Luke Evans Is The New Crow

UPDATE: Evans speaks!

Luke Evans, The Crow

Following the announcement of his casting over the weekend, Coming Soon grabbed Luke Evans at a Fast & Furious 6 junket to get the lowdown on the new Crow. "It was a very poignant film from my childhood which I remember vividly," Evans said. "It was such a solid performance that Brandon Lee gave. It was a very tragic end for somebody that would have had a very promising career. I'm [playing] Eric Draven; I'm the same character. Obviously he's been refreshed and brought up to date. We're re-imagining it to a certain extent, but the story and the plot is mostly the same."

After years of development hell, Relativity Media's new version of The Crow seems, finally, to have coalesced into a going concern. As we already knew, F. Javier Gutierrez (Before The Fall) is the film's director. But now we also, at longest last, have an actor signed and sealed to play the unfortunate anti-hero Eric Draven. The man in the corpse paint will be (goth metal drum roll) Luke Evans.

If that's a surprise to the world at large, it's apparently not a sudden decision on the part of the filmmakers, with Deadline claiming that Evans has been top of the wishlist for some time. He was thought to be out of the running due to his commitments to Dracula Year Zero (in which he plays Dracula) and the publicity treadmill for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (where he's Bard the Bowman) but the potential schedule clashes were avoided when Relativity pushed The Crow's start date to accommodate him.

This new Crow was kickstarted by Stephen Norrington in 2009, with the Blade director planning to shoot his own screenplay, which would have taken place in Detroit and the American south-west. Nick Cave wrote a draft in 2010, before Norrington walked over creative differences with the studio. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) signed on in early 2011, beating Gutierrez to the gig, but when Fresnadillo moved on later the same year, Gutierrez was back in the game.

During the Norrington days, we were briefly looking at Mark Wahlberg as our possible new Draven, and names in the hat since then have included Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, James McAvoy, Alexander Skarsgård and Tom Hiddleston.

But it's Evans who'll be playing the murder victim who returns from the grave to avenge his own death and that of his fiancée, gradually working through the jolly pirate club that did him in. There's an odd coincidence to the fact that he's also playing the Count in the Dracula origin story: for a long time that film was being developed by the original Crow's director Alex Proyas, but Evans only came to it under the aegis of current helmer Gary Shore.

A busy year for Evans, anyway, since aside from Dracula and The Hobbit, he's also on chief villain duties for Fast & Furious 6. You can check out his form in that one on May 17, with The Desolation Of Smaug due on December 13. Dracula Year Zero is currently in pre-production with a pencilled-in US release date of August 2014. If all now goes to plan, shooting on The Crow will finally get underway early next year.

If you want to sate your Draven cravings befoe then, Titan Books published a swish new expanded edition of James O'Barr's original graphic novel last year.