Tell all of your little friends: “Scarface School Play” is about as authentic as Al Pacino’s Cuban accent.
The viral video that pinged across the internet on Monday seemed to show grade-school kids performing a wildly inappropriate adaptation of “Scarface,” Brian DePalma’s operatic 1983 crime classic but, of course, if you looked closely it seemed a little too polished and cryptic to be a real campus production.
The video was actually made a month ago with professional child actors in a rented theater in Koreatotwn and directed by Marc Klasfeld, a veteran music video director whose credits include “Girls, Girls, Girls” with Jay-Z, “Times Like These” with the Foo Fighters, “When You’re Gone” with Avril Lavigne, “Girlfriend” with ‘N Sync and “On My Block” by, ahem, Scarface.
Klasfeld has also made commercials for corporate powers such as Nike, the NFL and Motorola, but he showed a more subversive streak with his 2007 satire film “The L.A. Riot Spectacular,” narrated by Snoop Dogg. On Wednesday, Klasfeld said these days he’s smitten with the wildfire immediacy of viral video, which will only deepen after the million-hit Monday for “Scarface School Play.”
“It’s a rare place where you can be creative and express yourself freely and it’s a very democratic process and I’m very excited to part of it,” said Klasfeld, who is the owner of Rock Hard Films, the company behind the Lady GaGa video “Pokerface” and last year’s memorably loopy “Hammer Pants Dance” viral video. “It was a lot of fun.”
With the quirky homage to “Scarface,” Klasfeld said “we had a great cast, great kids and great parents … they enjoyed the process.” The director said it was amusing to watch the pockets of outrage as the purposely provocative video spread out across the Internet.
“We definitely suspected that would happen,” said Klasfeld, a father of two who says he wonders why the most vocal critics of the ironic video don’t speak out more against the sexualization of young girls in American culture or the relentless violence on screens of all sorts.
“Everyday when I wake up with my daughter and I turn on the television for her and we’re constantly guarding her against all these unnecessary sexual [messages] bombarding her … so for us to see the reaction against this, well, that was a little shocking,” Klasfeld said. “I found it all fascinating.”
What’s next? Klasfeld said he’s going to sit back and enjoy the parodies, mash-ups and imitations of “Scarface School Play” that have already begun. Despite the success of his viral video he quickly dismissed the idea of making a sequel like, say, “Taxi Driver School Play” or “Leaving Las Vegas Schoolplay.” “No, I don’t see that happening.”
It makes sense — where would the shock be in that?
– Geoff Boucher
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