From my years working in a comic shop during college, I was familiar with, but not a huge fan of, James O'Barr's The Crow. While I felt the book had an interesting look and style, I felt it was a one-note "revenge from beyond the grave" tale. When I found out my old pal David J. Schow was working on the screenplay, I was intrigued. Working from O'Barr's simple premise, I was confident that he would do some interesting things to flesh out the story and characters.
As a fan of Bruce Lee growing up - I thought it was an interesting vehicle for young Brandon Lee, whose prior film work I had not seen. I followed the stories of the mishaps on the set of the film, and of course the accidental shooting of Brandon. I knew David had been on the set during the entire production, and I couldn't imagine what that must have been like, not to mention the following period of speculation as to whether the film would be completed, and what it would take to do that.
Fortunately, the team, led by director Alex Proyas, and Brandon's family felt that the film should move forward. Vonna and I were in Phoenix for the World Horror Convention in March of 1994, near which they held the first public preview of the film. We secured passes to the midnight screening, and almost didn't make it in as there were lines around the mall where the screening was taking place. It was a film you walked out of knowing you had seen something special. The visual style, production design, and amazing performance by Brandon Lee that would serve as his legacy all added up to so much more than one could have expected based on the source material.
When I had the opportunity to meet Linda Lee Caldwell (Brandon's mom and Bruce Lee's widow) several years later, I commented how much I enjoyed Brandon's work in The Crow, and she noted how much the film had meant to him.
As our 40/40 Series draws nearer to its conclusion, we'll honor the memory of Brandon Lee with our screening of The Crow on the 28th.