Equalizer 2 director Antoine Fuqua is trying to convince Denzel Washington to step into Al Pacino’s shoes for his planned Scarface remake. Universal’s update of Scarface has been on the table for years, with multiple directors and writers coming and going as the film has languished in development hell. Fuqua himself has left the project once only to later return, and is currently attached as director with Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer onboard as writer.
Released in 1983, Pacino’s Scarface was itself a remake of a 1932 film starring Paul Muni as a Chicago gangster roughly patterned after Al Capone. The 1983 version, written by Oliver Stone and directed by Brian De Palma, changed the setting to Miami and - controversially - cast Pacino as a Cuban-American gangster who rises to become a cocaine kingpin. Noted for its wildly over-the-top violence, De Palma’s Scarface has become a cult classic and Pacino’s character an icon.
Many actors have been mentioned as possible candidates to take over the title role in Universal's long-gestating remake of Scarface. Director Antoine Fuqua, who as previously mentioned is currently attached to the project, has one person in mind for that role but unfortunately this person is reluctant to do it. Speaking to THR, Fuqua said he’s tried to convince his frequent collaborator Denzel Washington to become the new Scarface but the actor is not thrilled about the idea. Fuqua said:
My dream is for him to be Scarface. He laughs sometimes and he kind of goes, “[Al] Pacino did a great job! I don’t want to do that.” I’m nudging him. I’m trying to nudge him into doing it.
Diego Luna was previously reported as the Scarface lead, but given Fuqua's remarks, it seems Luna has not in fact been cast in the part and it's still open. Fuqua and Washington of course first worked together on 2001’s Training Day, a film that garnered Washington his second career Oscar win. The pair reunited in 2014 for The Equalizer, a movie version of the 1980s TV show starring Edward Woodward. In 2016, Fuqua and Washington teamed up for the Western remake The Magnificent Seven, and this year they’re back together again for The Equalizer 2, Washington’s first career sequel. Equalizer 2 got off to a strong start at the box office, beating out Mamma Mia 2 to claim the #1 spot in its opening weekend.
Given their very successful history together, it seems like an obvious idea for Fuqua and Washington to reunite again for Scarface. Washington’s presence would also lend the movie instant legitimacy both at the box office and during awards season. However, it’s easy to understand why Washington would be hesitant to take on the role after Pacino already gave an iconic performance in the 1983 version. Sure, Fuqua’s take on the story would naturally be much different and Washington would undoubtedly have a chance to re-interpret the character in his own way. But even so, Pacino’s shadow looms large and stepping into that shadow might not be a challenge Washington feels like taking on at this point in his career.
- Scarface (2018) release date: