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Who Will Be The New Scarface?
How Are They Going To Top This, and With Who?
Benicio del Toro
A New Version Is In The Works
Recent news out of Hollywood is that Universal Pictures plans to bring another Scarface film to life. The new project will not be a sequel or remake of the other two films of the same name. The new film will be produced by Martin Bergman, who served in the same capacity for the 1983 version of the film. Marc Schmuger, former head of Universal is also on tap for producer duties.
Both Scarface films have been very loosely based on the legend of Al “Scarface” Capone. While the first film did well for United Artists with Paul Muni in the title role, the second was a cash boom for Universal, carried by the white hot talent of its lead, Al Pacino.
The 1983 film did $66 million at the box office and another $23 million in rental against a $25 million budget. Its merchandise tie-in, thanks to hip-hop culture, created a massive cottage industry for Universal. There are no definitive numbers available for the merchandise sales, perhaps because many products are unlicensed, but the general consensus is that items continue to sell well almost thirty years since the release of the second film.
If the soon-to-be third Scarface film is to be even a fraction as successful as the 1983 film, it will need a more-than-capable lead. Frankly, it is quite difficult to touch Al Pacino in the talent department. Perhaps that’s why there has been no talk-to date-of who will be the new lead.
What follows, in no particular order, is a list of my own ideas as to who could fill the void:
Gerard Butler: Butler has the physical presence should the new film focus on more on action than drama. He can easily play with an American or British accent.
Benicio del Toro: Should the new Scarface maintain the insane elements of the first two then del Toro has more than enough charisma and presence to carry the lead.
Robert Downey, Jr.: He can do accents, he can do action. He is a bit too glib at times.
Javier Bardem: I believe Bardem’s performance in No Country for Old Men and his subsequent awards haul shows he could capably be the new Scarface. He is a real possibility though I see his heavy accent as a drawback.
Jason Statham: Just kidding. I wanted to see if you were still reading.
Viggo Mortensen: A compelling presence with range and maybe enough intensity.
James Franco: A little too much with being “on,” at times though he might do well. If the producers want to go younger and more “man pretty,” Franco will like be their choice.
Tim Roth: Intensity, maturity, and the ability to successfully master accents. He might be a little old for casting directors but his resume as well as his talent is impressive.
Keep in mind that, according to Deadline.com, (where the new Scarface story broke), the new film will involve “an outsider, an immigrant,” who, through criminality, bulldozes his way into “the American Dream.”
I believe the background of the story is important, however, the producers must realize that the legend of the performance of Al Pacino looms so enormously, it will daunt efforts to bring the story to life-again. Another words, who is so good that they can make people want to put quotes from the film on their cell phones like Pacino (as Tony Montana) quipped, “say hello to my little friend?”
Further, keep in mind that the 1983 film cost an estimate $25 million. I’m no number cruncher but doing the new film justice will, in this millennium, cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million.
With that kind of fiscal chutzpah, they producers will want to get a real player for the lead. My speculative list not withstanding, I believe that Benicio Del Toro would make a great lead for the new “Scarface.” He has the appearance, the intensity, and the resume to carry a big film. He personally understands what it means to be an immigrant in a new country. In short, I think he has it all to play the new Scarface.
My speculating is, of course, unscientific. Also, things coming out of Hollywood are often done to death by committee, lawyers, agents, marketing gurus, and the entertainment media.
As for me, well, I'm just speculating.