Though it was more than twenty years ago, The Crow remains an incredibly influential and respected comic book movie. James O’Barr created the comic that the movie was based on and is involved in The Crow remake, which has been in the works for some time. He was also involved in a sequel that was never made. In a recent interview, O’Barr reveals that he wrote a treatment for a female-led The Crow sequel and it sounds an awful lot like Kill Bill. Here’s what he had to say about it.
“My intention was to take it to a completely different direction. So I wrote a story that was a based on a little incident that happened in Chicago about a woman who was killed at her wedding. I remember reading it in the paper and it was just a horrible tragedy. Some Irish gangsters tried to rob a main perish in Chicago where they held the collections, and they got lost coming down. They ended up in the middle of a wedding and one of the bridesmaid’s boyfriend, in the audience, was a cop and a big shoot out started, church burnt down and 13 people were killed. That story always stuck with me and that day is supposed to be the happiest day in someone’s life and it couldn’t get more tragic than that. So my idea was ‘Okay, what if I take that scenario and call it The Crow: The Bride?’ and she comes back. It was super cool, she’s still wearing her wedding dress with barb wire and nails in her head.”
Uma Thurman’s character in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill was known as The Bride, for one. And the rest of the story certainly seems to resemble, at least structurally, the movie that Tarantino ultimately made. As James O’Barr tells it, he wrote a 16-page treatment for Miramax, but they just shelved it.
“I wrote out a treatment which is 16 pages, it tells you every plot point and tells you everything in the story, and they paid me for it. It was like $10,000, they said ‘Nah, we can’t make this. First of all, no one is going to see a action movie with a female lead.; And I was like, ‘If you do it right, it doesn’t matter if it’s about gender. It just has to be handled right.’ They declined and so, there’s the script and I did a bunch of illustrations for it as well and they threw on the shelves at Miramax.”
Indeed, as we’ve seen with Wonder Woman this year, and as Kill Bill also demonstrated, female heroes can totally work. It doesn’t sound as though James O’Barr is accusing Quentin Tarantino of ripping off his idea. Miramax paid for the story and it was theirs to do with as they pleased. And Tarantino is famously very much in control of what it is he makes. So it’s not likely he’d take a scrapped story for a Crow sequel and repurpose it. But still, the similarities are hard to ignore.
“I think it was ’95. I think I wrote it at the end of ’94. By the time it went through the lawyers and pressmen, it ended up in the dusty back room of Miramax. It was the end of ’95 and about 4 or 5 years later this movie ‘Kill Bill’ comes out and I’m sitting in the theater like, you know that meme with the guy? (O’Barr makes a shocked realization face). ‘This looks vaguely familiar!’ Mine didn’t have any of the Kung-Fu nonsense. I mean it’s the exact same story. They paid for it, so they had the right to do whatever they wanna’ do with it. Like a couple of years ago, I dumped it out and thought, ‘This is a good solid story.’ So I decided to turn it into a graphic.”
While it may not be a female-led revenge story, according to James O’Barr, the long-in-development reboot of The Crow is finally moving forward at Sony and is expected to go into production next year. Jason Momoa is set to star as Eric Draven. Still, this interview with Screen Geek reveals a pretty interesting movie we never got to see. At least O’Barr ultimately did something with the story.