Yesterday, the world was "completely taken by surprise" when it was reported that Ben Affleck will no longer be directing The Batman, and of course I am being sarcastic as LRM has been talking about the decline of Affleck being attached to this project for years. Today, I was actually shocked when Variety reported that Antoine Fuqua has dropped out of the Scarface re-imagining project.
Fuqua is best known for his directorial work on Training Day in which Denzel Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role and for the movie The Equalizer, also with Washington in the lead role. It turns out that both The Equalizer and Washington may be to blame for this as Fuqua has decided that he will not have enough time to complete both The Equalizer 2 and Scarface on time. Sony and Washington both want the sequel to The Equalizer out fairly soon and Universal also wants Scarface up and running by spring. However, Fuqua has already spent too much time working on The Equalizer 2, a tough decision had to be made, and he stayed with his roots.
Sources say that Fuqua had great desire to direct the Scarface remake which would be based on both the 1932 and 1983 films of the same name. Diego Luna is rumored to play the lead role and it will be set in Los Angeles where a Mexican immigrant rises through the drug world's ranks to become the kingpin. Boardwalk Empire creator Terrence Winter developed the current script and one of the 1983 Al Pacino Scarface producers, Marty Bregman, will be attached to the film as well. This sounds like a recipe for greatness, and it is a let down that Fuqua has departed, but Universal is already talking to other directors.
Let us hope that Universal watched the prohibition era Miami based gangster film Live By Night and that they are not on the phone with Affleck today. I would say this is very unlikely as Affleck directs with WB primarily, however Gone Baby Gone was Miramax and his announced upcoming movie Witness for the Prosecution will be from Fox. In addition, Affleck simply may not have the time to do Scarface. Stranger scenarios than this have happened in Hollywood, and there is always a possibility this was all scripted.
I thought Fuqua would have been wonderful directing Scarface in a LA type of atmosphere. What do you think? Are you disappointed that Fuqua has departed. Are the Universal execs crazy enough to touch Affleck at this point? We must not forget that Affleck has an Oscar win for directing Argo, and maybe a change of scenery is just what he needs.
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