Can Tony Montana Be Played By Someone Else?

credit: Scarface

One of the most controversial yet memorable anti-heroes in movie history is Tony Montana. Fans of gangster movies know this character all too well. In 1983, a loose remake of the 1932 Scarface movie was released, directed by the very underrated Brian De Palma. But the man who was truly responsible for getting the project going was the equally underrated Oliver Stone. What made Scarface so personal to Stone was his own struggle with cocaine addiction during the time he was actually writing the script. Tony Montana himself, while being a powerful drug lord operating in Miami, found himself indulging in his own product. Even before he built his criminal empire, he was already a highly ambitious and ill-tempered Cuban immigrant with a penchant for violence. All the money and drugs did was exacerbate this, not to mention his final stand in the end.

Al Pacino as Tony Montana

Brian De Palma’s Scarface was widely criticized for being extremely violent and for its excessive use of profanity. With Tony Montana being the center of it all, he made for a very controversial protagonist. However, he was far more than just a violent drug lord. All of his character development was masterfully conveyed through the brilliant performance of acting veteran Al Pacino. Pacino would have us despising Tony for a few minutes, then have us rooting for him in the next. He spends nearly the entire movie committing crimes for his own benefit, but ironically enough, his downfall began when he finally decides to do the right thing. And as we all remember, his final stand against the goons of a rival drug lord is what movie fans remember him for the most. Rightfully so.

Tony Montana and The American Dream

But aside from all the criminal activities he committed, Tony Montana was also meant to represent a penniless immigrant pursuing the American dream. Unfortunately, his version of the American dream involves more than just achieving success. It’s a twisted version of the American dream that he wishes to pursue, but despite that, it’s his own personal mission that he never stops to fulfill. And given that he came from such a violent place that literally nearly killed him, he had every reason to find a better life in America. And all violent outbursts and activities aside, he was devoted to protecting his family, at least in his mind.

credit: Scarface

What were his exact feelings toward his sister? It was only just implied that it was incestuous, but again, it was all conveyed through the facial expressions and emotions of Al Pacino’s performance. Tony Montana has to be one of his most signature roles that only he can play. Can anyone imagine if another actor were to play this character in a Scarface remake? There have been talks of another Scarface remake possibly happening for several years with a few names being attached to it. Directors David Yates and Pablo Larrain were reported to be attached to a potential remake, but back in 2016, it looked like some momentum was finally set in motion when Antoine Fuqua was hired to direct.

About a year later, however, Fuqua stepped away from the project, but then returned to be the director once again in 2018, only to leave it again in 2020. After Fuqua’s final departure, Italian director Luca Guadagnino was hired to take his place. With Guadagnino being brought on to direct, The Coen brothers were also hired to write the script. As of now, that is the only information we have on the possible Scarface remake. Will it actually happen? Movie-goers have a tendency to tap out on remakes before even seeing them, understandably so. Brian De Palma’s Scarface itself is a remake, and that’s the one people tend to remember more. While it didn’t have the best reception upon initial release, in time, it became a cult classic among fans.

credit: Scarface

Do We Need Another Tony Montana?

They probably aren’t asking for a remake, but if it does get made, then good or bad, it won’t take anything away from the one we know and love. So if we get that remake, that means we’ll be getting a Tony Montana who won’t be played by Al Pacino. If that happens, that could turn some fans off. We don’t need another impersonation, and it would be almost impossible to find another actor to embody Tony Montana the way Al Pacino did. So what’s the solution? Have another protagonist who isn’t Tony Montana but could have a similar storyline to his. In other words, give us another immigrant with a chip on his shoulder in a ruthless pursuit of the American dream. Heck, he doesn’t even have to be Cuban.

Having a Scarface remake doesn’t mean we need another Tony Montana. We can easily have another Scarface protagonist similar to him that comes from a different background. It could be a Mexican immigrant looking to build his own cartel or even someone who comes from a Western or Eastern European country. There are people from all over the world who are living in some form of poverty or oppression.

If the Scarface remake wants to try a different approach, then that’s the way to do it. Just have another man who went on the same path as Tony Montana because we can’t have another version of Tony Montana. If he’s not being played by Al Pacino, it won’t work. That doesn’t mean we can’t have another protagonist on a similar path. What are your thoughts, Scarface fans?

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