Brett Ratner Talks Roman Polanksi's 'Weekend Of A Champion,' 'Rush Hour 4,' His Version Of Superman & More

Interviews
by Drew Taylor
November 22, 2013 2:54 PM
7 Comments
  • |

You worked so long and so tirelessly on a Superman movie. What did you think of "Man of Steel?"
I think Zack's a great director. It's different than anything I would have done. Mine was J.J. Abrams' script. It basically took place on another planet, on Krypton. Back then they were trying to decide whether they were going to make J.J. Abrams' script or the Wolfgang Peterson's "Batman vs. Superman." I'm a big fan of the franchise. My version was completely different. I was upset. I went to do "X-Men" and Bryan did "Superman Returns." I was happy that Bryan didn't do the J.J. Abrams script, because then it would have looked like I failed. And he just did a new version of the Dick Donner Superman.

Do you want to return to that superhero world?
Well, I think "Hercules" is close to it because he was the original superhero. There isn't supernatural stuff, but there is some mythological elements. Because in order to demystify it, you've got to show some of the myths. The story is the demystification of the Hercules myth, so it's closer to "Gladiator" or "Braveheart" than the superhero movies.

Is another "Rush Hour" in the cards?
This is the thing. We were all a little burnt out on it, I think and now I'm starting to see a little bit of excitement about it because of the fact that China, there's a huge Chinese thing going on. [The Jackie Chan film] "Chinese Zodiac" was huge in China. It did $100 million. It would be worth it to do another "Rush Hour" for China alone. Even if it was only released there.

"The problem is that I'm one of the few directors who can do tentpoles, so I'm getting hired to do these giant movies still. So I'm going to keep doing it."

You produced the "Mother's Day" remake from a few years ago and are buddies with Eli Roth. You think you'll do another horror movie?
No. You know what I'd love to do is a musical.

Do you have anything picked out?
I wanted to do "Jersey Boys." I couldn't do that. They gave it to Clint Eastwood. The only movies I haven't done are musicals and westerns. I've done pretty much every other genre if you think about it. That's why I've done a sword and sandals movie, which is why I did "Hercules." It's closer to "Ben Hur."

Would you do a smaller movie?
Yeah. I've produced a bunch of documentaries, including the Woody Allen documentary. 

You seem to have a very strong interest in the way movies are made. Would you do a biopic?
You know what! That's right! That's the other thing I'd love to do—a musical or a biopic. Biographies are the only books I can read and really relate to and enjoy.

What draws you to classic films?
Look, Scorsese and Spielberg will reference the same movies, like "Peeping Tom" by Michael Powell, because they're the same age basically. So if you ask Paul Thomas Anderson, even if we're completely different filmmakers, all of his favorite movies are my favorite movies. It just is. So it's because we grew up in that era. The '70s, to us, was the end all. We saw the movies of the '50s and '60s but they didn’t mean as much.

Would you like to do a smaller movie set in that period?
Sure, but the problem is that I'm one of the few directors who can do tentpoles, so I'm getting hired to do these giant movies still. So I'm going to keep doing it. Michael Bay was doing four "Transformers" movies back to back so he chose a small art film to him, to him, with "Pain & Gain." And I loved it. I could do a small movie. The movie I wanted to do desperately was a movie on the Milli Vanilli scandal that Jeff Nathanson, who wrote all the "Rush Hours," wrote for me. And it's brilliant. I wouldn't say that it's not going to happen in the near future but it could happen sometime. I love scandals, true stories. I'm developing [a movie] about the creation of MTV, which is like "Social Network" but with sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

Do you still consult with Roman?
Yeah, he's still my mentor. I show him my movie before I finish it. My last movie, "Tower Heist," I flew over and showed him. I said, "I'll show you my movie, you show me yours." Showed him my movie. Then he gave me the three best notes I've ever gotten. They're indistinguishable but they were a music note, a picture note, and a … But just so brilliant. And I watched his movie, "Carnage," and I said, "Oh I have a few notes for you." And he said, "No. My film's locked Brett." But I wouldn't expect him to take my notes. He's a master. There's Stanley Kubrick and then there's Roman Polanski. He's a genius. Look, he took me to his school in Poland, showed me all his student films, one by one … It's such a blessing. I show my movies to James Toback, who sleeps through half of it because he's so fat. And then I show it to [Warren] Beatty and sometimes Robert Towne and they have pages and pages of notes and take the ones I like and don't take the ones I don't like. I learn a lot.

So even "Hercules" will have a bit of Roman in there?
He'll give me an idea. Hopefully it's good. They're always brilliant. 

"Weekend Of A Champion" opens today in limited release.

You might also like:
Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

7 Comments

  • the sneering (homo-phobic) snob | November 24, 2013 7:44 PMReply

    I`ve always admired Ro-girl Polanski's rampaging heterosexuality. By the way, i had to change the second syllable of his first name because of my murderous homo-phobia.

  • hank | November 23, 2013 6:10 AMReply

    Love how you open this article with, "you might be surprised to find out Brett Ratner and Roman Polanski are best friends." Because really, if you think about it, they're kind of perfect for each other, aren't they? Too bad only one of them makes good films - I'm talking about Ratner, obvs.

  • Jon | November 23, 2013 12:38 AMReply

    Rush Hour 4 in China will be GREAT!

  • Christo | November 22, 2013 5:01 PMReply

    How is it this you keep getting facts wrong in articles on this site? It seems like you're too inept to do a quick search on top of being annoying for bitching about directors/movies I'm guessing you haven't seen. Polanski didn't "Co-star" in "Rush Hour 2," he CAMEOED in RUSH HOUR 3. How does a movie website reporting news on movies constantly get movie trivia wrong?

  • aj | November 22, 2013 4:59 PMReply

    1.- "So if you ask Paul Thomas Anderson, even if we're completely different filmmakers, all of his favorite movies are my favorite movies. It just is."
    2.- "I'm one of the few directors who can do tentpoles." This guy is the worst.
    3.- probably a lot harder than it is to make a simple, pretentious art movie." Probably made by "fags", right, Brett?

  • bruce | November 22, 2013 4:03 PMReply

    "I show my movies to James Toback, who sleeps through half of it because he's so fat." Hahahaha

  • Alan B | November 22, 2013 3:43 PMReply

    "The two have been great friends for a very long time (Polanski even co-starred in "Rush Hour 2")"

    Maybe you were too busy bitching about Pixar or something to do a google search, but Polanski was in the third film.

Email Updates