Director David Ayer is departing Universal’s upcoming Scarface reboot. While Universal looks for yet another helmer to take on their iteration of the classic gangster movie, Ayer will continue to develop the spinoff of last year’s DC bad guy team up film, Suicide Squad.

The violent, sensational story of the rise and fall of a gangster, Scarface has been produced as a movie a couple times before, most memorably in director Brian De Palma’s 1983 iteration starring Pacino at the height of his powers. The current reboot has had a tough development process, as Ayer is not the first director to depart the project. Equalizer and Training Day director Antoine Fuqua dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, and other directors have been unsuccessfully courted, like Hell or High Water’s David MacKenzie and Friday Night Lights’ Peter Berg.

Ayer seemed like a natural fit to portray a modern iteration of the violent excesses of a gangster, but it was not to be. Per a report from THR, the studio found Ayer’s take on the story to be too dark, and the two parties decided to move on. Conversely, Variety says it was just a matter of scheduling and the split was largely amicable. Diego Luna is still attached to star, but the film’s development would seem to be stuck in neutral yet again.

Ayer has plenty on his plate aside from Scarface. The End of Watch director is currently in post-production on Bright, a fantasy film – featuring his Suicide Squad star Will Smith – set in a world where humans and mythical creatures live alongside each other. Bright will be distributed exclusively by Netflix in December.

David Ayer and Margot Robbie Suicide Squad David Ayer Passes on Scarface; Still Attached to Gotham City Sirens

Ayer is also not done with the world of DC superheroes. While he’s not returning to direct the Suicide Squad sequel (the latest speculation says The Shallows director Jaume Collet-Serra is the favorite for that gig), Ayer is working on a spinoff, tentatively titled Gotham City Sirens. Not much is known about that project, other than it will showcase some of DC’s female characters, and will prominently feature Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, who was the breakout star of Suicide Squad. It’s possible Ayer could be taking cues from the recent comic of the same name, which featured Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy.

Ayer, who made his name as a screenwriter, had a shockingly small window of time in which to develop Suicide Squad’s critically-derided storyline. Hopefully Warner Bros. is giving him time to craft a story worthy of some of DC’s cinematically underserved heroines with his spinoff. As for Scarface: the search for a director is (yet again) underway.

NEXT: David Ayer’s Bright Gets a Trailer

Source: THR, Variety

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