RAPPER WANTED TO REWORK SOME OF THE SONGS, BUT DE PALMA SAID NO
In preparation for his set as a DJ tonight at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Giorgio Moroder was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune's Allison Stewart. "There was a time when Jay Z wanted to (remake) some of the songs from [Scarface]," Moroder tells Stewart, "but it didn't work out because Brian De Palma didn't want to do it. But I talked to several (rappers) like Jay Z, and they loved the movie. Some of them had seen the movie like twenty, thirty, forty times, and people remember the dialogue. It's one of those cult movies."
Back in 2003, as the film was turning 20, the Los Angeles Times' Elaine Dutka reported that the chairman of Island Def Jam, Lyor Cohen, had met with De Palma to suggest that the artists on his label compose a new soundtrack for Scarface, "with or without Moroder." Dutka added, "Though [Martin] Bregman and even [Al] Pacino made the case for the proposal, the director was aghast."
Dutka quoted De Palma: "They said it would help promotion, presenting the film in a different way. But Giorgio's music was true to the period, I argued -- and no one changes the scores on movies by Marty Scorsese, John Ford, David Lean. If this is the 'masterpiece' you say, leave it alone. I fought them tooth and nail and was the odd man out, not an unusual place for me. I have final cut, so that stopped them dead."
Dutka's article then continues:
Universal's [Craig] Kornblau hasn't given up on the thought of creating a "reinvigorated and more relevant soundtrack," however. Nor has Kevin Liles, president of Def Jam/Def Soul Records. "Hip-hop, as Chuck D says, is the 'CNN of the ghetto,' " Liles points out. "Incorporating it into a classic like this would convey the current reality. The message, unfortunately, is as relevant today as when the movie emerged. I'll be the first up to bat to rescore the film, which touched such a nerve in the 'hood. Though Montana is Latino, all those kids identify with his job in the burger shop, idolizing guys with the big Benz and flashy women. Music is the soul of any movie, and a new soundtrack would increase its power."
Within a year after Dutka's article was written, Cohen and Liles had left Def Jam, and Jay Z had been appointed president of the record label.