David Ayer Writing The New Scarface

For Universal's latest update

You might recall that, back in September, Universal decided to risk the wrath of the anti idea-recycling crowd by announcing that it was going to take another shot at Scarface, which has been brought to the screen twice already. Back then, only producer Martin Bregman (who helped usher Brian De Palma’s 1983 Al Pacino version to cinemas) was attached, busily meeting with writers to find a fresh take. Well, he’s found one in the shape of David Ayer.

The man who wrote Training Day and Dark Blue and has since gone on to write and direct Harsh Times, Street Kings and the upcoming End Of Watch knows a thing or two about criminal types and violent corruption, and chased the job: “This is a fantasy for me, I can still remember when I saw the film at 13 and it blew my mind,” he tells Deadline. “I sought it out; I went after it hard. I see it as the story of the American dream, with a character whose moral compass points in a different direction. That puts it right in my wheelhouse. I studied both the original Ben Hecht-Howard Hawks movie and the De Palma-Pacino version and found some universal themes.”

But though he thinks he’s found the themes, he still hasn’t cracked his own take on it just yet. “I’m still under the hood figuring out the wiring that will translate, but both films had a specificity of place, there was unapologetic violence, and a main character who socially scared the shit out of people, but who had his own moral code. Each was faithful to the underworld of its time. There are enough opportunities in the real world today that provide an opportunity to do this right. If it was just an attempt to remake the 1983 film, that would never work.”

There’s no word yet on whether Ayer will direct what he writes, but chances are Universal might offer him the gig if the studio likes his script…