’28 Weeks Later’ director signs on to resurrect ‘The Crow’

This probably shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who’s been following the story over the last few months, since Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s name has been in the mix for the director job on “The Crow” reboot since at least February.

It’s official now, though, and Fresnadillo will helm the re-invention of the character for producer Edward R. Pressman and Relativity Media, with a start date set for the fall with an eye on release next year.  Right now, Fresnadillo is finishing up work on  “Intruders,” a Clive Owen film that he’s making for Apaches Entertainment, which is also involved in this new “Crow” reboot.

I’m not a big fan of “The Crow” overall, but at least with the Brandon Lee film, you had the benefit of an actor who was looking to make a name for himself, giving a performance that is almost feral.  One of the reasons I find it genuinely painful to watch footage from the Alex Proyas film is because Lee was amazing, daring you to look away from his work, and the loss of Lee at that point in his life seems incredibly cruel.

There are still a few major hurdles that the filmmakers are going to have to clear before they actually roll film.  For one thing, they have no script and no writer at the moment.  For another thing, they need to find The Crow.  There have been so many films between 1994 and now that tap into the whole moody supernatural thing, not even counting the sequels to the original, that I’m curious to see how you make a “Crow” that doesn’t feel like just another lame “Underworld” knock-off.

When James O’Barr wrote the graphic novel that inspired the first movie, he was writing from a place of genuine pain and darkness, and it’s that honesty that made the comic work.  It’s not very well-drawn, and it deals in crude archetype, but that sadness is so authentic that it was hard to deny.  And in the Proyas film, Lee managed to tap into that pain in his performance.  Recapturing that is not going to be easy, and without it, I’m not sure what the point of the film is, aside from cashing in on a marginally familiar title.

Relativity announced the news in a press release this afternoon, which you can read here:

Relativity Media”s President of Worldwide Production Tucker Tooley and Edward R. Pressman, the prolific producer behind The Crow franchise, announced today they have closed a deal for Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) to direct a re-invention of The Crow, the 1994 smash hit film based on the comic book series and comic strip by James O”Barr.  Relativity and Pressman will be teaming with Spain-based Apaches Entertainment on the production which is targeted to start in Fall 2011.

Fresnadillo is best known for directing 28 Weeks Later, the post-apocalyptic horror sequel to 28 Days Later, which he co-wrote and produced with long-time producing partner, Apaches Entertainment”s Enrique López  Lavigne. Fresnadillo also directed the critically-acclaimed Spanish-language film Intacto and is currently in post-production on Intruders starring Clive Owen, also being produced by Apaches Entertainment.

Fresnadillo will collaboratively develop the script once a writer is attached to adapt the screenplay. Casting has not yet been announced.

The film 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) will serve as executive producer. José Ibáñez, Pressman Film Corporation”s Jon Katz, and Apaches” Jesús de la Vega will serve as co-producers.

The Crow adaptation will be a reboot of the iconic cult character Eric Draven, who”s resurrected as The Crow to avenge his wife”s murder so he can reunite with her in the hereafter, as first envisioned by graphic novelist James O”Barr.

“Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is an incredibly talented and imaginative filmmaker,” said Tooley. “We are thrilled to have him at the helm and are excited to work with both Pressman and Apaches on what we all believe will be a compelling and innovative reimagining of The Crow.”

Producer Edward R. Pressman remarks, “The original Crow was groundbreaking cinema; its gothic visual and musical ideas influenced a generation and cinema itself. With Juan Carlos, we have every confidence that his new Crow will have a similar impact on the contemporary audience.”

Fresnadillo is a talented filmmaker.  His work on “28 Weeks Later” was very strong, and his earlier film “Intacto” is impressive.  I hope that whatever he does with this film, it’s worthwhile for him, and that they’ve found a reason to retell the story.