Whoever said “crime doesn’t pay” has obviously never spent time in a Hollywood board room. From heist flicks to mob epics, criminals have provided fodder for studio executives dating back to the days of silent film, and that hasn’t changed one bit in the new millennium.
Case in point, a new report reveals that Universal is planning to remake Scarface, a film that’s already been made twice before — first in 1932 and again in 1983.
Each [of the previous films] were crime sagas telling the rise and fall of a gangster, and each was a mirror of their time. The 1932 version was set in Chicago and featured bootlegging, Italians and Irish mobsters. The 1983 version was set in Latin-loving Miami and cocaine was the vice of choice.
The new Scarface is planned to be the same: a crime tale set in today’s world, offering a dark look at the American Dream.
Despite being a modern take on the story, the new movie will have some familiar producers including Martin Bregman, who produced the 1983 Brian DePalma film, and Marc Shmuger, former head of Universal.
The reason that the 1983 Scarface has been popular for so long, besides the fact that the film and its over-the-top lead character have become important cultural touchstones for the hip-hop community, is that it tells a fairly basic story. As the THR article stated, Scarface is about the dark side of the American Dream and that narrative still resonates today.
Very few people will tell you that they’re not interested in becoming rich and successful, particularly in America where “rags to riches” stories are a vital part of our collective culture. The question is, what are you willing to do to get there? Would you break the rules? Would you steal? Or cheat? Or kill?
Hopefully, the answer is no, but there are always people out there who will say yes, and that deviation from the norm is what makes them compelling characters on the big screen. Tony Montana is a terrible role model, but he’s one of the most famous movie characters of all time. People will probably complain about Hollywood’s lack of creativity in redoing Scarface yet again, but if Universal has the potential to give the world another character like that, can you blame them for trying?
What do you think of a new Scarface film for a new generation of Americans?