Many film buffs typically turn their noses up at the idea of remaking classic movies, but there are more than a few exceptions to that rule. One of the most prominent is surely Scarface, a 1930s classic of the gangster genre that was remade in 1983. The latter Scarface is a popular, iconic film in its own right and one of the most enduring movie for either its director Brian DePalma or star Al Pacino.
There have been reports of a second Scarface remake being in development for years now, under the watch of Universal Pictures. At one point, Harry Potter and The Legend of Tarzan director David Yates was in talks to helm the new Scarface; when that version of the project well by the wayside, Pablo Larraín (No) was recruited to direct the film instead. Now it appears that yet another director is boarding the project, instead.
Deadline that Antoine Fuqua – the director of such films as Training Day, Shooter and The Equalizer – is now circling the new Scarface. No details as to the current state of the new project are otherwise known, save that it intends to be a “re-imagining” of the central premise of the previous Scarface movies: a rags-to-riches story of a poor immigrant who starts off as a low-level criminal in the U.S. but, through ruthless ambition, becomes a powerful underworld figure thereafter.
The new version of Scarface will take place primarily in modern-day Los Angeles, as opposed to the Miami setting of the 1983 film or New York in the 1932 version. The most recent draft of the screenplay was written by Johnathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton), though Fuqua’s Training Day screenwriter (and Suicide Squad writer/director) David Ayer reportedly wrote an earlier draft of the script.
The 1932 Paul Muni-starring Scarface was one of the biggest hits of the early gangster genre and a major milestone for director Howard Hawks. Controversial (and occasionally banned) even in its day for its violent imagery and centering of a psychotic gangster (a composite of several real-life figures) as its main character, the film set a template for much of the genre that followed. The 1983 film was equally controversial for its extreme violence, glamorization of cocaine use and the casting of Italian-American Al Pacino as Cuban immigrant Tony Montana. However, De Palma’s film has subsequently become regarded as a classic of the genre in its own right.
The Pacino version has also become a rallying point for various segments of the popular culture, particularly for many in the hip-hop music community, for its unique understanding of the aspirational appeal of Tony Montana’s dark something-from-nothing story arc. This, for many, painted an uncomfortable but honest portrait of the mindset of those drawn to crime in order to escape from impoverished or marginalized backgrounds. It’s unknown what background the “new” Scarface will have, though it’s been reported before that he will be an immigrant of Latino heritage.
Fuqua himself is no stranger to such stories about men who use violent means to achieve their goals, as evidenced by the majority of his directorial efforts to date. If he takes on Scarface, it would be his next film after last year’s gritty boxing drama Southpaw and his upcoming remake of the classic western, The Magnificent Seven, starring his Training Day and Equalizer lead, Denzel Washington, among others.
We’ll bring you more information on the new Scarface as it becomes available.