Often times, when a remake is announced nowadays, the project is sold using such phrases as “new take” and “updated version” – regardless of how applicable (or not) the description may be (for example: can a Butterfly Effect reboot truly feel like a proper “update,” when the original movie came out just nine years ago?). However, in the case of Scarface, the prospect of a contemporary rendition of the familiar story is actually meaningful – seeing how the previous versions examined criminal cultures that were relevant at the time of their release (see: American bootlegging in the 1932 film by director Howard Hawks vs. Cuban drug smuggling in the 1983 movie by Brian De Palma).
The 21st Century version of Scarface will (according to early reports) address the timely subject of Mexican drug cartels, as presented through the traditional Scarface narrative framework: an ambitious crook ascends to power in a criminal underworld, before their greed – which initially drove them to success – threatens to bring about their downfall.
Deadline is reporting that Universal has recruited multiple screenwriters to put together different script drafts for the new Scarface, including the previously-announced candidates David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch) and Paul Attanasio (Donnie Brasco, The Sum of All Fears). Universal is described as being “very high” on the latest draft – penned by a screenwriter whose name is currently being kept under-wraps – and has therefore begun to get serious about hiring on a director, in order to get the project moving forward. As such, the studio is said to be in final talks with David Yates, who is best known for helming the last four installments in the Harry Potter movie franchise.
Yates worked on the award-winning British political drama/thriller TV mini-series State of Play – the basis for the 2009 American film starring Russell Crowe – and the HBO TV drama The Girl in the Cafe, before he gained larger fame (and critical accolades) for churning out the last four Harry Potter installments – arguably, both the darkest and most personal installments in the series. He has since been linked to multiple developing Warner Bros. projects, ranging from the Al Capone drama Cicero to the gestating Fables comic book adaptation – as well as a film version of Stephen King’s The Stand (which Ben Affleck is now working on instead) – and, most recently, a new live-action Tarzan movie.
WB put Tarzan on ice earlier this year, leaving the film on indefinite hold for the time being – meaning, Yates should be available to begin work on Scarface right away. The director found a way to make his own distinctive voice heard, even amidst the effects and big-budget spectacle of the Harry Potter franchise – which is to say, he seems like a promising choice to make a Scarface movie that stands apart from its predecessors (both in terms of the real-world crime subject matter and artistic style).
Do you like the prospect of Yates directing Scarface 3.0? Are you hopeful that the project will feel more like a semi-original crime tale – where the “Scarface” title is mostly just used as a selling point?
Scarface does not have an official release date yet. Keep you eyes peeled on the Screen Rant homepage for additional updates over the forthcoming months.