly, Shum might be capable of bringing to light Draven’s vulnerability, as well. That same quality would come in handy in playing Mark Leung from Waking Nightmares, who must balance his quest for revenge with a fight to save his kidnapped daughters.

Update: An earlier version of this column featured a photo incorrectly naming The League of Extraordinary Dancers’ Daniel “Cloud” Campos as Shum. That said … Campos could recreate the Draven “look,” couldn’t he?

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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    Yeah remaking the Crow is a bad idea! The original is so unique it’ll be hard to live up to (see the failure of past remakes for examples of that). And I’ve never seen Bradley Cooper act but from his appearance alone I don’t think he can pull of the dark Gothic look…if they’re going to cast someone white might as well go for someone like Stuart Townsend or Olivier Martinez for the “look”.

    As for the actors mentioned above, I think Michelle Rodriguez is the closest to doing justice to the Crow (since hers won’t obviously be an exact remake of the original Crow). Harry Shum and Daniel “Cloud” Campos could also pull off the Crow look (and come closest to looking like Brandon Lee’s look). But I think it would be better for them not to do an exact remake with the Eric Draven character. Maybe they could do another one of the Crow’s alternate storylines starring different characters.

  • Seemi

    This ruined my day. There should NEVER EVER be a remake of The Crow. And Bradley Cooper?! WTF?!

  • “M”

    No votes for Daniel Henney?

  • Anonymous

    Never, ever, EVER let The Rock near a Crow role. That’s just blasphemy.

  • Jayson Killingsworth

    I agree Michelle and Harry would be the better choice. In the end, I would love to see Harry do it, he needs his day on the big screen where he is not dancing around, and can show us if he has the chops for more.

  • Cecinestpasune

    I’m with you that we need a different lead, but those three options wouldn’t be any better than Cooper, especially the Rock.

    What about giving Jay Chou the chance to shine without Seth Rogan pulling him down? Or D. B. Woodside, he played a pretty intense guy on Buffy, (with beautiful eyes…) I wouldn’t mind seeing him take up the mantle.

  • Mime Paradox

    I know almost nothing about The Crow but fully support seeing more of Harry Shum and Michelle Rodríguez on the big screen, and would probably see a movie starring them. So yeah.

  • Anonymous

    WTF? Why is there is a “Crow” remake? Did the sequels not teach us to leave that film alone?


    Oh…Lawd…no. *crosses self and mumbles* Brandon Lee, may you RIP…don’t know why these peeps are messin’ witchu….

    *shudders* Aw. Hell. Naw.

  • AngryBroomstick

    or… how about actually casting an actual rockstar to play the Crow? Bradley Cooper? I scoffed and sneered when I heard he was going to play the dead rocker. He’s the FARTHEST thing from being cool and hip. No offense, Bradley Cooper fans.