First given to writer David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Fury) and then passed on to Paul Atanassio (Donnie Brasco, Quiz Show) in 2012, the next draft of the upcoming remake of Scarface has been entrusted to Jonathan Herman- who has one writing credit with the 2015 movie Straight Outta Compton.
Described as “a new and original take” on the crime lord’s tale, the new version of Scarface will not resemble the iconic 1983 film, instead chronicling the rising power of a young Mexican immigrant in the modern-day Los Angeles underworld drug market. Chilean director Pablo Larraín (No) will direct the remake.
Herman’s participation in the script-writing process has reportedly reinvigorated the production, although it has not locked down a release date or cast as of yet. Last year Universal was said to be on the hunt for “an authentic Latino who is bilingual and bicultural” to play the film’s anti-hero, open to hiring a fresh, unknown face if need be. Upon hearing the news of the upcoming object, Al Pacino shrugged, “Well, if it’s inspired by the  movie, I think that’s good.”
Herman seems to be one of Universal’s in-house writers, and is currently developing a television script called The Demonologist as well as yet another classic film remake: this one of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), produced by Michael Bay and starring Naomi Watts.
When the star of the original 1963 version, Tippi Hendren, was told of the remake, she quoted:
Why would you do that? Why? I mean, can’t we find new stories, new things to do? Must you be so insecure that you have to take a film that’s a classic, and I think a success and try to do it over?
Her sentiments might be shared with the majority of cinema addicts…but the profitability of re-hashing classic films- including those who’ve earned their slot in film history like Scarface -is undeniable. It has become a modern trend for superhero franchises to reinvent themselves after a brief period of stagnation (Batman and Fantastic Four for example), and respected trilogies like Star Wars and Terminator are commonly used as source material for entirely new trilogies, based in the same respective universes, donning the same titles and brands…and yet claiming to be original.
This isn’t even inclusive to studios who blatantly plagiarize their own classic material, like Disney with Cinderella (2015) and Beauty and the Beast (2016), or the pair of The Jungle Book remakes (by Disney and Warner Bros.) bombarding movie-goers within the next year or so. The 80’s comedy Ghostbusters has suddenly become hot property, polarizing audiences with both a remake with an all-female cast as well as a male-centric remake starring Channing Tatum.
The catalogue of highly-regarded classic films currently slated to be regurgitated into profitable box office fodder goes on into an endless continuum, with Scarface just one of many destined for a potentially creative blackhole. Here’s a short list of classics in various stages of re-production: Carrie, Gremlins, It, Jumanji, Logan’s Run, Weird Science, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Poltergeist.