Tony Montana (AL PACINO) arrives in the United States.in 1980, a refugee of the Mariel Harbor boatlift which brought thousands of Cubans to American shores. He and his friend Manny Ribera (STEVEN BAUER) are processed through immigration in Miami and sent to a detention center. They each have a past criminal record which they try to hide from the authorities.
Tony and Manny want to get out on the street where the action is. Manny finds a way to get Green Cards quickly. They have to kill a former Castro aid, Rebenga.
The killing takes place during a major riot at the camp. Tony and his friend Angel (PEPE SERNA) ambush Rebenga. Tony stabs him. Manny’s friend comes through and the boys are processed out.
Tony and Manny find themselves in Little Havana (Miami) washing dishes in a sleazy lunchstand, waiting for their big
They meet Omar, “El Mono,” (F. MURRAY ABRAHAM) who offers them $5,000 to conclude a drug deal at a local motel. Omar works for a major cocaine dealer.
Tony and his gang suspect a set up when things go wrong at the motel. Tony wants to deliver the cocaine directly to the boss, Frank Lopez (ROBERT LOGGIA). Lopez thanks them for killing Rebenga and for retrieving the cocaine. They are invited to dinner where Tony meets the beautiful Elvira (MICHELE PFEIFFER), Lopez’s woman.
At dinner, Lopez asks Tony to work for him even though he sees Tony’s roving eye on Elvira.
As Tony begins to move up in the drug world, he visits his mother (MIRIAM COLON) and sister Gina (MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO) whom he has not seen in several years. His mother rebuffs the gifts and money he brings, but Gina is
thrilled to see her big brother whom she adores. Mama throws him out, but Gina runs after him and then meets Manny, who is immediately attracted to her. Tony warns him to stay away.
Tony and Lopez fight over a business deal which forces him to leave the Lopez operation. Tony surprises Elvira at Lopez’s condo and proposes marriage. She can’t believe he’s so presumptuous. .
Tony is moving up fast now. As time passes, he begins to consolidate his empire. He now owns a mansion and has bodyguards. He marries Elvira. He opens a beauty salon for Gina, who has fallen for Manny. The more his empire builds the more he begins to get paranoid. Federal agents are watching him.
Everything begins to unravel. Elvira is a hopeless addict and leaves him. Tony holes himself up in his mansion fighting to keep control. Gina and Manny, the two people he thought he could trust, are less frequently at his side. Very soon the final betrayal sets in.
A Martin Bregman Production of a Brian De Palma Film, Al Pacino is “Scarf ace,” which alo stars Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastantonio and Robert Loggia. A Universal Picture, it is produced by Martin Bregman and directed by Brian De Palma from a screenplay by Oliver Stone. The director of photography is John A. Alonzo, A.S.C., and the music is by Giorgio Moroder. Louis A. Stroller is the executive producer.
In May, 1980, Fidel Castro opened the harbor at Mariel, Cuba, to let some of his people join their families in the United States.
Most of the 125,000 “.Marielitos” who streamed into Florida were honest, hard-working people — eager for a new life in a free land.
But not all. Castro seized the opportunity to play samaritan while exporting Cuba’s crime rate ,to the United States. Hidden among the newcomers were the dregs of the island’s jails, criminals considered beyond redemption.
They, too, saw America as a land of opportunity.
Among the most ambitious was Tony Montana, the one called “Caracortada”…Scarface.
A Martin Bregman Production of A Brian De Palma Film, Al Pacino is “Scarface,” which also stars Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer; Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Robert Loggia. A Universal Picture, it is produced by Martin Bregman and directed by Brian De Palma from a screenplay by Qliver Stone.- The director of photography is John A. Alonzo, A.S.C., and the music is by .Giorgio Moroder. Louis A. Stroller is the executive producer.
“Scarface” marks a reunion, for Pacino and Bregman, whose previous alliances gave the actor two of his strongest roles in “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Serpico.”
Their third project together began three years ago when Bregman was watching late night television and the gangster movie “Scarface” was being shown. He immediately knew the next film he wanted to do — an updated version of the 1932 Howard Hawks classic and he saw it as a chance for Pacino “to create a kind of character he’d never played before…one which hasn’t been seen on screen since Jimmy Cagney did ‘White Heat.
Bregman did not, however, regard “Scarface” as a remake. “The underworld, like everything else, has changed radically since the Capone days of speakeasies and bootleggers,” he points out. “The traffic in cocaine has become a thriving industry — and a proving ground for gangsters.
– “There are obscene amounts of money to be made, bringing drugs in from Central and South America, if someone is smart, ruthless and hungry enough. Someone like Tony Montana.”
Armed with that approach, screenwriter Oliver Stone who probed a different corner of the drug trade in “Midnight Express” — began two intensive months of research. It took him deep into the Latin underworld of South Florida, with its unique lifestyle, code of honor and jargon.
Stone interviewed federal agents (including members of the FBI), narcotics investigators, homicide detectives with the Miami Police Department and members of the Organized Crime Division of Florida’s Dade and Broward County Sheriff’s Departments.
On the other side of the law, he met with some of the young “bandidos” hired to unload contraband from freighters anchored off the Florida Keys, street hustlers who cut and peddled the “goods” and “businessmen” who funded drug deals and siphoned off the profits.
On the island of Bimini — one of several Caribbean links in the drug chain — he expanded research he’d previously conducted in Columbian Ecuador and Peru.
Throughout the period, Stone admits, “I,felt my life was on the line. Most of my work, for obvious reasons, was done between midnight and dawn. That’s not the safest time to be out alone when you’re dealing with people who might decide —
on second thought — that they had told you too much.”
The experience, he adds, was “overwhelming.” But out of it came a screenplay which Bregman promptly sent to director Brian De Palma. Having written or co-written many of his past projects, De Palma now felt that he wanted to work with someone else’s material.
As preproduction got underway, Pacino made his own foray into Miami. Taking up temporary residence there, he came to know the customs, values and speech patterns of the community.
The distinctive Cuban dialect was vitally important to him and once having mastered it, he continued to speak the patois both on and off the set.
He was now ready to take up Tony Montana’s perverse pursuit of the American dream.
When first encountered Tony is on the outskirts of that dream, an unpolished, young thug in ragged clothes and cardboard shoes — with a scar down the side of his sallow fade which he continually touches in a tic-like, reflex gesture.
Assigned to a refugee camp with his compadre, Manny Rivera (STEVEN BAUER), he agrees to perform a small service for a wealthy Cuban businessman — the murder of an ex-Castro agent — in exchange for their freedom.
A riot in the refugee compound provides him the opportunity.
In creating the sequence, director De Palma and visual consultant Ferdinando Scarfiotti hewed close to actual events.
In 1980, the newly arrived Marielitos were housed in an internment camp, hastily constructed beneath a Miami freeway.
For the movie, the camp was erected in Los Angeles, beneath the intersection of the Santa Monica and Harbor freeways.
It was then reduced to fiery rubble during a scene in which frustrated refugees hurled beds, chairs, tables and themselves at a phalanx of national guardsmen and state police, putting the torch to their makeshift barracks.
The sequence called not only for the skills of some forty stuntmen but linguistic agility as well. Many of the six- hundred extras spoke no English — only Spanish. Safety required careful translation prior to each setup.
From the demolished camp, the story moved to Miami’s crowded, bustling Little Havana. Were Tony and Manny earn their first (and last) honest dollars, washing dishes at a shabby lunch stand, the El Paraiso.
Here, too, the sight of well-heeled Cuban emigrants strolling with their flashy chiquitas confirms what they came to America to find — money and sex respectively.
Once again, California doubled for Florida. Sections of Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles were converted to Little Havana, complete with storefronts and billboards in Spanish, an ingenious mural of the Miami skyline and a towering, tantalizing neon sign proclaiming “The World is Yours.”
Only the California weathermen refused to cooperate as Los Angeles shivered through an unseasonal cold-snap.
“On the radio, they were talking about the threat to the orange crop,” recalls Steven Bauer, who plays Manny. “Meanwhile, we were shooting at night, dressed for the tropics.”
For Ferdinando Scarf iotti, the challenge of these scenes, and others throughout the film, was to visually reflect Tony Montana’s rise to power. Settings like the El Paraiso lunch stand and the Sun Ray Motel — where Tony literally escapes • being butchered by Columbian drug dealers — are. “bleak and sordid,” says Scarfiotti.
“Later, as he moves up through the criminal hierarchy, the atmosphere becomes bright, brittle, glaring. There is a sense of insane wealth. We are among people who amass such incredible sums of cash that they have to keep finding new ways to spend it.
“It goes on their walls, on the backs of their women and into the playgrounds where they spend their time.”
The most sumptuous of those sets was the Babylon Club, a bizarre mixture of Greek, Roman and renaissance decor.
Built on one of Hollywood’s largest sound stages, the multilevel complex featured black laquered tables, a gleaming onyx dance floor, ankle-deep purple carpeting, erotic Greek statuary, dancing fountains, pink and blue neon lighting and a dazzling profusion of mirrors.
To cinematographer John Alonzo, the mirrors were both a pleasure and a challenge. -“They gave us fantastic dimension,” he explains, “but made it almost impossible to shoot without catching the reflection of a camera or a technician.”
Like the internment camp, the Babylon set was built to be wrecked.
At first, the club signifies Tony’s acceptance into the criminal hierarchy. It is here that he meets Elvira (MICHELLE PFEIFFER), the sultry, strung-out ex-debutante, worn — like a diamond pinky ring — by his boss, Frank Lopez (ROBERT LOGGIA).
It is also here that he acquires a taste for the product he peddles, shared to his dismay by his kid sister, Gina (MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO), who idolizes him.
Finally, it is at the Babylon that he is set up by a team of hit men, dispatched by Lopez to teach Tony a permanent lesson in the perils of ambition.
That shoot-out, counterpointed by the tragicomic performance of a white-faced mime, was complicated by the wraparound mirrors. Special effects men Ken Pepiot and Stan Parks had to puzzle out a way to hit them with bursts of machine gun fire
without showering the principals (and some 300 extras) with shattered glass.
Fifty-two mirrored panels were mounted on soft, spongy “solitex” board, then covered with clear plastic. “When we fired plastic pellets into the mirrors, the glass exploded without flying out,” says Pepiot.
The result was not only realistic and safe, he adds, “but there was another advantage; the crew didn’t have to sweep up broken glass after every take.”
Following two weeks at the Club Babylon, the “Scarface” unit moved on to Montecito in Santa Barbara County. The resort city provided two magnificent villas, a few miles apart in actuality, but halfway around the world from each other in story terms.
One would serve as the palatial estate of Alejandro Sosa, Tony’s Bolivian “connection.” The other would become the fortress-like Xanadu where Tony weds Elvira, stocks a private zoo with rare animals including a prowling Bengal tiger, and descends into drug-induced paranoia.
Both may seem familiar to students of rococo architecture.
The “Bolivian villa” is one of architect Addison Mizener’s masterpieces, a 32-room Spanish halFienda, nestled against snow-tipped mountains, surrounded by 13 acres of rose gardens, ornamental fountains and rolling green lawns.
The second home — seen as Tony’s Coral Gables mansion — has an even more exotic history. The work of Bertram Goodhue, it was conceived in 1906 as a steel and concrete version of a neo-classic Roman villa — containing one vast bedroom (which various owners would later remodel to suit their whims and needs) — on a 35-acre plot.
Its original owner was a gentleman named Gillespie, whose other properties ironically included the palace in Havana which Castro later assumed as his headquarters.
Among the features of the estate were an artesian water system which fed a network of lagoons and lakes, one of which boasted an Egyptian barge for private parties, and the world’s largest collection of palm trees, many of which were transplanted in the early 1950s to become the “Jungle Ride” at Disneyland.
Previous residents included author Thomas Mann, who entertained such houseguests there as Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill. And when director De Palma staged the. wedding of Tony and Elvira on the lavish grounds, he could refer to a previous, equally celebrated ceremony on the same site, in which Charlie Chaplin and Dona O’Neill were united.
The pleasure of these surroundings was somewhat diminished by another blow from the weather. The crucial wedding sequence was postponed when the California coast was hit by record breaking storms which wreaked millions of dollars in damages in Santa Barbara County alone.
Daily reports were phoned back from Montecito to Los Angeles, assuring De Palma and Scarfiotti that the villa — and the luxurious amenities the film crew had added — were still intact.
Meanwhile, key interiors were taking shape on the sound stages at Universal, including the newlyweds’ round cream and gold bedroom, complete with private sunken Jacuzzi, and Tony’s “office,” a pagan sanctum of black marble walls and gold fixtures.
Perhaps the most intriguing touches, however, were technological.
Having created a cocaine empire, Tony now sees it crumbling at the edges. Young, aggressive hoods — as hungry as he once was — are gunning for their piece of the action. Federal investigators are closing in.
Bankers are demanding exorbitant fees to launder Tony’s cash. (The same banks, he points out nostalgically,. that “we used to knock over.”)
Manny and Gina, the only two people he thought he could trust, are together more often,, less frequently at his side. Elvira’s sex appeal has evaporated in powdery dust.
Protection is all-important. The mansion is now rigged with sophisticated security and surveillance systems, including enough TV monitors to equip a network control center. For these soenes, cinematographpr Alonzo called on Panavision’s video system, Pancam, which uses lenses and accessories adaptable to motion picture cameras.
“Several scenes were shot twice, once on film, then on videotape,” explains Alonzo-. “Thus, when Tony holes up in his mansion, fighting to keep control — and stay out of prison you sometimes have two simultaneous images. What is
actually happening. And what Tony sees through the television. monitors.”
What he sees — eventually — are silhouettes of visitor’s. The opening of locked doors. Flashes of gunfire. Bullet-strafed bodies. The final betrayal.
Outside, a tantalizing message still blinks on and off.
“-THE WORLD IS YOURS.”
Desperate to make it to the top in America once he has safely joined the 1980 exodus from Castro’s Cuba, ex-con Tony Montana gets there the only way he knows how – by clawing his way up the junkpile of Miami’s thriving drug business.
It is a harrowing portrait of a new breed of ganster inan explosive new arena of power. To paint it, actor Al Pacino is on screen in virtually every scene.
To prepare for the role of Tony Montana, Pacino spent time in South Florida, soaking up the unique customs, ethics and accent of the “Marielitos” (so dubbed because they had sailed from the Cuban port of Mariel). Immersing himself in what he had just learned, he insisted on speaking “in character” both on and off the set during the several months the picture was in production. Such thoroughness is typical of Pacino.when I’m about to do a project,’ he admits, “I dream about the character all the time.”
Then he explains why:
“Acting is hard work,” he says. “At times, it’s both energizing and enervating. It’s childish, but it’s also responsibile. It’s illuminating … joyful … bizarre … diabolical … exciting. Acting may be, as Eleanor Duse said, a horrible world, but it’s an attempt to get at some truth, to show emotions and motivations which are both believable and natural.
“The most important thing to learn in acting is how not to act.”
Pacino takes that lesson seriously. Nominated for seven times for Academy Awards, his most memorable screen performances have been linked only by the same inner intensity that consumes Tony Montana in “Scarf ace.”
They are as Michael Corleone in “The Godfather, Part I, II, and III. The unpredictable street cop in “Serpico,” the sexually torturted bank robber in “Dog Day Afternoon,” and as the straightforward lawyer in “…And Justice For All.”
Pacino, in fact, nearly cornered the market on cinematic anti-heroes during the 1970s, starting with his first noteworthy role as a manipulative junkie in “The Panic in Needle Park.” A dramatic look at the highs and lows of drug addiction, it contained shockingly realistic scenes for filmgoers of 1971.
But then Pacino, a product/ of the New York stage, was already disturbing theatre audiences with his intense, brooding outsiders. Winner of an Obie Award for his performance as a drunken hood in the 1968 off-Broadway play, The Indian Wants The Bronx,” he also won coveted Tony, Drama Desk and Theatre World Awards for his Broadway debut as a psychotic drug addict in 19691s “Does A Tiger Wear A Necktie?”
It was those plays which brought him to the attention of Martin Bregman (then one of New York’s most respected personal managers), influencing both of their careers. Bregman subsequently produced both “Serpico” and “Dog Day Afternoon.”
Such antisocial roles are in direct contract to his tradition-bound upbringing in the Bronx. Born to Sicilian parents soon divorced, only-child Pacino was raised by his mother and grandparents with a careful, loving concern. (Forced to dress immaculately at all times, he was dubbed “the Little Dude” by neighborhood kids not known for their understanding). Lonely, bright and bored, Pacino acted out the films he saw for his grandmother … and in school continued to fabricate, making up a colorful past and mysterious life for himself to impress his classmates.
Encouraged by his family and teachers to become an actor, Pacino went to Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts, then dropped out at seventeen to drift from job to job. He finally enrolled at the Herbert Berghoff Studio, where the serious commitment required of his craft was hammered home.
Pacino apprecnticed at such avant-garde off-off-Broadway theatres as Elaine Stewart’s Cafe La Mama and Julian Beck and Judith Malina’s Living Theatre, displaying a formidable bent for living each part he played.
It was his acceptance into the Actors Studio in 1966, however, with its advocacy of director Lee Strassberg’s ‘Method,’ that brought discipline and power to Pacino’s total absorption into his roles.
In 1972, after Pacino won not only the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor, but an Academy Award nomination and international renown for his chilling role in “The Godfather,” he chose to return to the stage.
Joining David Wheeler’s Experimental Theatre Company of Boston, he starred in “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel” and later reprised the role on Broadway. It brought him a second Tony Award.”The theatre is where I started as an actor and it’s
what I enjoy doing,”comments Pacino. “I’m not loyal to it, but dedicated. It is what I should be doing. It’s crazy that the stage and screen are in competition with one another. It’s what I do as an actor, working both in films and on stage.”
Suiting action to words, Pacino has interspersed such films as “Scarecrow” and “Bobby Deerfield” with stage performances in “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” “Richard III,” “Camino Real,” “The Connection” and “Tiger at the Gates.”
If ever an actor seemed destined for a role, Cuban-born, Miami-reared Steven Bauer was born to play Manny Rivera in “Scarface.”
“Scareface” stars Al Pacino in the title role of Tony Montana, a Cuban ex-con who flees Castro’s jails during the “Marielito” boatlift of 1980.
Pursuing his “American dream” any way he can, Montana claws his way to the top of Miami’s thriving drug empire. Right beside him from Day One — funny, flashy, faithful as a Doberman and just as quick to go for the throat — is Manny. The role marks Bauer’s motion picture debut.
Although his surname belies it, he is the son of a Cuban Airlines pilot, who with his schoolteacher wife and three year-old son, fled Castro’s regime in 1959, leaving all possessions behind to avert suspicion.
It was to be another 21 years before the “Marielitos” came, but young Bauer saw firsthand the changes in Miami over the period, as more and more of his countrymen turned against Castro and opted for America.
“We were part of a large faction of Cuban society which moved to Miami,” he notes, recalling as well the culture shock of being immigrants. “Movies, especially musicals, were an important part of our lives during those years.”
By then billingual but shy, Bauer came home one day from seeing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and sang all the film’s songs for his parents. They promptly encouraged him to study guitar and trumpet, and join both his high school choir and the Foreign Study League, whose student members spent their summers in Europe.
It was at Miami Dade Junior College, however, that Bauer became interested in acting. Cast in a small role in “Summer and Smoke,” he soon enrolled in any courses he could connect with theatre — drama, ballet, voice, modern dance.
His commitment deepened when he won a role as one of the Jets in the University of Miami production of “West Side Story.” Impressed with his potential, the school’s drama department helped cut the red tape to enroll him as a full- time student.
Studying with Actors Studios alumnus Robert Lowery brought Bauer his first formal training and his first leading role as Lenny in a “standing-ovation-every-night” production of “Of An Innocent Love.” Bauer also spent a year in New York studying with famed drama coach Stella Adler. While there he also returned briefly to the stage, appearing off-Broadway in “Waiting for Lefty” and “Mozart and Salieri.”
Still basically introverted except when acting, Bauer went for his direct opposite in depicting Manny in “Scarface.”
“Manny stands out in a crowd,” he explains. “He dresses to be noticed. He can be a hot-eyed ladies’ man and the next moment a cold-blooded killer.
“Because of his rebelliousness he was probably a reject within Cuba’s Socialist system, which demands strict conformity.”
He ran with the underground crime element, landed in jail, and learned the hard way that only the strong survive.
“So Manny is a survivor, doing whatever he has to do.
His only mistake is an inbred loyalty to his compadre Tony Montana.”
The first time “Scarf ace” Tony Montana sees her — on the arm of Miami’s reigning drug king — he knows Elvira Hancock is the woman for him.
Blonde, fine-boned and confident in her nine-generatoin WASP heritage, she is the angel to top off his American dream.
After she becomes his wife, however, the dream — along with the angle — bites the dust. Deep within the ornate isolation of their Coral Gables mansion, she turns into a full-time junkie, unable to hide her boredom, her contempt… or her fading appeal.
Michele Pfeiffer is Elvira to Al Pacino’s Tony Montana in “Scarf ace,” Universal Pictures’ explosive drama about a ragged “Marielito” from Castro’s jails who claws his way to the top of Miami’s criminal hierarchy.
The Martin Bregman Production, directed by Brian De Palma (“Dressed to Kill”) from a screenplay by Oscar-winning Oliver Stone (“Midnight Express”), also stars Steven Bauer as Tony’s compadre, Mary Elizabeth Mastantonio as his kid sister, and Robert Loggia as Frank Lopez, the archrival from
whom Tony steals Elvira.
“She’s a lady who knows how to get what she wants,” explains actress Pfeiffer. “Elvira has survived in a violent world of street-smart, unsentimental people … and she has done it by never going beneath the surface of her feelings, never letting anyone get really close to her.
Her one saving grace is her awareness of her own short-fall. ‘Too bad we never grew up,’ she says to Tony in a farewell speech of surprising honesty.
“For Elvira, that says it all.”
Michele was born and raised in California’s conservative Orange County, where her businessman-father taught her one basic rule: If you wnt anything in life,
work for it … and that includes an acting career.
After graduating from Fountain Valley High School, where she first studied theatre, Pfeiffer clerked in a supermarket to pay for her acting lessons in Los Angeles, a long bus ride away.
Her first break came when a friend entered her in a Miss Los Angeles County beauty pageant. Chagrined at first, Pfeiffer changed her mind when the incident brought her an agent. Her first role followed –‘so small that “my character didn’t even have a name; I was called ‘The Bombshell,” — in the television series, “Delta House.”
Then a month later she was cast in her first motion picture, “Falling in Love Again.” Not wanting to lose either opportunity, she worked seven days a week, almost around the clock, for two months.
While her hard-working father would have approved, for 18-year old Pfeiffer it meant performing on the series during the day, and on the movie nights and weekends.
It paid off. Roles followed in both television and feature films.
In “Hollywood Knights” she co-starred as “Susy-Q,” the carhop. “I understood her completely,” Pfeiffer recalls.
“Like me, she was a young girl who left her solid home to come to Hollywood to be an actress. But she’s working as a carhop instead.”
Then came her first chance to portray a debutante — the rich, sheltered Cordelia Farrington III – in “Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen,” a spoof which starred Peter Ustinov, Lee Grant and Roddy McDowell.
Alternating with television movies, Pfeiffer appeared in “Callie and Son,” then co-starred in “The Children That Nobody Wanted and “Splendor in the Grass.” Not one to sit around, she then tried her hand at live theatre, appearing in a Los Angeles Equity waiver production of “Playground in-the Fall,” before entering the nationwide talent search for “Grease 2.”
Winning that role encouraged Pfeiffer to pursue her next goal — playing Al Pacino’s leading lady in “Scarface.”
Convinced she understood Elvira and could “do justice to the characterization,” she underwent three months of readings on both coasts and finally, after a screen test, won the coveted role.
Although it’s “something an actress dreams of,” the pretty, persistent young beauty from Orange County admits, “it took a lot for me to go beyond the fact that my leading man was Al Pacino.”
MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO
“Gina Montana is a little spicier than anything I generally get to play,” says screen newcomer Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio of her role in Universal Pictures’ “Scarface.”
A Martin Bregman Production, directed by Brian De Palma from a screenplay by Oscar-winner Oliver Stone, the film stars Al Pacino as “Scarface” Tony Montana, a Cuban ex-con fresh from Castro’s jails, who claws his way up the criminal hierarchy of Miami to grab his share of the “American Dream.”
His co-stars are Steven Bauer as his compadre, Michelle Pfeiffer as his beautiful wife, Robert Loggia as his archrival, and Mastrantonio as his kid sister, Gina.
In true macho fashion, Montana views his sister as someone to be protected, put on a pedestal and big-brothered within an inch of her life.
Gina has other ideas.
“She adores Tony,” explains actress Mastrantonio.
“He’s the one who has always brought enjoyment into her life.
But because of him, their family goes from being dirt poor to very rich, with all the power — and freedom — that money can buy.
“When she sees Tony doing dope, she wants to try it, too. ‘After all,’ she says to herself, ‘if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.'”
It isn’t, of course. In Tony’s mind it’s a threat to the innocence — as is her ripening romance with his best (and only) friend, Manny. Tony deals with the first so abruptly and the second so brutally that Gina’s hero-worship crumbles in one of the film’s most shocking scenes.
Playing a young woman who is both passive and passionate is an admitted challenge for Mastrantonio.
Seen on Broadway in the hit “Amadeus”, the young Chicago suburbanite has an impressive list of credits in the musical theater — as the ingenue in most of them.
(She finds playing Gina — “the one with the makeup and the razzle-dazzle and the spice” — a welcome change.)
The fifth of six sisters, Mastrantonio began her musical theater training at Oak Park-River Forest High School, where its “three theaters and 4,500 students had as many as nine productions going at one time.”
Enrolling next at the University of Illinois, she polished her skills further by majoring in music and voice and appearing in student musical productions.
After making her professional bow during summers with Nashville’s Opryland productions of “Showboat” and “For Me and My Gal”, Mastrantonio joined the Lincolnshire Marriott Theater for a season of five Equity musicals, including “Camelot”, “The Sound of Music,” “Cabaret” and “Rodgers and Hart, A Musical Celebration.”
She made her Broadway debut as the understudy for Maria in the revival of “West Side Story”, Mastrantonio remained to appear in “Copperfield” (as Dora) and in “Oh, Brother.”
It was in 1982 that Mastrantonio was cast in her first non-musical theatrical role – in Broadway’s “Amadeus”, which starred Frank Langella. With the show for six months, she first played Katerina, then the co-starring role of Costanza.
“It was the perfect opportunity for me to break into a non-musical,” she recalls. “At first, I was the understudy and got a workout. That way you learn a lot because you don’t have the pressure of having to create that role and to be critiqued for it.”
Such was not the case, however, with “Scarface,” for which she was cast one week after the reading.
Not only was she the first actress to play Gina (Hancock) Montana, she was also performing in front of a camera for the first time.
How did she feel?” Liberated,” she says. “It’s strange. There’s this feeling that nothing can touch you.
People are hanging lights and holding microphones right over your head, which is very unnatural, yet there is something comforting in it.
“The camera seems to put up a fourth wall between you and the rest of the world.”
When Cuban refugee “Scarface” Tony Montana gets sprung from a detention/holding camp, it’s because he has just iced an inmate for wealthy Miamian Frank Lopez.
A man with a sharp eye for talent, Lopez puts “Scarface” to work in his flourishing drug empire. But when the young hood’s ambitions extend to Lopez’ territory – and then to his beautiful wife – a blood feud begins.
Robert Loggia plays Frank Lopez to Al Pacino’s Tony Montana in “Scarface,” Universal Pictures’ explosive drama of the rise and fall of a modern-day gangster.
Directed by Brian De Palma from a screenplay by Oscar- winner Oliver Stone, the Martin Bregman Production also stars Steven Bauer as Tony’s compadre, Michelle Pfeiffer as his well-bred wife and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as his hero-worshiping kid sister.
For veteran actor Loggia, portraying a narcotics kingpin takes him nearly full circle. He made his professional bow 28 years ago as Frankie Machine in off-Broadway’s “The Man With the Golden Arm”, the trailblazing play about drug addition.
In 1983 Loggia portrayed psychiatrist Dr. Raymond in Universal’s “Psycho II” and the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in the honored television special, “A Woman Called Golda.” He also played Bruno Langois in “The Curse of the Pink Panther.”
A native New Yorker, he earned a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and served in the Army during the Korean War before turning to acting.
Studying first with Stella Adler, Loggia joined the Actors Studio in 1955 for their production of “Three Sisters”, and has been a member ever since.
Other stage credits include starring roles in Lillian Helman’s Toys in the Attic, opposite Ruby Dee in “Wedding Band”, and opposite Madeline Kahn in “In the Boom Boom Room”.
He has also appeared in and produced off-Broadway’s Passing Through From Exotic Places.
After making his film debut with “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” Loggia went on to appear in “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “Che,” “First Love,” “The Revenge of the Pink Panther,” “S.O.B.” and “An Officer and a Gentleman.” “Prizzip, Honor,” and “Big”, most recently Neil Simon’s “The Marrying Man”.
His television credits include guest-starring roles on all networks, two series of his own (“T.H.E. Cat” and “The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca”), such ‘Golden Age’ live dramas as “Studio One,” “Robert Montgomery Presents” and “Play of the Week,” in which he gave noteworthy performances in “Miss Julie” and “Legends of Lovers.” Currently he stars as Nick Mancuso in the Weekly TV series “Mancuso FBI.”
His appearances include the production of “The Chicago Conspiracy Trial,” in which he played attorney Leonard Weonglass, and “The Trial of Inez Garcia,” in which he portrayed another well-known lawyer, San Francisco’s Charles Garry.
In 1980, Loggia joined the ranks of the Directors Guild by guiding Jack Klugman through an episode of “Quincy,” for which he received an NAACP nomination as Director of the Year.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
‘Scarface’ depicts a life, a lifestyle and a character which is new to the screen,” says producer MARTIN BREGMAN. “It’s what excited me about the project from the beginning.”
Bregman is a producer with a penchant for developing properties in which fine actors have enjoyed vivid, richly textured roles.
Making an impressive start with “Serpico” and “Dog Day Afternoon” for Pacino (major hits which shared seven Oscar nominations between them), Bregman went on toproduce the Sean Connery spy thriller, “The Next Man,” then joined forces with Alan Alda, producing the highly acclaimed and successful “The Seduction of Joe Tynan,” a taut tale of political maneuvering in the U.S. Senate.
Veering into offbeat comedy with Alan Arkin as a psychology professor in “Simon” —a brilliant travesty on mind manipulation — Bregman then reunited with Alan Alda, producing “The Four Seasons,” a reflective, witty look at friendship in our time– once again, .a box office winner.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Bregman attended Indiana University and New York University. First as an actors, agent, then as a personal manager, he was instrumental in shaping the careers of such performers as Alan Alda, Faye Dunaway, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand.
With his entry into motion pictures, Bregman became known as a producer who is deeply involved in every aspect of a film’s creation … from the initial choice of story material through a close working relationship with the talent, on both sides of the camera, which develops it. Born and raised in Manhattan, Bregman attended Indiana University and New York University. First as an actors, agent, then as a personal manager, he was instrumental in shaping the careers of such performers as Alan Alda, Faye Dunaway, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand.
With his entry into motion pictures, Bregman became known as a producer who is deeply involved in every aspect of a film’s creation … from the initial choice of story material through a close working relationship with the talent, on both sides of the camera, which develops it.
Director BRIAN DEPALMA, whose films are marked by a bold, often dazzling visual flair as well as a mastery of the suspenseful thriller, calls on both disciplines for “Scarface.”
It is, however, one of the few times he worked from a screenplay he has neither written nor co-written.
Perhaps best known as the writer-director of such inventive chillers as “Dressed to Kill” and “Carrie,” De Palma began his career making amateur short films while still a physics major at Columbia University. Although his father was a successful orthopedic surgeon in Philadelphia, De Palma finally gave up on a career in science and enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College to earn a master’s degree in theatre Arts.
After graduating, he made documentaries for the Treasury Department and the NAACP while putting together his first feature film. Titled “The Wedding Party,” it starred Jill Clayburgh and Robert DeNiro, then relative unknowns.
Trying his hand at satirical comedy, De Palma wrote and directed “Greetings” (which won a Silver Bear Award at the 1969 Berlin Film Festival), and “Hi, Mom,” both starring DeNiro, then moved to Hollywood for “Get to Know Your Rabbit,” with Tommy Smothers.
“Sisters” and “Phantom of the Paradise” were followed by “Obsession,” a compelling portrait of dual identity much praised for its suspenseful plot twists. Next came “Carrie,” which brought him renown as a writer-director.
Based on Stephen King’s novel, the story of a psychic high school senior introduced John Travolta, Nancy Allen, Amy Irving and William Katt to the screen, and won Oscar nominations for Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie.
For OLIVER STONE, “Scarface” marks his third screenplay since the harrowing “Midnight Express,” which brought him the 1978 Academy Award, the Writers Guild Award, and the Golden Globe Award. Ironically enough, both deal with drug trafficking, but from nearly opposite points of view.
Born and raised in New York, Stone attended Yale University, joined the faculty of the Free Pacific Institute to teach Vietnamese and Chinese students in Saigon, and later enrolled at the New York University Film School to study screenwriting and directing. Martin Scorsese was among his teachers.
Before winning recognition — and an Oscar — Stone wrote and directed “Seizure.” He has since directed Michael Caine in the psychological thriller “The Hand” (from his own screen adaptation of Marc Brandel’s novel, “The Lizard’s Tail”), and co-wrote, with John Milius, the story and screenplay for “Conan the Barbarian.”
Stone has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s most forceful directors tackling difficult social and political themes with evident skills and commitment. He received a second Oscar and a Director’s Guild Award for “Platoon (1978), one of the starkest treatments of the Vietnam War to have reached American screens.
LOUIS A. STROLLER has served as executive producer on four previous films with Martin Bregman “The Seduction of Joe Tynan,” “Simon,” “The Four Seasons” and “Venom.” He produced “Eddie Macon’s Run.”
Brooklyn born, Stroller began his filmmaking career in 1963, “sweeping floors and running for coffee in local New York studios.” Then he advanced to doing TV commercials and finally became unit manager on Mel Brooks’ “The Producers.”