Universal's $10 million remake of the 1932 gangster film "Scarface" -- starring Al Pacino as a refugee drug dealer -- has run into problems in Miami, where the Latin community has mobilized against a film they feel will cast the city's own refugees in a bad light. Executive producer Lou Stroller calmed down protesters recently when he met with the Spanish American League Against Discrimination, the Cuban National Planning Council and the Dade County Manager's Office and agreed to add a disclaimer to the credits stating that the film doesn't intend to indict Miami's Cuban refugees. No sooner was that problem smoothed over than city commissioner Dmetrio Perez Jr. announced plans to introduce a bill denying the needed permits to any production "in which any minority is portrayed in a bad light and [which] contributes to disharmony between ethnic groups." But now Stroller says he'd rather switch than fight; earlier this week, he met with producer Martin Bregman to discuss pulling up stakes, taking a loss of $100,000 to $200,000 and moving everything to Los Angeles, an action he says he is "70 to 80 percent in favor of." The next city meeting comes in mid-September, but by the time Perez introduces his bill, "Scarface" may be on the opposite coast.
Robby Benson stirred up his own vocal protests from minority groups when he portrayed a Chicano a few years back, but the actor is finding the climate far more hospitable as he prepares to play another minority in the upcoming "Running Brave." This time he stars as Billy Mills, the Sioux Indian who won a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics. Not only are complaints from Indians rare on the production, but the Ermineskin Band--an Indian tribe from Hobbema, Alberta--is fully financing the $8 million film and taking 50 percent of its profits (they'll get their share before the producers or the studio). Benson was offered the role, accepted it and flew to Canada to begin production within one 24-hour period.