It’s being reported that Universal is developing an update of the iconic title “Scarface”. The original version was directed by Howard Hawks in 1932, followed by a Brian De Palma-directed interpretation in 1983 that starred Al Pacino as Miami drug lord Tony Montana. The studio is already meeting with writers to script the film, which is being produced by Marc Shmuger and Martin Bregman, the latter of whom also produced the De Palma version.
The project is not being viewed as a remake (seemingly a “dirty word” in Hollywood these days) or a sequel, according to Deadline, which broke the story. Rather, it will take only the most basic elements from the last two versions, focusing on an ambitious immigrant who enters the U.S. and subsequently rises through the ranks of the criminal underworld. That was also the approach taken in 1983, when the setting was moved from Chicago to Miami and the main character was changed from an Italian to a Cuban immigrant.
The original “Scarface” starred Paul Muni as gangster Tony Camonte and focused on a turf war between Irish and Italian gangsters in Prohibition-era Chicago. It was co-directed by Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson and based on the 1929 Armitage Trail (nee Maurice Coons) novel of the same name, which functioned as a thinly-veiled portrait of Al Capone.
The 1932 film served as the basis for the gory 1983 remake, which De Palma directed from a script by Oliver Stone. The film did well on initial release but really caught fire on home video, particularly within the hip-hop community. It was just released on Blu-ray earlier this month.
I think it’d be great to hire a director for this version who boasts a distinctive visual style, a la De Palma. What do you think? Also, any casting ideas for the main character?