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Yes, Really: Universal Remaking a Non-remake of Scarface; Vulture on Unoriginality in Hollywood

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood September 22, 2011 at 4:28AM

Say it ain't so, but Universal is gearing up for a new version of Scarface. Writers are at work trying to find a way to make this story relevant again. Back in 1983, Brian De Palma and Oliver Stone's version starring Al Pacino was initially met with skepticism, as it was a remake of the 1932 film produced by Howard Hughes and directed by Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson. But the remake became a classic in its own right.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Say it ain't so, but Universal is gearing up for a new version of Scarface. Writers are at work trying to find a way to make this story relevant again. Back in 1983, Brian De Palma and Oliver Stone's version starring Al Pacino was initially met with skepticism, as it was a remake of the 1932 film produced by Howard Hughes and directed by Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson. But the remake became a classic in its own right.

Universal is positioning the latest revamp as less of a remake and more of a thematically related film, per Deadline:

"an immigrant 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."

What do you think, would "Say hello to my little friend" sound better with a Middle Eastern, African or Asian accent this time? Italy and Cuba have already been checked off the list...

Vulture analyzed the 2012 popcorn stock and this is what they found: "one in three films will be either a remake, reboot, rerelease, sequel, or prequel." And if you think that's bad, be comforted knowing that's better than 2011.

Here's a taste of the backwash:

No genre is safe from freeze-drying: Action will get Journey (to the Center of the Earth) 2, Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance, and Die Hard 5. Horror will get Underworld Awakening and The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes. Not content with $1.8 billion in worldwide grosses from weepy tweens, Paramount will rerelease Titanic, this time in glorious, wallet-shrinking 3-D! Sequels? You like sequels? How about The Expendables 2, Madagascar 3, Step Up 4, or Scary Movie 5? Didn't care for Relativity’s March remake of Snow White? Give it another chance in June, when Universal releases Snow White and the Huntsman!

This article is related to: Franchises, Genres, Media, Exhibition, IN THE WORKS, Remake, Action


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.