In news sure to upset every gangster rap artist in the world, Deadline is reporting that Universal is hard at work on a new version of Scarface.
This updated take on Scarface (which will be the third film with the title, coming after Howard Hawks/Richard Rosson 1932 version and the ever-popular 1983 Al Pacino vehicle) will not be a remake or a sequel, but will instead attempt to tell a new story using the recurring themes from the two earlier versions. An immigrant outsider will come to America and become a crime lord through his use of violence (probably) before dying as a result of the life he’s chosen. It worked in both previous versions, so there’s no reason why it can’t work again, right?
Universal is keeping the important details (like where the new main character will come from and what criminal activity he’ll take part in during his rise to power) under wraps for the time being. The original film featured an Italian main character, while the ’83 version featured Pacino playing Cuban refugee Tony Montana – a man who takes over the Miami cocaine trade before inviting everyone to “say hello to his little friend.”
De Palma’s version has achieved a strange kind of immortality thanks to hip hop culture’s embrace of the film and Pacino’s character. It felt like every rapper and sports star featured on MTV’s Cribs had a copy of the film handy – and many lines of Pacino’s dialogue have become pop culture touchstones. As Deadline points out, the De Palma version was also met with disdain when it was announced since many film fans felt that the 1932 version was a bona fide classic (and it is…).
We suspect news of a new Scarface will inspire similar reactions from fans of De Palma’s film, particularly since the current climate in Hollywood is one in favor of the safe and predictable over the original and daring. Only time will tell if the idea of reimagining Scarface is a good idea or not, but in the meantime, feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on the topic below.