Scarface is indisputably one of the greatest movies shot in Miami. It was inspired in part by the city’s cocaine epidemic of the '70s and '80s. It included characters who had arrived here via the Mariel Boatlift. And its remake will soon be casting in, of all places, Atlanta.
So goes a Project Casting report citing a chart of projects “currently in production” for the summer on the website of Explore Georgia.
According to Variety, the new version of Scarface could star Mexican actor Diego Luna as the gangster inspired by Al Pacino's character in the 1983 movie, which was in turn inspired by the iconic 1932 gangster movie. Variety also notes that Suicide Squad's David Ayer is being considered to direct and that the 1983 film’s producer, Martin Bergman, will once again produce.
Miami needs to get used to this shift in shooting locations. This news comes after FX wrapped a few weeks in South Beach to shoot exteriors for a TV series about the murder of Gianni Versace, which is being completed in Los Angeles. Crews for the FX series American Crime Story, which brought us The People v. O.J. Simpson, needed South Beach only for Ocean Drive and Versace’s old house. California, after all, has not only a major entertainment industry but also tax incentives to encourage production there. In Florida, on the other hand, legislators decided against continuing a program offering incentives to film productions.
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Recently, another production telling a major Miami story — the murder of cigarette boat racer Don Aronow — has gone elsewhere. Hollywood filmmaker/writer John Luessenhop is directing Speed Kills, both executive-produced by and starring John Travolta, in Puerto Rico. The U.S. commonwealth offers tax incentives.
It seems the film and TV industry has little interest in shooting in Florida when so many other areas offer incentives. The Sunshine State's biggest competitor is arguably Georgia, offering a pot valued at $606 million and hosting the largest studio on the East Coast, where Marvel is shooting its superhero franchise movies. Meanwhile, in Miami, Greenwich Studios, once home to Flipper and several movie productions in the ‘90s such as The Birdcage and There’s Something About Mary, stands vacant.
Hooray for Atlantawood. It gets the Scarface remake. South Florida actors should go apply there, but don't expect the movie to be so Miami.
Follow Hans Morgenstern on Twitter @HansMorgenstern.