Martin Scorsese Knew Scarface Would Never Fly With Film Critics

Some of the greatest artists almost seem like they can foretell the future, and renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese has bordered on prophetic more than once. The "Taxi Driver" director has predicted the stardom of several huge names in show business, including household names like Laura Dern (via Indiewire). Actor Steven Bauer, known for his performance in Brian De Palma's "Scarface," recently revealed yet another of Scorsese's prescient forecasts in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Bauer says that the two shared an unforgettable conversation at the premiere of "Scarface," in which the Hollywood legend displayed just how insightful he can be. Scorsese anticipated that critics would give the film poor reviews because it would hit too close to home — sure enough, he was right. Hollywood in the '80s had an atmosphere of indulgence that wasn't compatible with the movie's hard-hitting critiques of drugs and capitalism. Scorsese's forewarning would help Bauer face the movie's initially negative reviews which, in his words, "really hurt."

Hollywood was afraid of Scarface

Bauer says that Scorsese first approached him to compliment his performance, an accolade that makes sense given Scorsese's noted interest in John Wayne and other hard-boiled men in cinema. Scorsese apparently followed his praise with a word of caution. Bauer recalls him saying, "They are going to hate this movie in Hollywood ... because it's about them." Many big Hollywood executives at the time closely resembled Tony Montana, or so it seemed to Bauer. The "Breaking Bad" and "Ray Donovan" actor suggests that many of the higher-ups in show business had a hunger for profit that went hand-in-hand with the kind of excess and drug abuse depicted in De Palma's film, and they didn't like what they saw.

Scorsese's films have made an impact on many major players in Hollywood, and his words of wisdom have influenced artists and audiences alike. As someone from Cuba himself, Bauer has a close personal connection to "Scarface," so its cold reception from critics was crushing. Scorsese's insight helped the actor to see past the critical response and trust his love of the film, which would later become a staple of American cinema.

Bauer says that "Scarface" still excites him with every rewatch due to the "compelling nature" of its anti-hero. "You can hate him," he told The Hollywood Reporter, "but you can't stop watching it." Bauer is certainly not alone in these feelings, which suggests iwhy Hollywood executives were so resistant to "Scarface" at first. The film provides an engaging, memorable critique of the American dream taken to a horrifying extreme.