ALSO: 'WOLF OF WALL STREET' DISCUSSIONS INCLUDE MENTIONS OF 'SCARFACE'
Brian De Palma's Scarface opened in theaters thirty years ago today. Both Complex and Moviefone celebrated the anniversary today with "25 Things You Didn't Know About Scarface" articles. The Hollywood Reporter's Aaron Couch posted an interview with Steven Bauer, who said that having spent so much time with co-star Al Pacino while working on the film, shooting the scene in which Tony shoots Manny was difficult for him. He said De Palma did "at least 25 takes" focusing on different angles. "The way [Pacino] looked at me was a little hard to take, I have to say," Bauer tells Couch. "I was sort of secretly happy it was over in a second, and that he fires the gun right away. There's no scene where I say, 'You got it wrong.' I am really glad it was written that way. Oliver [Stone] made it short and sweet."
Bauer also repeated his story of being conratulated by Martin Scorsese following an early Hollywood screening of the film. Here's how Couch writes it:
However, the director also gave him a warning. "'They are going to hate this movie in Hollywood,'" Bauer recalls Scorsese saying to him. "And I said, 'Why?' And he said, 'Because it's about them.'"
Bauer believes Scorsese meant there were similarities between the excesses of Tony Montana and some Hollywood executives at the time: "There's nothing wrong with chasing the American dream, but if you become greedy, it'll fall from under you. You will self destruct…. [Scorsese] knew there were tendencies in Hollywood to just be over the top."
SCORSESE DISPUTES GANGSTER COMPARISONS TO 'THE WOLF OF WALL STREET'
Several early discussions of Scorsese's new film, The Wolf Of Wall Street, are using Scarface as a touchstone in discussing the newer film's irredeemably unlikeable main character, with some referring to Wolf as Scarface crossed with Boiler Room, crossed with Stone's Wall Street. In this excerpt from an article by Mary Kaye Schilling at Vulture from last August, Scorsese and Jonah Hill discuss some of these aspects:
“Jordan [Belfort] was a brilliant guy in a world where there may be no morality whatsoever,” says Scorsese. “He got caught at what a lot of people didn’t get caught at.” As he sees it, Wolf is about what happens when free-market capitalism becomes a matter of faith. “If you look at what occurred in the world of finance—many times now and it will probably happen again—you really have to ask the questions: Is dishonesty acceptable? Aren’t people expected to go too far?”
Jonah Hill plays Donnie Azoff, Stratton Oakmont’s second in command (a composite of a few characters in the book). Azoff, if possible, is even more gonzo than Belfort, who at least regretted ripping off clients. “Jordan told me that certain people [at Stratton Oakmont] actually enjoyed hurting people,” says Hill, who, along with [Leonardo] DiCaprio, spent time with current day traders before shooting began late last summer. “I imagine it’s a lot more politically correct and less chauvinistic now. It certainly couldn’t be more politically incorrect or chauvinistic. But it’s still very alpha male, or alpha female, depending on the person in training. People who are weak, or perceived as weak and emotional, are fed to the wolves.” At Stratton Oakmont, says Hill, the philosophy was kill-or-be-killed, and Gordon Gekko was fetishized, but so were Scarface and GoodFellas. “Those were their models,” he adds. “They kind of ran their businesses with those sensibilities.”
Belfort’s arc does sound a little like Henry Hill’s in GoodFellas—in this case, a nice Jewish kid from Bayside, Queens, with a genius for sales, gets seduced and corrupted by Wall Street. But Scorsese disputes comparisons between gangsters and stock brokers. “The parallel between the Mafia and Wall Street works only to the extent that they’re all interested in making as much money as possible, as quickly as possible.”
A couple of months ago, someone posted a mash-up of the trailers from Wolf Of Wall Street and Scarface on YouTube.