James Gibson reveals DMX & Eminem was supposed to star in sequel of “The Crow” movie

Journalist Jason Jenkins and screenwriter James Gibson have recently dive into the movie The Crow: Lazarus, which was intended to be the 4th theatrical installment in The Crow franchise before the series went fully straight-to-video with Lance Mungia’s 2005 sequel The Crow: Wicked Prayer. To have starred rappers DMX and Eminem, Lazarus was intended to have a larger budget and markedly different approach to the series’ core story of undying love and violent retribution, elevating the title back to theatrical prestige after the previous follow-up’s scant single-cinema release.

Mr. Gibson says: “We wrote a draft. DMX loved it. They were trying to figure out who they were going to get to play opposite him. I think they were approached by Eminem’s people. And Eminem was just as picky as DMX then. 2000, 2001, he was blowing up huge. He said if DMX was going to be in the movie, he wanted to be in the movie. So we decided, ‘Okay, yeah. Let’s have him play Stone.’ Obviously, in that draft, it hadn’t been tailored to him yet. I think having that guy be white was going to change the dynamics somewhat. But it was nothing that couldn’t have been done with a few tweaks here and there. But he read the script, even though the character was written as black, he knew it was gonna be tailored to him and he agreed to do it. They had made a deal with him, they were going to pay him like $4 million or something to be in it. And this is like two years before 8 Mile.”

“So he hadn’t been in a movie yet. This was going to be his motion picture debut. So it was going to be DMX as the good guy, the most badass guy in the world with a lot of heart. Eminem playing a mustache-twirling bad guy, the most villainous guy in the world. Obviously a gigantic, huge soundtrack. You’ve got the two biggest rappers, you know? It just seemed to me like it can’t lose, right? It just seemed like a no-brainer. We were all really excited about it, we were in pre-production, and … Miramax had this weird thing, where they were involved, but they weren’t involved.”

“They got a call from either Harvey or Bob Weinstein. It might’ve been Bob, because he was in charge of Dimension. ‘Nobody wants to see a movie with two rappers,’ was what he said. ‘Nobody wants to see a movie with two rappers.’ No one’s going to pay to see a movies with two rappers? Okay. They’re the two biggest fucking pop stars in the world at that point! Eminem was going to get even bigger, X was at his peak right then. And 8 Mile, when it came out a year and a half later, had like a $35 million opening weekend or something. And that was a drama. I mean, it kills me because I probably would have bought a house with the money that we’d have made, you know? [laughs]”

“What they then decided to do, and at this point I was no longer involved, was they decided – ‘Okay, what if we make it not a Crow movie?’ They would just make it a movie set in the music business. A guy gets killed and gets revenge, have the same thing, but take out all of the crow elements and make it some other kind of supernatural origin story.”

“They did manage to get it set up for awhile at another studio under that guise. They took The Crow out of the title and just called it Lazarus, but it ended up not going anywhere. At that point, I think Joseph got offered Torque and he bowed out to do it, and then the movie just kind of fell apart. At that point, I don’t think they were going to be able to keep Eminem, so it just fizzled. Just one of the things. It could have happened, but it didn’t. It’s a drag. But it was fun to write it, you know?”

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