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Before becoming Tower Heist, Brett Ratner‘s latest film was conceived as an urban version of Ocean’s Eleven, with Eddie Murphy in the starring role. The title then was Trump Heist, and the original cast poised to join him included Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Chris Tucker. One title and casting change later, Murphy was out, Ben Stiller was in, and the studio’s aspirations of making the film a “black Ocean’s Eleven” were scrapped. This decision was affirmed by their hiring on Noah Baumbach—a filmmaker whose whiteness can be sensed in every frame and line of dialogue of The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding and Greenberg—to rewrite the screenplay.

And yet, here we are, right back where we started. Eddie Murphy is set to once again join the cast of Tower Heist. Learn more after the break. Read More »

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Strangest Team-Up Ever: Brett Ratner and Noah Baumbach

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I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone just typing that title. The other day we told you that Ben Stiller was looking to take the lead in a film called Trump Heist (likely to be retitled Tower Heist) which had formerly been conceived as a “black Oceans 11“. Brett Ratner has been attached to direct for a long time, and remains so.

Now Universal is pushing ahead with the film on a fast track, and reportedly wants a rewrite of the script, originally by Ted Griffin. Their go-to guy? Noah Baumbach. Ratner and Baumbach on the same project? Cue stereotypical dizzy camera effects and mass confusion. Read More »

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While I’m not wild about Francis Lawrence directing Water for Elephants, some of the cast additions have me more and more interested. We already knew that Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon would be the primary leads for the picture, which takes place in a low-rent traveling circus. Sean Penn was in the mix as one supporting role, but now Christoph Waltz is replacing him as the antagonist, according to Deadline Hollywood. (I’d originally reported that Waltz and Penn were both in the film; that seems to be incorrect.)

Waltz and Witherspoon are a married couple working in the circus; Pattinson is the young vet who signs on to care for the outfit’s menagerie after the death of his parents. He falls in love with Witherspoon’s character and has to deal with her paranoid schizophrenic animal trainer husband. With Penn gone, we still need to know who plays Uncle Al, the impresario who runs the show.

After the break, Hugh Jackman sells cosmetics for director Kevin Lima, and Ben Stiller plans a heist. Read More »

Brett Ratner Says Trump Heist Might Be Next

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Movieline caught up with hack director Brett Ratner and was able to get “The Rat” to go on record about the many films listed on the director’s Internet Movie Database page. As suspected, most of them aren’t happening or are in early stages of development.

But the film Ratner claims is the “closest to getting made” is Trump Heist. The action crime comedy tells the story of a bunch of employees of the Trump Tower who conspire to rip off the building’s residents. Eddie Murphy is signed to play the leader of the crew of con artists and Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Chris Tucker are reportedly in consideration to join the cast. Ratner just hired Ocean’s Eleven scribe Ted Griffin to re-write the script.

Read More »

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