EXCLUSIVE: There’s a ton of curiosity and criticism about Universal‘s Scarface reboot since both the 1932 Chicago bootlegging film and 1983 Miami cocaine-dealing versions were so iconic. Understanding that, the studio according to my sources has been David Yatesrefining the script with several screenwriters and drafts while keeping all names and details under wraps. “Universal has been through a couple of drafts and now is very high on the current draft. The first stop is the director. This is before any conversations on talent or timing.” I’ve learned that the studio is in final talks with British director David Yates who directed the final four films in the Harry Potter film series (#s 5, 6, 7, and 8 from 2007-2011) – and in my opinion should have won some Oscar nominations for them as the franchise grew dark and interesting under his helming. Though he normally works at Warner Bros, Yates has been the subject of considerable chatter over which film projects he’d do next. A prolific TV director known for his gripping British TV six-part political thriller State Of Play (2003) and the Emmy-winning The Girl In The Café (2005), Yates is a founding member of Directors UK. He now is much in demand with the finish of the Harry Potter franchise. On Scarface, he will be tasked with updating the crime saga so it lives up to the Ben Hecht/Howard Hawks/Paul Muni and Oliver Stone/Brian De Palma/Al Pacino classics since both became part of popular culture. This is not a remake or sequel but a reboot of a crime kingpin who through a ruthless campaign of ambition goes in hot pursuit of his American Dream – whatever that is in this decade. Ethnicity and geography were important in the first two versions so expect the same here. Former Universal head Marc Shmuger and his Global Produce banner is producing along with Martin Bregman who produced the Pacino version.

Nikki Finke is currently on vacation.