As some know, hip-hop icons Eminem and the late DMX almost played side-by-side in a Brandon Lee sequel. The crow. Many obstacles prevented the gritty sequel from being made, including the feelings of the film’s own DMX lead.
Why DMX Was Cast In ‘The Crow: Lazarus’
the original Raven was a 1994 dark supernatural thriller starring Bruce Lee’s son, the late Brandon Lee. In the cult classic, Lee played a musician who was brutally murdered along with his fiancée by a ruthless street gang. He is then brought back to life by supernatural forces in an attempt to get revenge on this gang of criminals.
The film was successful enough to spawn sequels that attempted to capitalize on its success. After the first three Raven movies, however, others thought it would have been wise to reinvent the franchise before its subject matter became stale. To do this, the studio behind the films decided to make a fourth Raven film based on the hip-hop industry. James Gibson, who was tapped to write the sequel they called Lazarus, already had DMX in mind to direct the film. As an avid hip-hop fan himself, Gibson thought DMX was just what he needed as his next Crow.
“He starts playing, he has this incredible intensity, and he has songs where he talks to God and talks about being ready to die. There’s a spiritual side to his stuff,” Gibson told Bloody Disgusting. What sold was I brought a copy of his second album, which had just been released and was like platinum. Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, where he stands naked in a bathtub covered in blood. I’m like, ‘It’s the crow, isn’t it? Look, it’s your crow.'”
DMX pulled out of ‘The Crow’ sequel because Eminem would be involved
After DMX was on board, Eminem was considered to perform opposite the “Party Up” singer. According to Gibson, DMX being part of Lazarus played a significant role in Eminem’s decision to do the film. So Gibson wanted to cast Eminem as Stone, DMX’s friend-turned-nemesis, who would be another Crow.
“[Eminem] said if DMX was going to be in the movie, he wanted to be in the movie. So we decided, ‘Okay, yeah. Let’s make him play Stone,” Gibson said.
However, in an interview with MTV News, DMX shared mixed feelings about Eminem in the film. At the time, DMX was focused on building a respectable acting career, especially since it paid him more than the music industry.
“I can sell 5 million albums and only get half a million dollars. A movie, I have about 8 million dollars. It’s less of a headache and they treat you with respect in the film industry,” DMX said.
Since Lazarus was under development before 8 miles, Eminem had yet to prove himself a capable actor. This was one of two reasons DMX was reluctant to perform alongside Eminem. The rapper didn’t want to risk tarnishing his growing filmography.
“You know what it was? They wanted to do it where there are two crows,” DMX explained. “They wanted Eminen to be the other Crow. I’m like, ‘Come on, man. You’re not getting rid of this guy. [Let Em] get his own movie first. It’s bad enough that I’m a rapper to become an actor – you gonna make it worse? It was his first joint. Don’t do this to me. So, [what if we find out] he can’t play and I’m all fucked up some B s*** movies?
Eminem and DMX’s ‘Lazarus’ Director Says the Movie Would’ve Been Terrible
As Gibson was set to write the sequel, Joseph Kahn was approached to direct the film. Kahn has had a career directing music videos for many music industry superstars. He was used to working with Eminem and DMX before, having filmed a few of their clips as well.
Kahn once revealed he persuaded Eminem to sign The Raven sequel he was chosen to direct. But looking back, he wondered if the film was a good idea.
“I had actually convinced Eminem to be in – I was going to do a DMX against Eminem Raven movie where DMX was going to be the black crow and Eminem was going to be the white crow,” he confirmed in a 2017 interview with the LA Times. “It would have been a terrible movie because I would have made it funny, and Raven movies aren’t supposed to be funny.
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