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David Ayer Exited ‘Scarface’ Reboot After ‘Suicide Squad’ Because ‘Studio Wanted Something More Fun’ Than His Take on the Drug Trade: ‘It Wasn’t Too Violent’

Universal has long wanted to reboot “Scarface,” Brian de Palma’s 1983 crime classic starring Al Pacino as a powerful Miami drug lord. Multiple directors have circled the reboot over the years, including Antoine Fuqua, Luca Guadagnino and David Ayer. The latter director boarded “Scarface” the year after his “Suicide Squad” grossed $747 million worldwide despite negative reviews. Ayer boarded the reboot in May 2017 as Fuqua’s replacement, but come July 2017 he was already exiting. Some reports cited a scheduling conflict due to Ayer also working on his Netflix action movie “Bright,” but others claimed Ayer and Universal disagreed over his darker take on the material.

In a new interview with Total Film magazine, Ayer said that his script for the “Scarface” reboot was not “too violent” as some reports claimed in 2017, although he did suggest that his take on the gangster was too dark for Universal’s liking. The studio wanted a more fun and broad script than the one Ayer delivered.

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“One of the best scripts I’ve ever written was my ‘Scarface’ draft,” Ayer said. “It gets passed around in Hollywood, underground. It’s funny when people talk about the project. ‘Is it the Ayer script?’ ‘No, it’s somebody else.’ ‘Oh, OK.'”

“It wasn’t too violent. Violence – I can cover it,” he continued. “If someone gets shot, I can photograph it where a head explodes and have a hard R, and it’s not going to alienate people. That’s easy. That’s filmmaker 101. I created this rich, soulful journey through the drug trade, and kind of what it is. The studio just wanted something more fun.”

Ayer has no hard feelings over Universal wanting a broader-appealing “Scarface” movie ,considering the gangster is the studio’s “biggest IP behind ‘Jurassic Park.'”

“They want to capture as big of an audience as possible,” Ayer said. “I fucking love Universal. Amazing people. I had this really honest conversation about the movie they wish they had, and the movie that I wished to make. There’s a lot of daylight between us. It’s just easier to be like, ‘Let’s park this.'”

Universal’s “Scarface” reboot still has never gotten off the ground. Ayer is gearing up to release his new movie, the Jason Statham-starring “The Beekeeper,” on Jan. 12.

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