A Murder Of Crows - Every Actor To Play The Part

From Brandon Lee to Bill Skarsgard, a look at every Crow actor

The Crow - Courtesy Lionsgate
The Crow - Courtesy Lionsgate /

For an entire generation, the 1994 film The Crow, became a cornerstone of dark, gothic tragedy with Brandon Lee at the heart of it. Not only did the actor expertly capture the darkness of Eric Draven, but he also tragically died on the set of the film. This confluence tied into his father's own sad story, but also added an element of darkness to the film that echoed the events of the story itself.

While the character's creator James O'Barr deserves all the credit in the world for laying down the groundwork in the first Crow comic books, Lee did great work in bringing the character to life. The set-up, though, allowed plenty of room for more stories, though because, as the opening voiceover states, a crow may return a restless soul to the land of the living if they were killed in the midst of great tragedy. The undead avenger can then tear their their enemies without feeling any physical pain or falling to any wound.

With the new take on The Crow soaring into theaters on June 7, now's the perfect time to extol the virtues of Lee's performance and look back at the other actors who have returned from the dead with a vengeance.

Brandon Lee

Rich Correll's Icons Of Darkness VIP Celebration
Rich Correll's Icons Of Darkness VIP Celebration / Michael Tullberg/GettyImages

Brandon Lee left an indelible mark on the world with his performance in Alex Proyas' The Crow. You can feel how much he loved his fiancee Shelly (Sofia Shinas) in the beginning of the film and the searing pain he experienced later as a gang of thugs assaulted her and then tossed him off the roof. Draven came back a year later and began raining down vengeance on those responsible with some help from his young neighbor Sarah (Rochelle Davis). But, as the saying goes, it can't rain all the time, so he achieved some level of peace, having seen justice done.

The story about a guitar-playing guy exacting revenge on his enemies would have probably hit with 90s teens regardless, but Proyas utilized elements of O'Barr's original comics with such a deft sense of somber style that its impact was felt all the deeper. And, without trying to psychoanalyze the audience too much, there was something darkly fascinating about a film like this that resulted in such real life tragedy. With that in mind, for many fans, Lee's performance may never be topped, but let's at least see how the others did.

Vincent Perez

Vincent Perez And Mia Kirshner Stars In The New Movie The Crow: City Of Angels
Vincent Perez And Mia Kirshner Stars In The New Movie The Crow: City Of Angels / Getty Images/GettyImages

Two years after the initial film debuted, a sequel followed. At the time relatively unknown international actor Vincent Perez was tapped to play Ashe Corven in The Crow: City Of Angels. This even more desolate take on the material came from screenwriter David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight) and director Tim Pope who, like Proyas, had been a prolific music video maker.

In a dystopian version of Los Angeles, Corven and his son Danny were killed and thrown in the water after witnessing a drug deal. Ashe returned from the dead -- aided by the now-adult Sarah (Mia Kirshner) from the first film -- and violently punished the wicked.

Perez mainly made films in France both before and after City Of Angels, but he does have one notable U.S. film credit to his name. He co-starred with Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend in the 2002 adaptation of Anne Rice's Queen Of The Damned, a sequel of sorts to Interview With A Vampire.

Mark Dacascos

Mark Dacascos
Premiere Of Vision Films' "Ultimate Justice" - Arrivals / Brandon Williams/GettyImages

While all of the Crow films are easy to watch right now between streamers and physical media, it's much tougher to put eyes on the short-lived syndicated TV series The Crow: Stairway To Heaven. Dark Skies and M.A.N.T.I.S. showrunner Bryce Zabel brought Eric Draven back as the series lead, this time portrayed by Marc Dacascos.

Though the series only lasted one season, it explored the world of The Crow more than any other adaptation. Instead of only avenging Shelly's murder, Draven stuck around to help right wrongs. Along the way, he encountered his evil counterpart, known as the Snake, as well as another Crow.

At the time Dacascos had been utilizing his martial arts skills in action flicks like Double Dragon. He gained a good deal of attention in the underrated horror-action period piece Brotherhood Of The Wolf, though he will also be recognized by many as the Chairman in the U.S. version of Iron Chef. Since then he has dipped in and out of genre pieces, appearing on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mortal Kombat: Legacy and John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum.

Eric Mabius

Eric Mabius
Covenant House California 2012 Awards Dinner / Amy Graves/GettyImages

The series kept on flapping with 2000's The Crow: Salvation from director Bharat Nalluri with Eric Mabius playing Alex Corvis. He had been framed for the murder of his girlfriend Lauren (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) and executed. Brought back by that infamous black bird, he began his own path of reprisal. Mabius himself never became a big name, but he sure played opposite one in this film with the involvement of Kirsten Dunst who portrayed Erin, Lauren's sister. The major difference in plot this time around was that Corvis uncovered the police corruption that lead to their murders.

Before Salvation, Mabius appeared in Black Circle Boys which was a kind of teen boy version of The Craft. Two years after his turn as Alex Corvis, Mabius played Matt in the very first Resident Evil film. These days you can see him in a variety of Hallmark movies and shows including the dozen or so installments of Signed, Sealed, Delivered making it the longest running franchise of anyone on this list!

Edward Furlong

Edward Furlong
"The Crow: Wicked Prayer" VIP Press Screening Benefiting Covenant House / Albert L. Ortega/GettyImages

For 2005's The Crow: Wicked Prayer, director Lance Mungia (Six-String Samurai) and company shifted all sorts of gears, switching the setting from a depressed city to the expanses of the west. Edward Furlong filled the title role, playing Jimmy Cuervo, a young guy who, along with his girlfriend Lilly (Emmanuelle Chirqui) got murdered by Satanists Luc (David Boreanaz) and Lola (Tara Reid).

Upon returning from the dead, Cuervo went after the devil worshipers who killed them, but this time around, he faced someone with powers of their own when Dennis Hopper's El Nino brought Lucifer forth into Luc's body. Furlong seemed to draw from his own reported demons in a performance surrounded by pretty bonkers choices by his fellow actors.

Furlong's star took off in the early 90s thanks to his role as John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. He followed that up with horror offerings Pet Sematary II and Brainscan. He went more dramatic towards the end of the decade in American History X and had some fun in Detroit Rock City. He has continued working since then, dealing with a number of personal issues along the way.

Bill Skarsgard

The Crow
CROW_Day43-9730.ARW - Courtesy Lionsgate /

In the nearly 20 years since Wicked Prayer came out there have been a number of failed follow-ups including one helmed by Rob Zombie and another starring Bradley Cooper, but they never made it back from Hollywood limbo. However, Ghost In The Shell director Rupert Sanders did get his version off the ground and he brought Bill Skarsgard with him.

Of course, we haven't seen the film yet, but the first trailer showed off some key moments that indicate this new take will follow a similar path as the original with Eric Draven (Skarsgard) coming back to avenge his love Shelly (FKA twigs) with copious amounts of violence and blood.

Over the past few years, Skarsgard has staked his claim as one of the best actors in the genre between his appearances in Stephen King adaptations like It and Castle Rock, as well as Barbarian and The Devil All The Time. He's shown a penchant for playing haunted and haunting characters who still have that core of humanity, all elements that will play well in The Crow.

For many, no one could ever come close to Brandon Lee's performance as Eric Draven, but Skarsgard certainly has the chops to get there. We'll all see how it shakes out when the film debuts on June 7.

Next. New trailer and images have been released for the reboot of The Crow. Get your first look at Bill Skarsgard in The Crow.. dark