Brett Ratner's Tower Heist Movie Gets Greenlit with Ben Stiller
Can you a smell a flop already? Deadline is reporting that after four years in development hell, Universal has finally given the greenlight to a project known as Tower Heist which will star Ben Stiller and be directed by Brett Ratner. Don't know if everyone agrees, but I think most of us hoped Ratner would disappear from the directing world forever, but alas he's back again (thankfully not with Paris Hilton or that Hugh Hefner project). Anyway, Stiller will star as an overworked manager of a luxury building who, along with other staff, lost their pensions to a Bernie Madoff-like Wall Street crook. But he organizes a heist to get the money back.
Apparently the "fraudster" (as Deadline calls him) is being held under house arrest in the luxury penthouse apartment, and the manager and four cohorts decide a heist "will make them whole." As fun as that sounds (apparently it's a comedy, too) the script has gone through a lot of revisions. This was originally known as Trump Heist (we even wrote about it last year), to involve Donald Trump, but that idea fell through. Other writers who've worked on the script since include: Adam Cooper & Bill Collage (Accepted), Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man), Rawson Thurber (Dodgeball), Ted Griffin (Ocean's 11, Killers), Leslie Dixon (The Heartbreak Kid), Noah Baumbach (Greenberg) and Jeff Nathanson (Rush Hour 3). Way too many cooks in the kitchen?
To explain the writers, they asked Ratner: "I went back to Ted [Griffin] to do a rewrite, and he wanted to start over. His pitch was so good that I took it to Brian, who said, 'let's get it right.' I brought the script to Ben on the Little Fockers set, and said this is perfect for you… I asked Noah Baumbach to do some specific character work for Ben. Then my Rush Hour J guy Jeff Nathanson [worked on it]. The major difference from the Ocean's film is those guys were expert thieves. These are real guys whose talent is they know the inner workings of the building and the people in it." I'm not sure if that settles any of my concerns, to be honest.
But of course, they're hopeful, especially with power-producer Brian Grazer developing. "It has become the quintessential New York heist movie, where a bunch of blue collar employees in a tower building pull off the ultimate heist." Ratner adds that, "it took a long time for this to come together, but it was totally worth the wait. This has a lot of heart to go along with the humor." I hope so. Maybe it's good that Ratner sticks with another comedic action movie next, as opposed to more superheroes or something else, but I'm not particularly that interested in this and I probably won't be until we get to watch the trailer. Thoughts?