Hollywood has been trying to say hello to a Scarface remake for a few years now, and it recently found an interesting, if surprising, new director in the form of Luca Guadagnino. Working with a script by the Coen Brothers, the Call Me By Your Name filmmaker is tackling the remake of the 1983 Brian De Palma movie starring Al Pacino, itself a remake of a film from 1932. While the ’32 Scarface was set in the 1920s, and the ’83 Scarface took place in 1980, Guadagnino says his Scarface is going to be “very timely.”
Since at least 2011, Universal has been hoping to remake Scarface, the Brian De Palma crime epic that starred Al Pacino as a Cuban immigrant who comes to America and sets up an empire built on cocaine. First, David Ayer was working on the script, with Harry Potter series director David Yates in talks to helm. The project then passed from Yats to filmmaker Pablo Larraín before eventually ending up in the hands of Antoine Fuqua. Fuqua was planning to direct a script from Wolf of Wall Street director Terence Winter, with Diego Luna set to star in the lead. As time ticked on, the Coen Brothers were brought in to work on the script as well. This version of the project got very close to becoming a reality, with a planned shooting start of October 2018.
However, that never happened. And by 2020, both Fuqua and Luna had parted ways with the material. At that point, Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria director Luca Guadagnino was brought in to direct, with the Coen Brothers script still in place. Now, Guadagnino is opening up a bit about what we can expect from his Scarface. Speaking with Variety, the filmmaker said:
“The first Scarface from Howard Hawkes was all about the prohibition era. Fifty years later, Oliver Stone and Brian De Palma make their version, which is so different from the Hawkes film. Both can stand on the shelf as two wonderful pieces of sculpture. Hopefully ours, forty-plus years later, will be another worthy reflection on a character who is a paradigm for our own compulsions for excess and ambition. I think my version will be very timely.”
Guadagnino added: “People claim that I do only remakes, but the truth of the matter is cinema has been remaking itself throughout its existence. It’s not because it’s a lazy way of not being able to find original stories. It’s always about looking at what certain stories say about our times.”
I’m not entirely sure what Guadagnino’s “timely” Scarface will entail. Is it going to focus more on the immigration angle? Instead of cocaine, will the new Scarface be dealing more with opioids? Or maybe this Scarface will be a loud, angry, stupid, rich white guy who has everything handed to him his entire life and then somehow becomes President of the United States. That’s pretty timely. I will say that while I’m not exactly champing at the bit for a new Scarface, I do enjoy Guadagnino’s work. I was particularly impressed with his fresh new take on Suspiria. If he can bring that same freshness to Scarface, we might be in for something special.
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