small crow 'The Crow' small crow
T R I V I A    &    P R O D U C T I O N

Crow - horizontal line
A whole host of trivia titbits on The Crow can be found below.
The Production section deals with some of the production and special effects techniques used in the making of the film. Special detail is given to the scenes featuring Eric that were completed without Brandon Lee (see Life After Death) section, below.
Crow - horizontal line


# When Albrecht is pointing his gun at Eric by the sidewalk outside Gideons, he is distracted by looters at Gideons, notably one with long blonde hair stealing a T.V. set. This is in fact James O'Barr, author of the comic book series on which the film is based.

# Occasionally in the film, you may notice thar Eric has a light scar going under his eye and over his nose. Brandon Lee was not scarred in this way, it is a reference to the graphic novel, in which Eric had a similar scar. Eric was shot in the head - the shot cracked the bone under his eye, creating the wound.

# The latter part of the scene with Eric and Albrecht in Albrecht's apartment was actually ad-libbed. Brandon (Eric) decided to pick up a picture of Albrecht and his wife and ask him about it. The following part about Shelley ("Believe me, nothing is trivial") was also not in the script.
   The scene was originally scripted to take place in the street outside the police headquarters, but it was decided that it should be moved to Albrecht's home so that the audience could learn more about him. Ernie Hudson (Albrecht): "Once we were in the apartment the scene really changed. What came out was how Eric and Albrecht were kindred spirits. Sometimes life can be great and you think you've got it together, and other times it's all a big mess. Albrecht was at that point in his life. Part of it had to do with him being horrified by what had happened to that girl; he had gone to the hospital with her and his life was never quite the same again. Albrecht was very low and Eric helps give him focus." Hudson and Brandon Lee became quite close while wroking on The Crow, "We confided in each other and shared things." says Hudson, "I think for the scene in the apartment, we drew on our conversations."

# One of the bad guys at Top Dollar's meeting is one of the screenwriters, David Schow. He is the guy who gets pulled under the table.

# Jeff Imada is also at Top Dollar's meeting. Jeff was Brandon Lee's best friend, fight choreographer for the film, and fellow student in the martial arts (how he and Brandon first met). He plays Braeden - the one who says, "So you're saying we should just quit?".

# In one of the flashback scenes, we see T-Bird reading from a book - "Abashed the devil stood, and felt how awful goodness is." The book is Milton's Paradise Lost. (NOTE: the line after this sounds like it is also a quote from the book, but it is not) David Patrick Kelly, who played T-Bird was so into his character that he bought an antique copy of the book. It is this we see him holding in the scene.

# When Eric breaks in to Gideons Pawn, he quotes a phrase from Edgar Allen Poe's poem entitled 'The Raven'. ["Suddenly, I heard a tapping..."]

# The birds used in the film were not acually crows, they were ravens - five of them in all.

# At the end of the film, there is a dedication to Brandon and Eliza. Eliza (Lisa Hutton) was Brandon Lee's fiancé. They were to be married in Ensenada, Mexico on April 17th 1993 (It was less than 3 weeks till their wedding when Brandon died). It is exceedingly ironic that the theme of people being torn from one another extends out of the film into real life.

# In Brandon's last on-camera interview, he quotes from the novel The Sheltering Sky ("Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well..."). This quote was also used on Brandon and Eliza's wedding invitations.

Crow - horizontal line


This section goes behind the scenes to give some insight into the special effects and production techniques used in the making of The Crow.

   Virtually all movies involve many special effects, some simple, some incredibly complex. Many of these may not look like special effects, however - the computer technology used and the skill and imagination of the team of people working on the film make many effects seem incredibly real, when in fact they are not.
The Crow is no exception to this - especially as some scenes featuring Eric needed to be completed without Brandon Lee (see Accidents section).

   As the film was on a relatively low budget, many scenes had to be created the cheapest way possible, whilst still looking real. For example, the film made extensive use of miniatures, although this was not just because of cost considerations.

Scene Example:
   Let's take the scene at the end of the film, where Eric and Top Dollar are fighting on the cathederal roof. The cathederal is in fact a miniature, and was not as detailed as it looks - elements such as stained glass windows were added by computer. The roofs that were used are life-size models. The actors filmed the scene in front of a blue screen and the decor was added later. Even the rain is not real - it was created digitally - and even the clouds were corrected using computer graphics.

   The company responsible for many of these effects is Dream Quest Images. Dream Quest's credits include working with 'Industrial Light and Magic' and 'Boss Films' as well as on projects such as Bladerunner, Beetlejuice, Total Recall, Predator, The Abyss, The Blob... an impressive record. The Crow, however had one major difference - the budget. Dream Quest was used to a budget around $40,000 wheras their budget for The Crow was a mere $15,000. To students of contemporary film, even a budget of below a million dollars would be considered an 'indie' budget, let alone an amount of cash often won and lost on an online casino. To have utilised such a small budget to craft a film of such impressive notoriety in the field of comic adaptations is impressive in itself.

   The use of miniatures extends to many of the exterior shots of the city, such as the crow flying amoung the buildings and a certain car chase... Director Alex Proyas: "The use of miniatures grew out of a fairly practical consideration. I had this idea of being with the crow flying through the city at night way up in the air. The only way to do it was in miniature and matte the crow in to the scene. Out of these images really came the whole style of the film."

   The car chase sequence with T-Bird, Skank and the police is actually a mixture of live footage and miniature models, integrated to produce the final sequence. The scene with Eric being chased by the police (and the helicopter) is made in much the same way. The helicopter is actually a large toy. With the aid of optics and light development effects, Dream Quest was able to make all the elements join together seamlessly.

Life After Death Eric & crow at loft window

   Several scenes featuring Eric Draven, Brandon Lee left unfinished when he died. It was the job of Dream Quest Images to bring Brandon Lee 'back from the grave' to finish the film. Most of the scenes left to do were centered on the loft set (Eric & Shelley's apartment) and were mostly concerned with their life together. But also, Eric's post murder activities at the apartment, him putting on the whiteface makeup, burning the pictures of Shelley, and his meeting with Sarah still had to be filmed. Most of the footage could be done using a body double, although seven scenes required something more. Dream Quest Images' digital compositing unit broke new ground in helping to adapt footage of Brandon from other scenes.

Scene Examples:
   The footage of Eric entering the apartment is acually him walking through an alley, shivering in the cold and rain. The image of Brandon was given a new background and most of the rain digitally erased. Now, instead of stumbling through an alley, Eric is lurching into his apartment. Eric's reflection in the shattered mirror was another triumph by Dream Quest, using state of the art image mapping techniques.

   Such special effects shots are usually planned well in advance, and usually require there to be a steady, locked-off camera (often on a computer controlled rig) whose footage is used when compositing the special effects sequences. But the elements used on The Crow had been shot without any regard to special post-production optical work so no locked-off photography existed. Dream Quest had to make do with mostly hand held footage which has constant movement on all axes. It is thanks to the computer program Matador, which can stabalise an image by eliminating any movement - even by the camera, that such believable effects were possible.

Crow - horizontal line

[ The Crow (mainpage) ]
[ Sounds ] [ Images ] [ Accidents When Filming ] [ Changes/Goofs ] [ Trivia/Production ]
[ Soundtrack/Score ] [ Cast/Crew ] [ The Graphic Novel/James O'Barr ] [ Brandon Lee ]

Crow site designed and coded by Simon Bird - comments and suggestions always welcome.
© Copyright SJ Bird, 1996/97/98.