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Nick Cave to Write New ‘Crow’ Movie, Improving Its Improbable Chances of Rocking

Up until now, you could be forgiven if you were unaware that director Stephen Norrington has been planning a new film version of James O’Barr’s 1988 comic “The Crow,” because up until now there has been no good reason to care at all about a new film version of “The Crow,” which was first adapted semi-interestingly to film in 1994 by director Alex Proyas, and then flogged to death over a series of three sequels, one TV series, and an endless amount of Hot Topic merchandise.

However, as reported by The Wrap, production company Relativity Media has made quite possibly the only choice they could make that would result in a new “The Crow” movie that will not only be worth checking out, but potentially worth getting excited for: they have hired gothic rock star Nick Cave to pen the script.

“Dig, Lazarus, Dig” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

“The Crow” comic follows the story of a young man named Eric who is raised from the dead to exact bloody vengeance on the roving gang of thugs that brutally and randomly murdered him and his girlfriend. Originally conceived as an artistic catharsis for artist O’Barr’s own torment after his fiance was killed by a drunk driver, “The Crow” comic is a strange marriage of trashy pulp cliches and deeply personal storytelling, with some impressive scenes of violence, arresting dream sequences, and scenes in which Eric — against action-hero type — performs modern dance routines as a sort of meditation between revenge killings.

While the cartooning never quite transcends what you would expect from the ’80s black-and-white boom (a period in comics that saw, among other things, the birth of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), “The Crow” is nevertheless possessed of a genuine nature and an idiosyncratic charm that sets it apart from similar works, and it’s easy to understand how it captured the devoted cult following that it has.

The dance scenes, of course, were one of the first things to go in the 1994 film adaptation. The hero was given an electric guitar to brood over instead, which was much more acceptably macho.

The material is a perfect match for Cave, who is known primarily as the singer of dark and clever lyrics with his band the Bad Seeds, and whose film work includes two films written for director John Hillcoat — the prison-drama “Ghosts…of the Civil Dead” and Australian pseudo-Western ultraviolent period piece “The Proposition” — as well as copious amounts of soundtrack music composed, and an unfilmed script for a sequel to “Gladiator,” written at the behest of Russell Crowe, which begins with Crowe’s Maximus being raised from the dead, and then travels through centuries, including a sequence in the Vietnam War, and ending in a men’s room at the Pentagon. Yes, you just read that correctly. Cave’s keen sense of absurd humor may also help to rescue “The Crow” from its own self-seriousness, which ranks a “Billy Corgan” on the scale of One to Overearnest.

The article at the Wrap, seemingly blissfully unaware of the project’s comic book origins (nowhere in the article does the name “James O’Barr” even appear, which is sort of shameful), doesn’t tackle the question of whether Cave will be sticking close to the source material or not, but they do offer up that Cave’s script will “feature the titular bird as more of a full-fledged character than in Alex Proyas’ 1994 [film].” While not much to go on, this seems to indicate the project moving away from director Norrington’s original desire to make a more “realistic” film, and back into the realm of strange gothic fantasy — a.k.a., Nick Cave’s backyard. Now here’s hoping he does the soundtrack, too.

Nick Cave makes a cameo as a troubador in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a film he also scored along with fellow Bad Seed Warren Ellis (no, not that Warren Ellis)

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