A few weeks back, “Call Me by Your Name” filmmaker Luca Guadagnino confirmed he was no longer involved in the latest attempt to remake “Scarface” at Universal Pictures.
The new take was to be set in present-day Los Angeles, a distinctly different version from Howard Hawks’ 1932 Chicago-set original and Brian DePalma’s 1983 Miami-set remake with Al Pacino.
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen wrote a script for the project, taking over from earlier drafts by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, Jonathan Herman and Paul Attanasio. Filmmakers like David Ayer and Antoine Fuqua were also circling at one point or another.
Ayer has now commented on his joining and abrupt exit from the project. The “Suicide Squad” helmer hopped onboard in May 2017 and was already out by July that year, with a scheduling conflict on “Bright” being cited as the official reason.
Unofficially it was rumored he and the studio disagreed over his darker take on the material and in a new interview with Total Film, Ayer confirmed this:
“One of the best scripts I’ve ever written was my ‘Scarface’ draft. It gets passed around in Hollywood, underground. It’s funny when people talk about the project. ‘Is it the Ayer script?’ ‘No, it’s somebody else.’ ‘Oh, OK.’
It wasn’t too violent. Violence – I can cover it. If someone gets shot, I can photograph it where a head explodes and have a hard R, and it’s not going to alienate people. That’s easy. That’s filmmaker 101. I created this rich, soulful journey through the drug trade, and kind of what it is. The studio just wanted something more fun.”
Ayer says he has no hard feelings over Universal wanting a broader-appealing take on the property:
“They want to capture as big of an audience as possible. I f—ing love Universal. Amazing people. I had this really honest conversation about the movie they wish they had, and the movie that I wished to make. There’s a lot of daylight between us. It’s just easier to be like, ‘Let’s park this.’”
Ayer’s next film is the Jason Statham-led “The Beekeeper” which opens on January 12th.