One of these days, Universal will finally get around to their latest incarnation of Scarface. That officially planned remake of the 1932 Howard Hawks gangster flick, which was previously redone in 1983 by Brian De Palma, is currently set up with Chilean director Pablo Larrain (No; Tony Manero), screenwriter Paul Attanasio (Donnie Brasco) and a supposed plot involving a Mexican drug cartel and one man who rises in its ranks. In the meantime, another effort to reimagine the story is already moving forward and should be finished as early as this December.
The wonderfully odd folks at The Borscht Corporation, who run Miami’s semi-annual Borscht Film Festival (see our write up on the 2012 event), are working on a project centered specifically on De Palma’s version of Scarface. The plan is to compile a scene-for-scene redo consisting of a collage of various styles. They’ve broken the movie up into 636 pieces, each one 15 seconds in length, and anyone can submit their own interpretation of one of these bits. Want to recreate the part where Tony (Al Pacino) yells “say hello to my little friend” but have the little friend be an actual little person? Well, that gag has already been done before, but if you have any other bright ideas, that particular scene is still available to claim.
“For better or worse, Scarface had held Miami’s image in a vice grip since it came out,” states an email we received about the project, which is titled Scarface Redux. “As our mission is to redefine cinema in Miami (and vice-versa) we thought it was about time to get literal and take back our image! Or something.”
I don’t know that Scarface necessarily held that grip long after Miami Vice came along, and of course they’ve also had the misfortune of being represented by such cinematic gems as Bad Boys, Bad Boys II, Pain and Gain, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Striptease, Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, Reno 911!: Miami and, best of all, From Justin to Kelly. I anticipate crowdsourced fragmented remakes of all those and others if this one works out well enough. I call dibs on the “I’m a fiend for Mojitos” clip from the movie version of Miami Vice whenever we get to that.
As of this writing, only 12 pieces have been submitted for the Scarface project, one of them involving a puppet and emojis, another that is animated using the Scarface video game, another that is more originally animated and, most notably, one that is uploaded by acclaimed filmmaker Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty). Here’s my favorite so far:
Hopefully, like some of the best collaborative user-generated movies, this will continue to come together with a nice balance of known and unknown directors. And if Borscht for some reason can’t get submissions for all 636 moments, I’d love to see them just fill in some random bad Pacino clips. Or just the same one of him doing his “hoo-ha!” from Scent of a Woman every now and then.
Scarface Redux will make its debut in full at this year’s Borscht Film Festival in December. Head to the project site now and take part.