Strangest Team-Up Ever: Brett Ratner And Noah Baumbach

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.

Roger Friedman reports that, in addition to Baumbach's hire, the story is being overhauled.

Instead of being a straightforward heist tale, it now has a little humanitarian edge. Because that's what Ratner is known for. The characters had always been designed as blue-collar employees of a Manhattan highrise, but now it turns out that the main tenant in the building has been ripping off the employee pension fund. So, one would expect, the now multi-racial crew will attempt to get back the money and deal out some justice. Even with Baumbach, this registers as interest....falling.

But what the hell, maybe Baumbach will turn in some really killer material and help Ratner elevate his game. Could happen, and I still like the idea of Stiller leading a heist crew, even if it's a touchy-feely one.

Despite my vaguely hyperbolic opening, this isn't the weirdest thing in the world — you'd be amazed at some of the names that get assigned to rewrite big studio movies without ever receiving public credit. (Or maybe you wouldn't.) It's the writer's version of actors taking big money to do a commercial in Japan that their US fanbase will never see. YouTube killed that little goldmine, but the rewrite game carries on.