In today's cinematic landscape, the word "remake" is often associated with disdain among critics and ardent movie fans. It's probably safe to say, though, that even the hardcore haters of remakes will praise one remake in particular, the 1982 classic Scarface, a movie that forever changed the landscape of crime and criminals, primarily through Al Pacino's iconic portrayal of Tony Montana. Scarface is finally making its debut on the Blu-ray format on September 6, with a luxurious Limited Edition Gift Set also available on that date, which comes with a handcrafted cigar humidor.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment held a special event at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles last night to celebrate this high-def release, which featured exquisite gourmet Cuban food, a performance by Ludacris, and lavish setting which Tony Montana would have surely approved of. Despite all these bells and whistles, most in attendance were likely drawn to the event for a Q&A session with actors Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, F. Murray Abraham, Robert Loggia, and producer Martin Bregman. The sizable crowd was whipped into a frenzy when Al Pacino took his center throne seat at the panel, in very high spirits for this reunion.
"I would like to say it took a lot of work, but it didn't. It took four phone calls. "
"My first experience was seeing Paul Muni's Scarface at the Tiffany Theater here in Los Angeles. I went and saw the film and then I called Martin Bregman and said, 'I think we can do this. I think there's a remake here.' He, very wisely and astutely, got out here, saw it, and put the whole thing together."
The actor also thanked his Dog Day Afternoon director Sidney Lumet, who came up with the idea for the movie to begin with Tony Montana first arriving to America on a raft. Al Pacino also said that he feels a special connection to Scarface because there were no sequels or further remakes after this legendary version.
"There is no Scarface 2 or Scarface 3. There is none of that with this picture. It was just Scarface. And I think there's something to that."
F. Murray Abraham chimed in, saying there were no sequels because, "who would want to be held up to this," which brought on a wave of applause from the audience. Steven Bauer, however, revealed that some fans believed that his character, Manny Ribera, wasn't actually dead.
"Everyone always says, 'Your toes were wiggling when they pulled away. Your toes were wiggling. You survived.' No, I didn't."
"Most of the world comes from hunger or comes from very, very meager beginnings. So most of the word identifies with Tony Montana. Let's face it, you all identify with someone who comes from nothing and wants it all, and almost gets it. In fact, what happens is, he gets it and it's not enough. And that's the morality of the story, thank God. That's what people identify with, because everyone identifies with Tony Montana. It doesn't matter about the violence or the language or the clothes in the movie, people identify with these characters. That's why it stands up after all these years."
Al Pacino told a very interesting story which indicated how immersed he was in portraying Tony Montana, even on his days off.
"I was playing Tony every day, shooting 14-hour days for nine months. I went with my girlfriend on my day off and her friend has this dog, this rabid dog. I get to the door and this dog starts leaping at me. I just cocked my hand back. I love Tony Montana, man. I couldn't do that."
Despite Scarface's celebrated status today, the critics in 1982 did not respond to it and it was considered a financial failure. However, the movie did have a few early allies like directors Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, who said, "Great movie. But people in Hollywood are going to hate it. Because it's about them." While that statement may have been true at the time, there is no hatred for Scarface in Hollywood today, which was proven at last night's fantastic event.
After the Q&A session, Ludacris hit the stage, delivering a fantastic set with his own live band, performing such hits as "Area Codes," "Move Bitch," and my personal favorite, "Southern Hospitality." I even saw Steven Bauer move past me to get closer to the stage while Luda was performing. It was a superb way to close out a fabulous night with the stars of Scarface.
That about wraps it up for my coverage on the Scarface event in Los Angeles for the upcoming Blu-ray release on September 6. If you want to watch this Scarface Q&A session/reunion for yourself, you can click on the video player below. You can also CLICK HERE to access our gallery of photos from this event.