A lot of people think that the idea of remaking Scarface is tantamount to sacrilege given how deeply Brian De Palma’s 1983 classic has embedded itself into popular culture over the past 37 years, but the epic crime saga was itself a remake of legendary director Howard Hawks’ original that was released in 1932, so the material has already proven itself ripe for reinvention every few decades.
David Ayer was initially set to direct the latest version, but looking at his recent track record, it’s probably for the best that he walked away after the filmmaker’s Sabotage, Suicide Squad, Bright and The Tax Collector were roundly panned by critics, with Fury the only movie he’s made in the last decade that’s gained any sort of sustained acclaim.
Luca Guadagnino was a surprising but much more interesting replacement, with the 49 year-old shooting to mainstream prominence thanks to awards season favorite Call Me by Your Name and following it up with Suspiria, the latter of which showed that he was more than capable of putting a fresh spin on a classic genre movie. Guadagnino doesn’t shy away from telling difficult stories, and based on previous comments, it sounds like he plans to have his Scarface reflect current issues.
However, he’s also known for striking and shocking imagery, and in a recent interview, Guadagnino admitted that he’s designing the project with a hard-R rating in mind, which isn’t surprising when audiences would no doubt roundly reject the idea of a PG-13 Scarface.
“It’s about the dream of fulfilling, of success. The important things are, A: It has to be well done, the script has to be great, and it is. B: Our Tony Montana has to be current. I don’t want to imitate anything. C: This movie has to be shocking. I told you about Suspiria and I kept the promise to you then, and I think I will surprise you with this movie too. Brian De Palma’s movie was rated R, so I want a big R on my movie too.”
Both Hawks and De Palma’s wildly different approaches to Scarface yielded similarly controversial results, and based on Guadagnino’s output so far, all the signs point to the upcoming remake continuing that trend whenever it finally makes it into theaters.