Actors Who Were Almost Cast In The Crow Reboot

"The Crow" may be cursed. The original 1994 film, based on a popular James O'Barr graphic novel, was directed by Alex Proyas and spawned three film sequels and a TV series. A long-awaited remake was first announced way back in 2008, alongside the news Relativity Media was bargaining with producer Ed Pressman over financing and acquiring the property. Stephen Norrington, best known for "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," was initially tapped to write and direct the feature. However, as the process developed, creative differences led to his departure, and a new team was hired. 

That was just the beginning of one of the most beleaguered attempts to get a film off the ground in cinema history. There have been countless failed attempts to get the reimagining in the can, and each one has fallen apart either due to scheduling conflicts or numerous other creative decisions. In the lead role of Eric Draven (first played by Brandon Lee, who was tragically killed during the making of the original film), a musician who is murdered and later brought to life by a supernatural crow, every A-list leading man has been considered. As you'll see in this deep dive, there are the usual suspects on the list as well as several unexpected names.

Tom Hiddleston

It was full steam ahead when Stephen Norrington was hired to write and direct "The Crow" remake in 2008. However, two years later, he dropped out over creative differences and studios wiped the slate clean. By 2012, Cliff Dorman and F. Javier Gutierrez joined the creative team to pen the script and direct, respectively.

With a draft in place, the first key to their casting puzzle was locking in actor Tom Hiddleston for the lead. "We went out and immediately got Tom, right off the cuff," Dorfman told Bloody Disgusting. In general, casting and filming were "not a typical process for a movie," Gutierrez noted. "We were working with actors from day one. I met actors when I arrived on the project."

"[Tom] was not that well known at the time. He had just made the first 'Avengers' movie. He was really passionate about the role," the director added. Hiddleston eventually dropped out of the project, and his reasoning remains unclear. "I'm not sure why Hiddleston dropped out," said Dorfman. As with many Hollywood projects, the train barreled ahead, and another leading man was secured for the role.

Alexander Skarsgård, Nicholas Hoult, and Jack O'Connell

Alexander Skarsgård was in the throes of his wildly popular role as Eric Northman in "True Blood" when a report circulated that he was next in line for "The Crow" remake. Deadline first claimed conversations with Tom Hiddleston were "overhyped" and then stated Skarsgård was being eyed for the film.

"No formal offer yet, but it sounds to me like it's Skarsgård's role if he wants it," journalist Mike Fleming Jr. wrote in the news piece. Keep in mind, that these conversations (or lack thereof) were happening concurrently with many other names on this list. The studio was simply scrambling for any big name that would draw attention.

Before you know it, Alexander Skarsgård's name faded from the headlines, and everyone moved on. "The Crow" remake once again found itself hanging in limbo. A few years later, in 2015, Jack Huston exited the film, and Nicholas Hoult and Jack O'Connell were two additional names bandied around as potential replacements.

James McAvoy

Early on, James McAvoy was a high-profile name seriously considered for the role. According to F. Javier Gutierrez, the studios were pushing him as "one of the more 'name' choices" to shine a bigger spotlight on the project. "I met with every single actor in town, it was insane," Gutierrez remarked.

Around the time of the development of "The Crow" remake, McAvoy had just finished his turn as Charles Xavier in the wildly successful "X-Men: First Class" film. He'd already boasted plenty of other leading credits in such films as "Bollywood Queen," "Wanted," "Penelope," and "Atonement." He was more than up to the task. It's easy to see why the studios were gunning for such an A-list talent.

Unfortunately, McAvoy's involvement in the film stops there, as it didn't move beyond the "in talks" stage of the process. Considering his many roles since then, we can only dream of what McAvoy could have done with such meaty material.

Mark Wahlberg

Believe it or not, Mark Wahlberg was offered the lead sometime in mid-2010. With Stephen Norrington directing, musician Nick Cave reportedly was on deck to revise the script. "[We've got an offer out] to a major actor and things are moving ahead very aggressively, with the aim of doing the film this year," producer Edward Pressman teased to MTV that summer.

Yet, that's as far as it goes. They were only talking. A month after news initially broke, Wahlberg went on record about what was actually happening behind the scenes. "We never committed to making the movie," he explained. "They talked to me about it, and there was a director attached who I was a fan of, and he's no longer doing it. We just thought about it — 'is there something cool to be done there?' But we're not committed to making the movie."

Wahlberg was once again considered for the role in 2011 after Bradley Cooper officially dropped out.

Bradley Cooper

After Mark Wahlberg's initial meetings, producers turned their attention to Bradley Cooper for the role of Eric Draven. According to an Entertainment Weekly report, the actor was "in negotiations" to join the film with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo directing. Production was expected to begin sometime in late 2011.

Several months later, Cooper dropped out of the project, alleging it was due to a scheduling conflict with two other ongoing projects, David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" and Alexander Proyas' "Paradise Lost." Fresnadillo eventually left as well. "There weren't that many ups and downs," Cooper told a reporter in December 2011. "We were talking about doing it because of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who I'm such a massive fan of. Then, timing didn't work out, and he just dropped out of it, also."

Around the time filmmakers would have been shooting, concept art was released that depicted a forlorn, mascara-stained Cooper.

Channing Tatum

In the aftermath of Bradley Cooper's departure, Channing Tatum was a name thrown into the ring for the iconic role. He appeared alongside another A-lister, Mark Wahlberg, in a report published with The Hollywood Reporter. "It's too early to tell what will happen with either Tatum or Walhberg, or whether other actors join the fray, although Relativity is keen on not wasting time," the report read.

At the time, Tatum was striking gold with numerous high-profile credits, including "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," "Dear John," and "10 Years." He was something of a hot commodity, and his casting would have been a no-brainer for producers — for better or worse. Unfortunately, any mention of talks or negotiations were kept under wraps, if they happened at all.

In the same report, journalist Borys Kit went on to note the ongoing legal issues regarding distribution rights around the IP. It's not made explicitly clear, but that could have very well been a huge reason for the film's troubled history.

Luke Evans

Once Tom Hiddleston bowed out of the project, Luke Evans signed on for the role in 2013. Reportedly, he was the studio's first choice, but a hectic schedule, including work on "Fast & Furious 6" and new casting in "Dracula Year Zero," led producers to temporarily look elsewhere. Production was even pushed to early 2014 "to accommodate his schedule."

Needless to say, Cliff Dorfman and F. Javier Gutierrez were "just thrilled" to get their hands on Evans. "Luke is a very special actor. I think he would've been the absolute perfect Crow. He had the precise amount of vulnerability versus power, love versus hate," Dorfman said. "He had all of those emotions at the tips of his fingers and right behind his eyes."

Under tremendous stress, Gutierrez eventually left the project in late 2013 to focus on "Rings," a production for Paramount he'd already agreed to. The studio then hired director Corin Hardy to take the reins. Feeling the strain as well as creative frustration, Evans bowed out soon after "to pursue other projects," according to The Wrap.

Jack Huston

"The Crow" swooped back into the conversation when Deadline reported that the studio was looking at Jack Huston for the role of Eric Draven in early 2015. A month later, the "Boardwalk Empire" actor officially signed on. Production was expected to ramp up a few months later with Corin Hardy directing.

By summer, Huston left the project. Director Corin Hardy noted Huston was simply "unavailable to continue with us," leaving many to question if it was due to creative differences, studio interference, or scheduling.

During promotion for "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," Collider picked Huston's brain about why he dropped out. "I was so sad. I had a great relationship with everyone. Luckily, that's all fine. It's a scheduling thing," he said. "It was just a scheduling conflict. We were all so jazzed to do it. It was one of the hard decisions. I just want them to just go and make a great movie, so I'm just putting my heart out and saying I love everything about those guys."

Jason Momoa

In the most recent attempt to get "The Crow" flying, Jason Momoa signed on in August of 2016. He was then riding high on his "Game of Thrones" fame, and all signs pointed that finally, the film would become a reality. Momoa even posted a celebratory (albeit cryptic) Instagram pic with director Corin Hardy days before Mashable confirmed the news.

However, two short years later, the project fell apart (again). "I've waited 8 years to play this dream role," Momoa stated on Instagram. "I love you @corinhardy and @sonypictures unfortunately I may have to wait 8 more. Not our team. But I swear I will. James O'Barr sorry to let you down I won't on the next. This film needs to be set free. And to the fans. Sorry. I can't play anything but what this film deserves and it needs love. I'm ready when it's right."

Earlier this year, filmmaker Ryan Unicomb shared actual screen test footage of Momoa in full "Crow" makeup. "Apparently people are frothing over some still pics," wrote Unicomb. "So here's some of the actual footage." It's the closest diehard fans have to seeing a new vision of the iconic story on the silver screen. Maybe next time.

Andrea Riseborough and Forest Whitaker

Casting Eric Draven has been a revolving door of big names, and rarely has there been casting news around other pivotal film characters. During Corin Hardy's first test, Andrea Riseborough reportedly signed on to play the villain Top Dollar, a typically male character played by Michael Wincott in the original film.

Around the same time, Forest Whitaker was "in negotiations" to appear. Previously, filmmaker F. Javier Gutierrez considered Whitaker for the role of Mulligan, a riff on the graphic novel's T-Bird character that becomes a prominent evil force against Eric. Mulligan only appears in Cliff Dorfman's script. For a time, Dorfman's script was making the rounds in Hollywood to lure potential talent to the table. "Let me be very clear — it was my script that was going around. It was my script that got Jason Momoa. It was my script that got Andrea Riseborough," Dorfman told Bloody Disgusting. "Every version that was sent out was mine. There was no "Crow Reborn." If there ever was, which I've done copious research to find out, no one has seen a draft."

When Jack Huston exited, there was no indication made in reports of either Riseborough's or Whitaker's involvement in the film. To this day, no statement has been issued.