Dynamic actor from the Yiddish stage who earned an Oscar nomination for his 1929 film debut in "The Valiant". Muni's performance as the volatile mob boss in "Scarface" (1932) led to a long-term contra...
Chilean director Pablo Larrain is reportedly in talks to direct a planned Scarface remake. A revamp of the gritty 1983 drama, which starred Al Pacino as Cuban gangster Tony Montana, has been in the planning stages since 2011, but now movie bosses believe they have found their director, according to TheWrap.com.
The storyline will reportedly stay true to both the 1983 remake and the 1932 original, which starred Paul Muni, but the new movie will be set in modern day Los Angeles and the character will be of Mexican origin.
Producers are reportedly eyeing Oscar Isaac, Edgar Ramirez and Michael Pena to star in the movie.
Harry Potter filmmaker David Yates was previously linked to the film, but he was unable to sign on because of his commitments to the new Tarzan movie.
Larrain's films include the critically acclaimed No and Tony Manero.
Most of us look at movies as a form of entertainment, as a conduit for escapism. While this is entirely reasonable, there is also something to be said for the acknowledgement of movies as a more significant art form, especially when examining the historical biopic genre. This week, Lincoln arrives in theaters (admittedly not a great place for him to be, considering) — and this new Steven Spielberg film chronicles the political wheeling and dealing of one of America’s greatest presidents. Biopics are nothing new to cinema. In 1937, Paul Muni was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of real-life French writer in The Life of Emile Zola. But is there a more weighted significance to biopics for this generation? And do we place an appropriate amount of stock in them?
Unless you’ve been residing in a cave up until now — and by the way, thanks for making the reading of this article your first priority upon returning to civilization! — you’re well aware of the technological advances that have made the viewing of films as effortless a process as flipping a switch. As much as these streaming and viewing technologies have aided the already ravenous consumption of movies, it would be ignorant to assume that they have also obliterated book culture. In fact, downloadable books and electronic reading devices have done for the printed word what Netflix has done for film watching. However, it’s not outlandish to note the scales of public interest are decidedly tipped in favor of film.
The question is, with our propensity toward regular reading diminishing, and our movie viewing increasing, when do we reach critical mass? When do we get to the point wherein biographical films become our chief source of information about the lives of historical individuals? More to the point, have we already reached that point? Lincoln may seem an odd catalyst for this discussion, given that most of us learned about the 16th president in elementary school. However, what we may or may not have learned in school, or more importantly what we may not have recalled as easily as his log cabin and freeing of the slaves, is the complexity of his parlor politics and how those maneuvers lead to the passing of the vital 13th Amendment to The Constitution. The film therefore offered many of us a new story, a new facet to this historical figure.
Think back to the third grade, what was the best thing your teacher could possibly have said on any given day? “Class, we’re going to watch a movie.” It didn’t even matter if that movie was the worst After School Special or the moldiest of educational videos, we were thankful for the diversion from the chore of sifting through, and often reading aloud in groups, those dry text books. While this may be symptomatic of the capriciousness of youth, it may also be a function of the benefits of visual learning techniques. Many people retain information they perceive visually far better than information read from a book. We can usually remember details of those videos we watched in class far more readily than the things written in the textbooks. It can therefore be argued that biopics provide a viable alternative to literary biographies.
This viability of course comes under fire when considering the possible presence of embellishment and bias in biopics. Films, even those with the slight education bent of a historical biopic, are principally intended to entertain, and are also susceptible to the prejudices and viewpoints of the filmmakers. With that in mind, can biopics really be trusted as a means of educating the masses on these figures, especially when telling a life story not as engrained into the collective consciousness? And if all we need is a visual delivery system for biographical information, what sets biopics apart from documentaries?
The fact of the matter is that depending on the source, written biographies can be just as biased as any given film. This potential for subjectivity is augmented in the case of controversial personages, and especially politicians. Not only that, but there are documentaries out there predicated upon little more than sensationalizing a particular figure’s life regardless of factual evidence contradicting their claims. Case in point, check out the doc Alive: Is Michael Jackson Really Dead now streaming on Netflix. The movie actually supposes, using the most laughable of non-evidence, that The King of Pop staged his own death. The intention here is not to paint all documentaries and written biographies with the same unscrupulous brush, but the existence of these suspect examples should prevent an automatic assignment of inferior status to filmic biographies.
One entity that certainly doesn’t overlook the significance of biographical filmmaking is the Academy Awards. One need only go to the Netflix Instant Watch genre category Biographical Dramas to see the near unending acclaim lavished upon movies of this ilk. Films like Amadeus, Gandhi, and Chariots of Fire all garnered Best Picture honors while Capote, The Pianist, and My Left Foot all netted performance awards for its leads as they occupied roles based on historical figures. Whether the cause for this Oscar success is the Academy’s acknowledgement of the importance of these films, or simply the attraction they inherently present for top-tier filmmakers, the winning streak enjoyed by biopics ensures their continued frequency of production.
There may be something to the conception of biopics as an artful method of historic preservation. In that regard, the entertainment value of these films may not be a superfluous. Did British criminal Charles Bronson really get up in front of a theater full of people and perform a one-man show? No. But Nicolas Winding-Refn’s Bronson, with its distinct visuals and stellar performance from Tom Hardy, allows for an easier commitment to memory of the actual details of the man’s life that are also featured in the film. As biopics continue to draw both audiences and awards season attention, and as Oscar winners tend to be more likely to receive the benefit of film preservation advancements, what we may also be inadvertently preserving is our collective history.
[Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures]
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While the disputes between channels like AMC and cable providers like Dish Network can be droning, boring, and downright bothersome, they can also be a veritable playground of creativity and hilarious, gutsy jabs. As we've seen DirecTV squabble with Viacom, and DirecTV squabble with the CW (man, they squabble a lot), it all starts to feel a little hopeless. Now, Dish Network and AMC are still mired in a stalemate, leaving Dish subscribers without the channel where Story Matters, but hey, at least AMC's got jokes.
The network responsible for Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, is calling on cable customers (and presumably AMC fans) to create their own videos to dispute the, er, dispute. Participants submit video reactions depicting what they would react if their cable provider suddenly dropped AMC, and if minor internet fame wasn't enough, they're also offering up a cash prize for the winner. Lord only knows what ridiculousness will come out of this prompt, considering the fact that AMC's latest protest video came in the form of a zombie apocalypse taking over Manhattan with the tagline "Zombies don't belong here/ Put them back on TV."
And while this whole thing is probably giving you a headache, consider this: every time cable networks and cable providers fight, these days, something awesome and hilarious comes our way.
1. AMC vs. Dish: Zombie Experiment in New York
No Walking Dead for Dish Network, you say? Well, how about we unleash a legion of them on the unsuspecting (and usually relatively unmoved by strange instances) New Yorkers. Yeah, that'll learn 'em. 2. AMC vs. Dish: Oh Dear God, It's Walter White And when flesh-eating zombies don't work, just send in Walter White (Bryan Cranston), king of the most realistic terror-filled universe you've ever known on television. AMC offered the Breaking Bad premiere online — something the network rarely does with full episodes — to Dish subscribers who've been left out. They advertised it using this haunting image. (Okay, well the Breaking Bad promotion came earlier, but White's still far more menacing.) 3. Viacom vs. DirecTV: Don't Let Cartman Get a Satellite Stuck Up His A** There's nothing like using a classic joke and DirecTV's own advertising campaign against them to hilarious perfection. Who knew Cartman's age old satellite probe joke would prove so incredibly apt for this crass, surprising, hilarious ad? 4. CBS vs. ABC: Now Presenting CBS' 'Dancing On the Stars' followed by 'Postmodern Family' Alright, so this wasn't cable network versus cable provider, but the tongue-in-cheek kick in the pants sure is along the same lines. CBS released an actual press release announcing its fake lineup of new series, all direct, hilariously sarcastic rip-offs of ABC series during the networks' dispute over Glass House and its supposed trade secret infringement on CBS' standby Big Brother. Eventually, Glass House did air, but this press release probably left a bigger impact (see: major increases in office giggling) than the "copycat" show. CBS ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF “DANCING ON THE STARS,” AN EXCITING AND COMPLETELY ORIGINAL REALITY PROGRAM THAT OWES ITS CONCEPT AND EXECUTION TO NOBODY AT ALL Los Angeles, June 20, 2012 – Subsequent to recent developments in the creative and legal community, CBS Television today felt it was appropriate to reveal the upcoming launch of an exciting, groundbreaking and completely original new reality program for the CBS Television Network. The dazzling new show, DANCING ON THE STARS, will be broadcast live from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and will feature moderately famous and sort of well-known people you almost recognize competing for big prizes by dancing on the graves of some of Hollywood’s most iconic and well-beloved stars of stage and screen. The cemetery, the first in Hollywood, was founded in 1899 and now houses the remains of Andrew “Fatty” Arbuckle, producer Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Paul Muni, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, George Harrison of the Beatles and Dee Dee Ramone of the Ramones, among many other great stars of stage, screen and the music business. The company noted that permission to broadcast from the location is pending, and that if efforts in that regard are unsuccessful, approaches will be made to Westwood Village Memorial Park, where equally scintillating luminaries are interred. “This very creative enterprise will bring a new sense of energy and fun that’s totally unlike anything anywhere else, honest,” said a CBS spokesperson, who also revealed that the Company has been working with a secret team for several months on the creation of the series, which was completely developed by the people at CBS independent of any other programming on the air. “Given the current creative and legal environment in the reality programming business, we’re sure nobody will have any problem with this title or our upcoming half-hour comedy for primetime, POSTMODERN FAMILY.” “After all,” the spokesperson added, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Are you enjoying the hilarious outcomes of all this feuding? Or are you tired of the nonsense? More: Season 5 Premiere of 'Breaking Bad' To Stream Online for Dish Subscribers DirecTV Drops Viacom Stations: Comedy Central, MTV, and More 'Breaking Bad' Recap: Fifty One
Reports emerged last week (ends25Sep11) that the crime drama is set to be remade for a new generation of movie fans. The 1983 film, which starred Al Pacino as Cuban gangster Tony Montana, was itself an adaptation of Howard Hawks' 1932 picture of the same name, starring Paul Muni as an Italian who takes over the city of Chicago, Illinois.
But Loggia, who played drug lord Frank Lopez in the 1980s adaptation, wants executives at Universal Pictures to scrap their plans for an updated version of Scarface, with a new lead character and location.
He tells TMZ.com, "Scarface is a classic that should rest in peace!"
The popular 1983 crime drama, which starred Pacino as Cuban gangster Tony Montana, was a remake of Howard Hawks' 1932 film starring Paul Muni as an Italian who takes over the city of Chicago, Illinois.
Now movie bosses are planning to revive the format for a third time, according to Deadline.com.
The website reports executives at Universal Pictures are planning a new version of Scarface with producer Martin Bregman, who worked on the Pacino film, with a new character and setting.
Made film debut (and received first Oscar nomination) in "The Valiant"
Moved to New York City via London
First role in English-speaking theater, "We Americans"
Signed exclusive long-term contract with Warner Brothers, paying him $50,000 per film and giving him script approval; first film under contract, "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang"
Moved to Cleveland with family
Moved to Los Angeles
Moved to Hollywood, changes name to Paul Muni
Appeared in last film, "The Last Angry Man"
Starred in New York broadcast of "This Year Israel", presented by United Jewish Appeal over CBS Radio on April 15
Made final stage appearance in a musical adaptation of "Grand Hotel" entitled "At the Grand", played in Los Angeles and San Francisco; Muni's only experience in musical comedy
Reprised "Counsellor-at-Law" role on live television, presented by Philco Playhouse on NBC
"Inherit the Wind" opened on Broadway on April 21
Contributed to help establish the Chinese Emergency Relief Committee
Starred in greatest stage success, "Counsellor-at-Law"
Made first stage appearance in Cleveland as elderly lodge president in the sketch "Two Corpses at Breakfast"
First filmed television, "The People vs. Johnson", for "Ford Theatre" anthology series
Moved to Chicago with his family
Released from Warner Brothers contract on July 19; began free-lancing
Diagnosed with tumor near his eye; eye is removed that summer
Mother Sally remarried Morris Nasiter
Secured film stardom with "Scarface"
Appointed in September to the Board of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League for the Defense of American Democracy
Joined the Yiddish Art Theater in New York City
Hospitalized for neuritis (on February 10)
Returned to the stage to appear in "Key Largo"
Played in "Four Walls" on stage with wife Bella
Dynamic actor from the Yiddish stage who earned an Oscar nomination for his 1929 film debut in "The Valiant". Muni's performance as the volatile mob boss in "Scarface" (1932) led to a long-term contract with Warner Bros. and he made his mark in a series of critically acclaimed biopics, portraying the likes of Louis Pasteur and Emile Zola. He subsequently divided his time between the stage and screen, making intermittent film appearances until faltering eyesight ended his career in 1959.
married on May 8, 1921; died at age 73 on October 1, 1971; niece of Yiddish theater actor Boris Tomashefsky
died in 1913; both parents were strolling players in the ghettos of Eastern Europe
died in 1934
Named to the Jewish Hall of Fame in 1937
Received Certificate of Life Membership in 1939, presented by the Actors Fund of America