Well, this is pretty cool: Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain, whose last film was the deeply brilliant (not to mention Academy Award-nominated) “No,” has been tasked with helming the upcoming big budget reboot of “Scarface” for Universal, according to The Wrap.
“Scarface” first began life as a Howard Hawks/Richard Rosson gangster film back in 1932. It told the story of a man named Tony who was an Italian immigrant in Chicago, who rose to power through the ranks of organized crime. The film was notable for its realistic depiction of violence (which caused a fair amount of controversy) and Paul Muni’s electric lead performance. When the movie was remade in the early ’80s by Brian De Palma and Oliver Stone, the setting was relocated to Reagan-era Miami and the lead character re-conceived as a charismatic, drug-smuggling Cuban.
Once again, the movie came under fire for what some considered its excessive violence and was widely praised for the lead performance (this time by Al Pacino). Since its 1983 release, De Palma’s “Scarface” has amassed a sizable cult audience, inspiring everything from gangster rappers to “Grand Theft Auto”-style video game spin-offs.
While Larrain is Chilean, this new version of the story will follow a Mexican immigrant’s rise to power in modern-day America. While this seems like it could used as a conservative call to arms for stauncher immigration laws, we’re fairly certain that the new movie’s script (by “Quiz Show” author Paul Attanasio) and the careful direction by Larrain, who successfully navigate those potential pitfalls.
Currently, the hunt is on to find the new film’s Tony. According to The Wrap’s report, this version will “be a more mythic origin story that explores where Tony’s physical and emotional wounds come from and how they shaped him as a man.” All right!
“Scarface” certainly doesn’t need another remake, especially with how well the themes of the ’80s version can translate to today’s me-me-me culture, but it seems to be a kind of timeless story, like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” able to be appropriated by any political climate or cultural landscape.
And with Larrain at the helm, it seems like it is in very, very good (chainsaw-wielding) hands.
Photo by AP Photo/HO/Courtesy Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Gallery | ’90s Remakes Hollywood Should Consider
Why remake it?: After ‘Red Dawn’ and the planned remakes of ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘Point Break,’ Hollywood needs another Patrick Swayze movie to do-over (and ‘Road House’ should remain forever untouchable). Blasphemy about remaking ‘Ghost’ aside — and it has already been remade in Japan, while a Broadway version is due in the future — it’s not ‘Citizen Kane.’ The original was able to capture the zeitgeist thanks to a sweeping romance between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, comic relief from Whoopi Goldberg and “Unchained Melody.” How could a remake capture that again? With Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams (never forget!), Goldberg (again), and “Unchained Melody.” Or “We Found Love” by Rihanna. Gotta stay hip.
Why remake it?: The cult hit combines aspects of ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Twilight,’ but with witches instead of vampires — and why can’t witches be the new vampires? They can! Cast this with Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift and Kristen Stewart, and you’ve just earned $ 170 million on opening weekend. Taylor Lautner can co-star with Skeet Ulrich making a cameo (for nostalgia buffs). Ask your parents if you’re not familiar with Skeet’s work.
Why remake it?: Because of all the ’80s and ’90s box-office smashes, doesn’t it seem time for someone to remember that ‘The Fugitive’ earned $ 368 million worldwide and was adapted from an old television series? This thing screams remake remake! The twist for 2011: turning Richard Kimble into Rachel Kimble, casting Angelina Jolie, and hiring Denzel Washington to chase her around the Midwest.
Why remake it?: Judging from the success of ‘The Lion King 3D,’ families are starved for something to excite them at the local multiplex — to the point where they paid money to see a film they probably already own on VHS, DVD and, now, Blu-ray. Enter ‘Home Alone’: the original was a box-office juggernaut, and there’s really no reason it can’t be modernized for today’s audiences. Jaden Smith would star opposite John Travolta and Rainn Wilson, with Will Smith making an “uncredited” cameo that gets promoted in the trailers and on the movie poster. Shawn Levy directs.
Why remake it?: Pop quiz, hot shot: when was the last time Hollywood produced a successful action movie that didn’t have superheros, robots or Vin Diesel? It wasn’t ‘Speed,’ but there are times when it feels that way. WIth ‘Die Hard’ hitting its fifth lap — and showing major signs of age; hey, John McClane Jr.? — this is the perfect time to bring back what was basically pitched as ‘Die Hard’ on a bus. Ryan Reynolds can star — he can’t be a box-office pariah forever — with Mila Kunis as the manic pixie dream girl-turned-badass bus driver and Michael Shannon as the villain. If Jan De Bont isn’t busy, maybe he can direct.
‘Ace Venture: Pet Detective’
Why remake it?: Assuming audiences will eventually grow bored of the broad mainstream comedy — Adam Sandler’s ‘Jack & Jill’ is basically a movie from ‘Funny People’ — it might be wise to remake the ones that worked previously. Let’s start with ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,’ which can star Donald Glover as the titular private eye, Kat Dennings as the girl he loves and Peyton Manning as himself. (Eli Manning can fill in if Peyton’s neck is still bothering him.)
‘Natural Born Killers’
Why remake it?: With how cable news has evolved in the last decade — or devolved, depending on your position — it seems time for some maverick to look at media in this age of Nancy Grace, Casey Anthony and Amanda Knox. Original director Oliver Stone is still a maverick in these parts, and since he showed no qualms about going back to the well for ‘Wall Street: Puts You to Sleep Money Never Sleeps,’ he’s the choice to direct.
‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’
Why remake it?: Because as ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘The Hangover Part II’ proved again this summer, moviegoers love a good wedding comedy! ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ is the kind of big, giant Julia Roberts-y romcom that doesn’t necessarily get made anymore. Let’s change that! Recast with Reese Witherspoon and Emma Stone, make some nondescript actor like Josh Duhamel the guy they’re fighting over, and start sizing up bigger mansions. (Translation: box-office bank.)
Why remake it?: As Martin Scorsese showed with the 1991 version, the original ‘Cape Fear’ (released in 1962) is perfect for reinterpretation. How to make a new version work? Choosing Nicolas Winding Refn as director would be a good start, with Tom Hardy in the role of Max Cady, and — twist! — Steve Carell as the not-so-squeaky-clean lawyer pushed to extremes. (Hey, it worked for Albert Brooks in ‘Drive.’) Just don’t replace the Bernard Herrmann score.
Why remake it?: Not all comic-book characters deserve their own movie (see ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Cowboys & Aliens’), so returning to past successes is the way to go. Sony is already doing that with Spider-man, so let’s do the same with ‘Dick Tracy.’ Warren Beatty talked over the summer about doing a sequel, but come on: this has George Clooney written all over it with Paul Giamatti Big Boy Caprice and Lady Gaga as Breathless Mahoney. You laugh, until you realize it sounds totally believable.
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