Since its release in 1983, Brian De Palma’s Scarface has evolved into much more than a movie. It has become a way of life. A mantra for the young who to aspire to any kind of American dream. A common, pop culture lightning rod for conversations about sex, violence and machismo. What many of the film’s fans don’t realize, though, is De Palma’s film is actually a remake of a 1932 film co-directed by Howard Hawkes. Both films follow a motivated immigrant on his way up in the world of drugs and organized crime and that through line is going to be the basis of yet another Scarface set in modern day. Originally announced in September, this new Scarface just gained a writer, David Ayer. He not only wrote Training Day but also directed Street Kings and Harsh Times. Read about his take on the material and more after the break.

Deadline broke the news of Ayer’s hire and even spoke to him about the project:

This is a fantasy for me, I can still remember when I saw the film at 13 and it blew my mind. I sought it out; I went after it hard. I see it as the story of the American dream, with a character whose moral compass points in a different direction. That puts it right in my wheelhouse. I studied both the original Ben Hecht-Howard Hawks movie and the DePalma-Pacino version and found some universal themes. I’m still under the hood figuring out the wiring that will translate, but both films had a specificity of place, there was unapologetic violence, and a main character who socially scared the shit out of people, but who had his own moral code. Each was faithful to the underworld of its time. There are enough opportunities in the real world today that provide an opportunity to do this right. If it was just an attempt to remake the 1983 film, that would never work.

The fact that it’s not a straight remake of De Palma’s film is certainly good news. Plus the story of an immigrant working his way up in the United States is a pretty universal one. Combine those two things, slap the Scarface name on it and it’ll be hard for this film not to garner an audience. What will be most interesting is if Ayer’s screenplay attracts a massive director or someone with a little more to prove.

Do you think there’s room for a new Scarface? What do you think of Ayer’s movies?

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