Big names such as screenwriter/director David Ayer (Fury, Suicide Squad) and director David Yates (Harry Potter) has either worked on and/or been attached at some point to Universal’s Scarface remake throughout the past few years. Jump to the present and the project is in the hands of unknown filmmakers, as far as your average person will be concerned – something that makes it difficult to gauge how this particular remake will turn out.
Scarface (1932) stars Paul Muni as a Prohibition-era criminal who ascends the ladder of success in Chicago’s bootlegging underworld. The Al Pacino-headlined 1983 remake (the version most people are familiar with) retains the same narrative setup – a small-time crook rises to prominence – only it changed the surface details. As such, the 1983 film takes place in 1980s Miami and examines what (at the time of its release) was the more timely/relevant subject of Cuban drug smuggling.
THR reports the 21st century Scarface is going to chronicle the rise to infamy of an immigrant, making his way through the criminal underworld of present-day Los Angeles. That premise is being carried over from previous script drafts for the project, including Ayer’s. However, the screenplay is now getting a fresh revision, courtesy of scribe Jonathan Herman: a relative newcomer whose script draft for the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton (opening in theaters this year) was the one that earned a green-light from Universal.
Previous versions of Scarface (as was detailed before) tapped into the concerns about organized crime around the time of their release. Rumor has it this new film will follow suit; examining not just general U.S. inner-city crime, but the Mexican/U.S. drug trade. Herman has already impressed Universal studio heads with his past work (on material that also covers sensitive sociopolitical issues), so it makes sense for the studio to seek out his assistance in getting the new Scarface moving down the pipeline at a faster pace.
Brian de Palma’s 1983 Scarface has become a pop culture fixture over the past 32 years. Hence, the mere mention that a remake is making its way down the assembly line has provoked (and will probably continue to provoke) negative reactions. At the same time, the core of the Scarface property – a cautionary tale of crime and power – has never ceased to be meaningful. So, in the grand scheme of remakes, a modern-ized Scarface arguably makes more sense than so many other reboots/re-imaginings we’ve seen or heard about of late.
Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín (No) was attached to direct the new Scarface back in March 2014, but there’s been no real progress on the project to report since then. Nonetheless, the latest update from THR claims that Larraín is still onboard to serve as helmsman on the project. Meanwhile, the search for a star is apparently ongoing; once the latest script revision has been completed, though, casting a headliner should be the next big step.
We’ll bring you more information on the latest Scarface remake when we have it.