For many, there may be no replacing Al Pacino’s portrayal as Tony Montana in the 1983 version of Scarface, even though that film was even a remake of a much earlier 1932 film of the same name. Still, plans are moving forward and, while one rumor had Leonardo DiCaprio set to take up the lead Scarface role at one point, it seems Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) has been cast to play Scarface for a new generation. Even as Luna prepares to pick up the mantel and make Tony Montana relevant again, Antoine Fuqua steps down and leaves the director’s chair empty. Once again, Scarface finds himself standing alone.
Diego Luna Signs On To Play The Titular Role In Scarface
Diego Luna is one of many stars rising in the Hollywood game, due to appearances in major franchises, Star Wars in Luna’s case, and, as Daily Mail reports, Diego has his next big opportunity set up with Universal Pictures’ Scarface reboot. Mr. Luna has reportedly been brought in to star as Tony Montana, though his story will vary from the 1983 version of the story.
For the 1983 Scarface film, writer Oliver Stone and director Brian DePalma tell the story of Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who rises in power as a drug kingpin, only to eventually lose everything. The fall of Scarface is his own doing, as he lets his own insecurities and paranoia open him up to attacks from within and without.
The upcoming Scarface reboot will cast Diego Luna as a Mexican immigrant, though he will reportedly bear the same moniker. This Tony Montana would seem to play upon the current issue of immigration and illegal migration into the United States from Mexico with Luna’s Scarface character setting up shop in Los Angeles. The 1983 story took place in Miami, Florida.
It’s too soon to expect anything from Diego Luna in the way of his Scarface role, but he recently commented on the types of films he most enjoys to take on and it sounds like Scarface is right down his alley.
“More than anything, I want to work on movies with great scripts, with great directors who bring amazing people together,” said Luna.
While Scarface may have its lead, it has also been reported that the reboot is facing production without a director, as Antoine Fuqua has stepped down from the project. Fuqua has cited scheduling conflicts with another project, his sequel to 2014’s The Equalizer, so he won’t have the time to helm Scarface. While Antoine’s departure leaves Scarface in a bind, Universal has already expanded a search for a new director, so it shouldn’t be long, before a new director picks up the project.
There are several key roles to be cast for the Scarface reboot, not least of which is Elvira Hancock, formerly played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and Manny Ribera, played by Steven Bauer. There will be a slight delay in casting, until Universal can settle on a new director, however.
1983’s Scarface Had Its Share Of Secrets
As Complex reveals in sharing a bit of trivia about 1983’s Scarface, much of who Oliver Stone was at that time went into the screenplay for the film, including Stone’s own struggle with cocaine addiction. As a recovering drug addict, Oliver had an insider’s perspective, but there were specific incidents, such as that famous motel scene, that made it into the final cut for Scarface.
The lead character was only known as Scarface in the title of the film. Certainly, anyone calling him by that nickname in the film would have met with a quick death. The name Tony Montana is almost as well known and, even at the time of the film’s release, had an air of familiarity to it. That may have something to do with the fact that Oliver named the character after his favorite football player, Joe Montana.
Ironically, there was a scheduling conflict for 1983’s Scarface, giving the planned reboot even more in common with its forerunner. For the earlier Scarface, Brian De Palma had a scheduling conflict that might have kept him from directing the film. He dropped out of directing Flashdance, also released in 1983, to direct Scarface.
Concern over whitewashing in Hollywood is a big concern currently, but it’s nothing new. For Scarface, Steven Bauer was the only authentically Cuban actor on the film. De Palma would often consult him, as well as Angel Salazar, who played Chi Chi and is a Cuban-American, about Cuban society and behavior.
Al Pacino stepped into his Scarface role and really made it his own, bringing an unforgettable influence to the character, but he wasn’t the first choice. Robert De Niro turned down the role of Tony Montana. It has also been revealed that Edward James Olmos turned down an unspecified role.
A total 42 people are killed in Scarface. There may be more modern films with higher body counts, but, for the time, a death count of 42 is still an impressive number.
Brian De Palma virtually went to war with the MPAA over the Scarface rating. He reportedly presented three different cuts, before the MPAA would downgrade their X rating to an R rating. In the end, De Palma had the last laugh. He delivered the original, first cut of Scarface to movie theaters.
In that first cut, only one scene was edited for content. Towards the beginning of the film, the motel chainsaw scene is especially bloody, but might have been even gorier if De Palma hadn’t edited the bathroom scene. Originally, that scene ended with a severed arm hanging from the shower curtain rod.
That much loved final scene of Scarface was as intense to film as it is to watch. Al Pacino burned his hands on the barrel of a gun, his “little friend,” while they were shooting the film. As a result, filming was delayed for two weeks, while Pacino recuperated.
While the planned Scarface reboot with Diego Luna is to take place in Los Angeles, the 1983 film, which does take place in Miami, was actually filmed in Los Angeles. Cuban-American protesters in Florida made it problematic to film Scarface on location in Miami.
[Featured Image by Universal Pictures]