Having been a part of pop-culture consciousness since its release, Brian De Palma’s 1983 remake Scarface took on a life of its own as a blueprint for the gangsters and wanna-be gangsters for the last (nearly) thirty years. Which may have been the case with Howard Hawks’s Scarface, which was made in 1932, and cast the main character as an Al Capone-ish thug who rose in the ranks due to his use of excessive violence. That cultural legacy is enough to warrant a new take on the material, so Universal is looking for writers of a new Scarface – according to Deadline Hollywood.
It’s hard to be angered by a remake of a remake, and perhaps every generation deserves its own story of the rise and fall of a powerful gangster. But in a culture of remakes and reboots it’s also hard not to be cynical about a film that’s existence is due mostly to seeing an exploitable brand name.
Universal is suggesting it’s a name-only thing, and that means that it might not be the worst thing in the history of the world. Perhaps there is a story to tell of the rise of the modern crime thug – though between The Sopranos and The Wire, it’s going to take some effort to find a new way into the material. And culturally there aren’t the infamous crime figures of yore – the mob is still in business, but it’s been a long time since a real name player has emerged. With this announcement, it’s likely anyone who’s directed a rap video will offer their calling cards.
New Scarface, Yay or Nay?