You could make the argument that there is not a more iconic '80s character than Al Pacino's Tony Montana, the cocaine-peddling (and sometimes, snorting) protagonist of Brian De Palma's legendarily over-the-top gangster epic Scarface. Poster-hanging college students and professional basketball players will certainly not give you much of a fight over that one. Pacino's performance as Montana is so crazily memorable that you could argue the character should never be attempted by another actor ever again.
Because we live in a time where movie studios are looking for any and every old property they can bring back, the prospects of Scarface returning to the screen always seemed good. Not only is a Scarface remake coming to movie theaters, we now know when it will hit the scene.
Universal Pictures has announced that their long-percolating remake of Scarface is set to be released on Friday, August 10th, 2018, a release date that was previously connected to an "Untitled Event Film". The script has been "polished" by the Oscar-winning Coen Brothers, who made their own previous foray into gangster territory with 1990's Miller's Crossing. Marc Shmuger (Lucy), Scott Stuber (Ted) and Dylan Clark (Planet of the Apes) are producing for Bluegrass Films and Global Produce, with 1983 Scarface producer Martin Bregman also onboard.
The central role of Tony Montana is being taken over by Rogue One star Diego Luna for the remake, and he will have a tall task measuring up to Al Pacino. Scarface of course originated in 1932 with Howard Hawks' version starring Paul Muni as the titular, Tommy-Gun-toting thug. Antoine Fuqua was previously set to direct the new Scarface but he recently departed the project. Besides the Coen Brothers, numerous writers have been attached to the movie over the years, including Suicide Squad's David Ayer and Wolf of Wall Street's Terence Winter. As usual with these things, it's hard to know how much work each writer actually put in on the finished script.
Having a script with the Coen Brothers' name on it should increase confidence that Scarface can carve out a place by itself alongside the 1932 and 1983 versions, both of which are considered classics. That confidence would increase even more if the Coens came onboard to direct, but there is no indication yet that they intend to do so. As hard as it will be for Luna to follow Pacino, it might be even more difficult for whoever takes on the task of directing the remake to live up to the work of filmmaker legends like Hawks and De Palma.
The 1983 Scarface was of course a very different film than the 1932 version. The violence in the '32 Scarface was over-the-top for its time, but De Palma's take on the story - transplanted from Chicago to Miami - raised the brutality to higher proportions. It seems unlikely that the remake will actually try to top De Palma's version for pure bloody mayhem, but with the Coens writing the script, you never know. It's not like the Coen Brothers are exactly shrinking violets when it comes to violence. There will be much more to report on this film as the months go on.
Source: Universal Pictures