Well, this is pretty cool: Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain, whose last film was the deeply brilliant (not to mention Academy Award-nominated) "No," has been tasked with helming the upcoming big budget reboot of "Scarface" for Universal, according to The Wrap.
"Scarface" first began life as a Howard Hawks/Richard Rosson gangster film back in 1932. It told the story of a man named Tony who was an Italian immigrant in Chicago, who rose to power through the ranks of organized crime. The film was notable for its realistic depiction of violence (which caused a fair amount of controversy) and Paul Muni's electric lead performance. When the movie was remade in the early '80s by Brian De Palma and Oliver Stone, the setting was relocated to Reagan-era Miami and the lead character re-conceived as a charismatic, drug-smuggling Cuban.
Once again, the movie came under fire for what some considered its excessive violence and was widely praised for the lead performance (this time by Al Pacino). Since its 1983 release, De Palma's "Scarface" has amassed a sizable cult audience, inspiring everything from gangster rappers to "Grand Theft Auto"-style video game spin-offs.
While Larrain is Chilean, this new version of the story will follow a Mexican immigrant's rise to power in modern-day America. While this seems like it could used as a conservative call to arms for stauncher immigration laws, we're fairly certain that the new movie's script (by "Quiz Show" author Paul Attanasio) and the careful direction by Larrain, who successfully navigate those potential pitfalls.
Currently, the hunt is on to find the new film's Tony. According to The Wrap's report, this version will "be a more mythic origin story that explores where Tony's physical and emotional wounds come from and how they shaped him as a man." All right!
"Scarface" certainly doesn't need another remake, especially with how well the themes of the '80s version can translate to today's me-me-me culture, but it seems to be a kind of timeless story, like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," able to be appropriated by any political climate or cultural landscape.
And with Larrain at the helm, it seems like it is in very, very good (chainsaw-wielding) hands.
Photo by AP Photo/HO/Courtesy Universal Studios Home Entertainment