Gangster classic Scarface is getting a reboot over at Universal, and audiences are today one step closer to again saying hello to Tony Montana’s little friend now that the studio has tapped Straight Outta Compton screenwriter Jonathan Herman to script.
Herman will be working from previous drafts by Paul Attanasio and Suicide Squad director David Ayer, both of whom approached the remake as a fresh, new take on the immigrant-centric story. Though the 1983 pic, also from Universal, focused on Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who ended up in 1980s Miami with nothing but fought his way to the top of a drug empire, the new Scarface has been moved to Los Angeles in hopes of setting the film apart. Once again, though, the remake will tell the story of an immigrant who became a criminal kingpin.
Universal has been relying on Herman heavily of late. In addition to writing the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, the scribe has been tasked with working on supernatural adventure The Demonologist and a remake of Alfred Hitchcock classic The Birds.
Pablo Larraín (No) has been signed to direct Scarface. No star has yet been cast, though Universal is on the hunt for a leading man who is Latino, bilingual and bicultural.
Whether there’s any real reason to remake Scarface is a question that Herman will have to answer in his script, but initial impressions of the project aren’t strong. The original film is an undisputed classic, and its immortalization of the line “Say hello to my little friend” has guaranteed it a place in the cinematic record books. But by choosing to frame another immigrant’s-rise-to-power narrative in the context of a Scarface remake, Universal has already put an enormous amount of pressure on a project that, if renamed something else, could have told a very similar story while not being chained to the specific narrative beats of a previous movie. Time will tell whether that was a mistake – no release date has been set for the remake, but that announcement is surely on the horizon.