You can pretty much feel the change in thinking over at Universal with this bit of news. After spending the last year or so cancelling a plethora of potentially risky projects (“At the Mountains of Madness,” “Memphis,” “In the Heights,” “The Dark Tower,” “Clue,” “Ouija,” “Wicked Lovely”) and currently smarting from some less than stellar box office returns for films like “Your Highness,” “The Change-Up” and “Cowboys & Aliens” this year, it seems the studio is sticking with brands that they know. And one of their biggest catalog titles is “Scarface,” and since there are only so many times you can reissue that thing on DVD and BluRay (the most recent upgrade just came out a couple of weeks ago) they are just gonna go ahead and make a new movie.
Now don’t be worried, this isn’t a remake of either the 1932 version or Brian De Palma‘s 1983 film (or a sequel) but as Deadline reports, “it will take the common elements of the first two films” in a new project. So yes, it will be another story of a little guy (presumably both literally and figuratively) who tosses out his moral code to rise the top of the criminal underworld in order to achieve the American Dream. There’s no word yet on whether the gangster will be Italian like Paul Muni‘s incarnation or Cuban like Al Pacino‘s famous take on the character. How about a Canadian, eh? (Kidding.)
De Palma’s version has been a huge influence on the hip-hop world so we wonder if Universal will try and go down some kind of urban route, or if they will toss it an acclaimed auteur to bring some prestige to the franchise or maybe fall somewhere in the middle. Last summer, Oliver Stone, who wrote De Palma’s movie, joked about writing “Son of Scarface,” but that actually wouldn’t be a horrible idea. Ordinarily, this is where we bemoan remakes, but if the studio can bring a fresh, contemporary take on the story, why not? As long as they aren’t getting someone to redo Tony Montana, that’s fine. This still seems to be early days, but it looks like Universal’s newest project is a little friend they’ve had all along.