It's hard to know what excites Goths, but if anything has the potential to elicit a smile behind all that cake-powder makeup it's this: that remake of The Crow finally appears to be going forward. However, what might make purist Goths say "Ugh" and shrug, though probably not those poseur Hot Topic Goths, is that Tom Hiddleston, actor and professional genre hopscotcher, is in talks to headline the movie, according to The Wrap.
Not familiar with The Crow or its revered standing in Gothdom? First published as a comic book series in 1989 by James O'Barr, The Crow really broke through with its critically acclaimed movie adaptation by director Alex Proyas in 1994, starring Brandon Lee as the titular avenger. In the movie, Lee played Eric Draven, an eyelinered rock guitarist who's savagely beaten by a gang of thugs on Devil's Day (Oct. 30 for those of you not interested in the occult) in Detroit (the Devil's City! No, not really.) and forced to watch his fiancee get brutally raped by their attackers as the last thing he sees before he's thrown out of a window to his death. And all on the day before he was set to get married! So, yes, he dies. But he later rises from the grave as "The Crow," seeking to avenge himself on the people who murdered him.
The comics and the Proyas film were notable for their intense emotionalism and undercurrents of melancholy and dread. But the film truly rose to Goth Totem status because of the melancholy and dread surrounding its production: namely, the accidental death of Brandon Lee from a self-inflicted gunshot wound — he thought the gun was loaded with blanks — as filming was wrapping up. Lee's death in 1994 is akin to Heath Ledger's death in 2008 before the release of The Dark Knight. It only enhanced The Crow's legend.
It almost seems like the attempts to revive the franchise with a remake of the original film have been cursed. In 2008, rightsholders Relativity Media announced they wanted to give Proyas' Goth-flavored original a Nolan-style do-over, even suggesting that the new take might be "documentary-style" in its grittiness. In 2010, Mark Wahlberg was in talks for the lead, but he quickly dropped out. Shortly thereafter, Bradley Cooper was also attached, but he too left the part in August 2011 as the film languished without a script or director. In January 2012 F. Javier Gutierrez signed a deal with Relativity to direct and speculation resumed once again about who could play The Crow himself. Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling, and James McAvoy were all rumored to be in the mix.
But now it looks like Tom Hiddleston is going to be the one wearing the guyliner. And it makes us wonder: When you have the actor who played Loki in Thor and The Avengers getting Emo bangs and an all-leather wardrobe to play The Crow, does it mean Goth culture has truly became mainstream?
Sure, the gentrification of Gothdom began with the proliferation of mall-staple retailers, Hot Topic. Real Goths would never have set foot inside, ugh, a mall. As my colleague Brian Moylan puts it, "After six months, if they don't follow through on their death-hunting ethos and kill themselves, any Goth has to admit they are poseurs and change." Now that Hiddleston is nearly cast as their greatest comic book icon they must face the fact that they are no longer a niche unto themselves but have been homogenized into mainstream conformity.
Hiddleston's already won over fans of the Comic-Con set, Swedish mystery novels (as Magnus Martinsson on PBS' Wallander), Woody Allen aficionados (as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris), Film Forum cinephiles (The Deep Blue Sea), and, shortly, all of humanity with his lead role as the Great Escapo in The Muppets...Again! Why not add in the Goths? It only means that this group that has prided themselves on their dark moods and darker looks has been irrevocably whitewashed.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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Tron: Legacy may not have been a hit of Pirates of the Caribbean-sized proportions for Disney, but they're persisting with the homegrown franchise. Tron 3 is still in development, and has just hired a new writer to continue cracking the code. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Disney has hired writer Jesse Wigutow to take over scripting duties, and that Legacy director Joseph Kosinski is attached to helm the film. Wigutow doesn't have many produced credits to his name, but has been tasked with penning Disney's Peter Pan fantasy Peter and the Starcatchers, and with adapting Robert Lundlam's The Osterman Weekend. Hollywood.com has reached out to Disney, who could not immediately be reached for comment.
Making a sequel to a cult property from the '80s wasn't a logical idea (especially when the plan involves spending upwards of $170 million on it), but in the case of Tron: Legacy, the impetus was clear. 1982's Tron catered to a niche audience who loved both adventure movies and computers. These days, that description fits everyone — so why not revive it?
The 2010 followup reflected the evolution of computer technology in the past 20 years, and in some ways, with its thin characters and style-over-substance approach, the entertainment sought through today's Internet. Without much of a hook, other than the original's "we're going inside a computer!" and some awe-inspiring, glossy visuals, Legacy came to and quickly disappeared from theaters. So, on paper, developing a third Tron film sounds like another illogical move.
But the rich world of Tron can't be denied. In a tech-obsessed culture, Tron's conceit of anthropomorphizing the programs of our everyday lives, and throwing them into high-octane action is all too perfect. Tron Legacy may have been bloated, but it established a wealth of ideas and designs that are ripe for spinning off into new adventures. With a foundation built out of Marvel comic book movies and their newly acquired Star Wars franchise, Disney is in a position to build internally, and the world of Tron is already established. The gigahertz is the limit for Wigutow. Let's hope development on Tron 3 doesn't take 20 more years.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures]
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Relativity Media's remake of The Crow, only recently cleared to move forward after the settlement of a legal spat with The Weinstein Company, gathered momentum today with the hiring of both a director and writer. Deadline.com reports that Spanish director F. Javier Gutierrez (Before the Fall) will helm the update of the 1994 gothic horror flick, while Jesse Wigutow, a newcomer with a number of as-yet-unproduced projects to his credit will pen the script.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo had previously been slated to direct with Bradley Cooper attached to star. Cooper dropped out of the project in August of last year; Fresnadillo followed soon thereafter.
Like most American families the Grombergs are a little dysfunctional despite their amazing loft apartment sensational Apple computers and successful family law firm. Middle-aged Alex (Michael Douglas) is what his son Asher (Cameron Douglas) calls a "soggy cracker": a corporate attorney who's always worried about something he works in a soup kitchen and takes pro bono work to assuage his middle-class guilt over his day job. He also struggles to understand his oldest son who's a failure in college but does well enough as a drug dealer and DJ. Alex's father Mitchell (Kirk Douglas) meanwhile is your standard powerbroker-cum-bored-retiree; he founded the law firm where Alex now works and if Alex's whining is to be believed spent most of his time there while his son was growing up and definitely didn't do much understanding. These three main characters are so self-absorbed that it's not surprising the story of their lives comes off about as interesting as a soup-soaked Saltine; thank goodness for mom Rebecca (Bernadette Peters) who manages at least on occasion to be something other than tolerant and uptight second son Eli (Rory Culkin) a karate champion with a crush on the class runaway a sixth-grade goth girl.
Interestingly it's young Culkin of that other famous Hollywood clan who steals the show with a deadpan delivery that would make Jerry Seinfeld proud. His performance aside It Runs in the Family is notable for its four-for-the-price-of-one special on Douglases: There's grandpa Kirk his ex-wife Diana as the grandmother of the clan son Michael and grandson Cameron in his first role. If you thought it would be creepy watching a family of Douglases play a family on the big screen you were right. It's beyond creepy--it's uncanny in that is-this-real-or-is-this-a-movie kind of way and the acting style is eerily familiar too. Everybody wants to be the good guy everybody wants to say the punch line and nobody wants to take any chances. Still the Douglases seems to take great joy in their own movie and in working together and that brings a certain joy to the audience; despite its pervasive cherish-your-family theme there are moments when it doesn't go over the top and these are charming--if few and far between.
Director Fred Schepisi makes ubiquitous use of several generations of Douglas family photos to punctuate various scenes in the film--usually the ones where we're supposed to realize how much they love each other and learn what family really means. The audience is meant to come away with a nice smarmy sense of the quirky little realities of this "everyfamily " but just in case you didn't get it the characters--like the actors--don't take any chances that might make you question just how "nice" they really are; they resist any real rebellion or risk and there's always someone willing to try to understand if they do occasionally screw up. Aside from making for a pretty dull film it doesn't ring particularly true. For all the actors are really a family they don't seem very comfortable with one another on the screen so their characters' squabbles and heartfelt admissions come off stilted and forced their reactions seem too controlled and their relationships ironically don't give the audience a sense of any real bond between them.