‘Scarface School Play’ director steps forward: ‘It was a lot of fun’

March 30, 2010 | 10:17 p.m.

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.

Scarface school play

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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18 Responses to ‘Scarface School Play’ director steps forward: ‘It was a lot of fun’

  1. james howell says:

    How is a guy, who is a purveyor of exploitation , with all the "artists" he's worked with on videos, now say he did this to make those that were outraged into hypocrites ? The only reason he made that video, was to manipulate the public, for which he has an obvious disdain for. This is how Hollywood, sees average people now, as marks with outdated and misguided values they can mock whenever they please. They're the "cool" kids, that mock the nerds, but keeps the nerds around, for comic relief….only thing is they need the nerds to survive. Klasfeld feigns concern for young girls and their self-image, at the same time perpetuating the same negative imagery. He is an advocate of Group Speak, not Critical Thinking…

  2. GCoakley says:

    I find it interesting that Marc would have other peoples kids play these roles. Are your kids in the cast Marc? Yes, it is shocking to see the numerous exploitive and violent images our children see everyday, and God knows I am so glad this was not a school production. But why invest this detritus in anyones children?
    Kudos to all the outraged parents who responded to this video.

  3. M.C. says:

    That's all very interesting james howell, perhaps a bit over-analytic though. I think Hollywood is somewhat removed from the viral video phenomenon of internet world. It seems this Klasfeld guy had no more than just an interest in the speed of uncomfortable inappropriateness on the web and he decided to dabble. I really think it's that simple. I don't think it had anything to do with the "cool kids" or "the nerds." What he was saying about "the sexualization of young girls," and violence in American culture, I think, is that it all happens far to often and goes unchallenged. That this three minute video caused such outbursts from so many people I suspect he thinks makes those of us who were outraged by it, more hypocritical than most. We see other outrage causing things everyday in the media on TV and in film and don't care to comment, but then this video comes along and we're all up in arms. I think this was a successful exercise in 'Critical Thinking.' Also, I know what groupthink is, but what is "Group Speak?"

  4. Tee says:

    Sad and inappropriate.
    It's takes a bizarre individual to think this a good idea. Maybe he considers his ideas "cutting edge" or thinks he's "living on the edge".
    No weirdo, you're just another freak exploiting children.

  5. james howell says:

    "uncomfortable inappropriateness", huh? I don't know about your experience on the web, but it seems that people aren't all that uncomfortable being inappropriate. Oh and "Group Speak" , is people who seem to have a vested interest in protecting, and buying into a media machine that doesn't care anything about them, but they will debate anyone who dares questions their motives. They say things like…"oh you don't get it…." "your overreacting".."Get over it"..and my all-time favorite…."you're just a hater…." .

  6. smartygirl says:

    buddy, why are you turning the tv on for your little girl if you don't want her to be bombarded with sexual messages? just make sure she doesn't see any of the videos you produce, and she'll be fine.

  7. AKW says:

    I find it tremendously sad that 1. Mr. Klasfeld would think this is at all an appropriate joke for children to be part of, 2. Parents would use their children, expose them to inappropriate language, sexual stereotyping, violence and degrading "acting" experience, and 3. That playing a "joke" on the "public" is more important to Mr. Klasfeld than preserving the innocence of children and the integrity of serious adult oriented films. How sad for the child actors and most of all for Mr. Klasfeld's children, who have a parent more concerned with his own moment of fame than for the children he used (albeit with the permission of the negligent parents of those children) for his little exploit.

    • SickOfIngnorance says:

      You sound like a wannabe puppet, er, pundit.

      Try thinking beyond your own boundaries and you might just get it.

  8. Lamarr says:

    You all are just flustered and mad that you were fooled, so you have to find a channel for that anger, which is now this director. Please. Admit it was a good joke and move on with your lives. Making comments about misguided values and "cool" kids is just silly.

    • Carol says:

      Yep, that's it. and when it's someone famous doing something incredibly dumb…I hate it because I'm not famous and when it's a girl doing something dumb…I hate it because I'm jealous. Now I hate this because I've been fooled and I am so so very mad. You're kidding, right?
      Lots of people comment on videos without some hidden feelings or reasons. This video sucks because it's exposing even just those few kids to something they should not be exposed to at this age, period

      I suggest you take your own advise and move on with your life.

  9. Justin says:

    Supposing the motives of others is a dangerous business. I have my own ideas, but since I don't know Mr. Klasfeld, I won't interject them. However, no matter how you slice it, no matter what the intentions were, these children were exploited inappropriately. For him to use his daughter as a shield indicates an ability for justification that is symptomatic of narcissism. We as a society have standards to protect those that can not decide for themselves. These kids can not vote, marry, drink, dropout, etc. because we as a society recognize the need to protect children from such things until adulthood. It seems Mr Klasfeld would prefer to just get a good one over on everyone than to uphold hes responsibilities as a member of our society.

  10. Blunt says:

    Sigh… all of you people are pathetic…

  11. Jethro Dull says:

    Incredibly creative. All these people getting outraged are missing the point completely! Klasfeld is exploiting these kids? hahahaha!You people are making such a big deal out of this and are doing exactly what Klasfeld thought you would do. Want to see actual exploitation of kids? Turn on the Disney channel!! Sell the image, get the bucks! Stay skinny, look pretty, and shine that white strip smile! Awesome!!! -Whether this is post-art or a social experiment or some other designation, it doesn't matter – it's a well executed idea and definitely not a "joke."

  12. Arjun Moz says:

    O gawd, I wish there were a "love" button for what Jethro Dull just said. THANK YOU!

  13. Patrick says:

    Brilliant video. Brilliant execution. What a bunch of dull and unimaginative dolts posting here. Seriously, if you want to get outraged about something, please take up any of the other thousand real-world cases of exploitation out there. Take your pick: Disney, Fast food, the Church, etc. The director, parents, and children involved in this production don't need your help. They seem to be leaps and bounds ahead of you in terms of intelligence, creativity, and wit.

  14. Giselle says:

    I’ve seen small children be put into some fairly challenging adult roles in movies that have made millions at the box office. I don’t see this as shocking as the little girl who was in little miss sunshine, or the little boy who was in 12 years a slave, The little girl in man on fire, this list can go on and on. Although I wouldn’t want that for my child people need to realize child actors are exposed to this type of violence and language on set. So this isn’t very shocking to me.

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