'Scarface' Remake: 'Hell or High Water' Helmer, Peter Berg Are Frontrunners to Direct (Exclusive)

Getty Images
David Mackenzie (left), Peter Berg

David MacKenzie and Peter Berg are meeting with Universal execs.

Hell or High Water filmmaker David Mackenzie and director-producer Pete Berg are the frontrunners to helm Universal’s remake of Scarface.

Antoine Fuqua was to have sat behind the camera, but departed last week to focus on Sony’s sequel to 2014’s The Equalizer, which he also directed.

Mackenzie and Berg are meeting with Universal execs, setting up an interesting competition of sorts. Berg has a relationship with the studio, having directed its releases Battleship and Lone Survivor. And, interestingly, he acted as Mackenzie’s boss when in 2015 Berg hired him to direct Commancheria, the movie that eventually became Hell or High Water.

Mackenzie, meanwhile, had trouble getting though many studio doors as early as last summer. In fact, he tried to get the Scarface directing gig previously but was passed over, with the studio settling on the more experienced Fuqua in early August 2016.

High Water was released weeks later, becoming a breakout sleeper hit and earning Jeff Bridges an Oscar nomination. It also put Mackenzie on the Hollywood map, with the filmmaker fielding scripts from almost every studio in town … and in full-circle fashion, back in play for Scarface.

Scarface is the story of the rise and fall of a gangster, which has seen previous versions made in 1932 and 1983. This one is a modern-day story set in Los Angeles and focuses on a Latino protagonist.

No Country for Old Men and Fargo filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen did a recent polish on the script, and Universal on Friday dated the movie for an Aug. 10, 2018, release.