'Street Kings' David Ayer Writing a New 'Scarface' Script for Universal
Another day, another remake (or whatever this is). Deadline is reporting today that Universal has hired screenwriter/director David Ayer, who last directed Street Kings with Keanu Reeves and is working on cop drama End of Watch, to write the new version of Scarface. You may remember a couple of months ago we wrote about Universal firing up a new version of Scarface that will not be a sequel or remake, whatever that means. Ayer doesn't shed much light on how that works, saying the film put a contemporary spin on the outlaw tale, but that's about it. Marc Shmuger at Global Produce is producing along with Martin Bregman.
If you aren't familiar with the original 1983 Brian De Palma classic Scarface (who isn't?), it's essentially the same story in this new one. The focus is on an outsider, an immigrant who barges his way into the criminal establishment in pursuit of a twisted version of the American dream, becoming a kingpin through a campaign of ruthlessness and violent ambition. Same themes, same story, same uber-violence you get it. Ayer spoke with Deadline about his ambition and connection to the project and how he got on-board:
“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.”
Exactly - so what is it, what will it be? Still no details, we'll have to wait and see. Ayer just shot a film with a unique POV-mixed-with-conventional style, combining found footage, video cams, actual POV from actors, and conventional footage for a cop drama in Los Angeles. Could he be planning something that's similar but almost a reverse of that, following a criminal and his rise to power in somewhere like Miami today? Also, let's not forget, he's only writing and we have no idea who Universal is planning to attach to direct. Either way, Ayer is excited, "This is a fantasy for me, I can still remember when I saw the film at 13 and it blew my mind," he said. Oh and if you need to grab it, the De Palma Blu-Ray is now on sale for $12.99 on Amazon.